Marand Precision Engineering is among a breed of innovative Australian manufacturers harnessing the existing talents of staff to pave a new road to success.
Ten years ago, about 90 per cent of Marand’s workload revolved around the automotive industry. But while the fortunes of Australian car manufacturers have faded, Marand has managed to adapt and prosper, with one major project putting more than $1.3 billion on the table over the next 10 to 15 years.
In fact, while the automotive industry now comprises less than half a per cent of Marand’s workload, the Melbourne manufacturer has shown consistent growth. CEO Rohan Stocker says the company’s revenue this year is 10 times that of 2001.
The Moorabbin-based company is the major Australian player involved in the manufacture of components of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft, a fifth generation air combat jet that will be used by the Royal Australian Air Force and other military in 12 countries including the UK, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey and Israel. Australia will eventually buy 100 of the aircraft.
With over $100 million in work already completed since 2002 on production tooling and ground support equipment for the planes, Stocker says the largest element is yet to come with the manufacturing of vertical tails for the F-35, which should net the company more than $1.3 billion.
Thanks to its involvement in the international project, Marand will build one of Australia’s largest aerospace machining and component assembly workshops.
Mr Stocker said Marand had focused on diversifying over the past 10 and 12 years, and was well prepared for the drop-off in work in the automotive industry.
“It’s been about finding the capabilities and transferring those skills into other industries,”
Mr Stocker said.
Marand has focused on its capabilities in engineering and design, and invests heavily in graduate engineers, software and engineering processes.
Its customer base is mostly blue-chip organisations in sectors including mining, rail, aerospace, defence and general manufacturing. Its rail division, Atlas Rail, is also a key part of the business, supplying automated rail maintenance equipment used to maintain rolling stock in countries around the world including India and Saudi Arabia.
In Australia, Atlas Rail supplies rail maintenance equipment and advanced, automated turnkey maintenance facilities to major companies including BHP and Rio Tinto.
Mr Stocker believes the future success of Australian manufacturing is tied up in people with the right skills collaborating. Marand has forged strong links with several universities, CSIRO and other large companies with research and development divisions.