LOCATION: Western Australia
PRODUCT: XLERPLATE® steel
BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies does more than offer quality product and supply chain reliability. As the example of Base Fabrication illustrates, the company is also always prepared to lend its experience and expertise to its customers as they develop and change.
Established in Kojonup, a small town located 256 km south-east of Perth, Base Fabrications manufacturers a range of grain tippers, dollies, drop decks, trailers and tankers.
The company was founded in 2008 by its current Director, Neville Simpson.
“Though about 80 per cent of our business is within the agricultural sector, we also serve the mining and forestry industries, as well as the general transport sector,” he said.
“Originally I focused all our energies on the local area. Kojonup is at the centre of a rich pastoral district, so from the outset there was plenty of demand for our products.”
Then in 2011, Base Fabrication started to expand. This involved relocating to Perth and moving into larger facilities. The operation started in a 400m² shed and then moved, first to a 1,500m² facility, then into the 7,000m² premises it now calls home. In just 10 years, the company has grown dramatically. Increased scope of work, along with organic growth have enabled it to successfully take on competitors twice its size and win, all while maintaining its focus on its core agricultural base.
“We have always sourced a lot of product from BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies. We use their aluminium trailer range, alloy extrusions and sheet, as well as a lot of their structural steel, wear plate and structural plate for special builds,” said Neville.
Initially two important factors attracted Base Fabrication to BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies – stock availability and price. “Those two things very much go hand in hand, and over time we’ve come to realise that BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies’ reputation here in Australia is well-earned. They are a very reliable distributor,” Neville said.
“Whenever we’ve required products at short notice, they’ve always gone out of their way to help us. In some cases, they’ve been able to bring material over from the eastern states to fill short supply. They work with us to solve problems, which is an important consideration when sourcing alloy. Their service has been great.”
But as Neville explained, the benefits of Base Fabrication’s association with BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies extend far beyond supply chain certainty. BlueScope has assisted Base Fabrication through its current growth phase; and has always been ready with timely advice as the company continues to evolve and develop new product lines.
In this context, Neville gave particular mention to Damien Corich, BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies’ Business Development Manager.
“We only really became involved in aluminium trailer manufacturing three years ago, and since then Damien’s support has been invaluable. He’s played an important role in getting that part of
our business off the ground,” Neville said. “He and his team have always been available to help with things like choosing products – transport extrusions and so forth – that are best suited to our applications.
“Coupled with the reliability they ensure, this has been critical to our success. It has meant we have always been able to deliver our products on time at a good price. It’s helped us remain competitive in a tight manufacturing market.”
Neville offered the development of the Agliminator, a Base Fabrication ‘Special Build’, as a typical example of the type of assistance BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies provides. An innovative, all-inone machine designed to handle seeding and fertiliser tasks and free up farmers for other work, the product is making a real mark in the agricultural sector.
“BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies was able to advise us as to which of its products were most suitable for its construction. After much discussion, they suggested 3mm 450 grade XLERPLATE® steel for the sides and 700 grade XLERPLATE® steel of various thicknesses for use throughout the chassis,” said Neville.
“As ever, this was the right advice. The machine has turned out to be everything we had hoped for.”
What about future directions?
“Within the next 12 months, we’re looking at setting up a dedicated alloy transport section. At the moment, we’re trying to operate aluminium and steel out of the same workshop, so that change will help a lot,” said Neville.
“It’s all about steady growth and evolution for us, though we fully intend to remain dedicated to the same markets. Directly and indirectly, I think agriculture will still account for around 80 percent of our business. We are dedicated to transport and cartage directly for farmers.
So, while some things change, some stay the same. “We’ll never forget our Kojunup roots, and if I have my way, we’ll always maintain our relationship with BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies,” Neville concluded.
For more information visit www.basefabrications.com.au
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