Grant Gray is feeling buoyant about the future of manufacturing and industrial business in Australia.
“It’s a great time to be in manufacturing in Australia,” says the General Manager of National Sales at Motion Australia. “There is a momentum building in the market right now because people want to spend, and they want to buy local. There’s a strong sense of nationalism that’s permeating both the consumer and business to business markets when it comes to onshore manufacturing, sourcing Australian-made products and having localised support.”
According to Grant, this has translated to industrial businesses looking at ways they can improve processes and maintain quality by investing in capital expenditure.
“It’s pleasing to see this level of industrial optimism where you have businesses forecasting for the next 5 years – it’s a positive sign after a period of uncertainty – because it suggests that businesses have long-ranging confidence in their ongoing productivity and are prepared to spend significantly on CapEx,” says Grant. “From a Motion Australia perspective, we want to see Australian industrial businesses thrive, and to go on that journey with them because you know what? There’s going to be some significant moments each year that suggest it’s time for a business to have an innovative upgrade. And to ensure they can meet upcoming demand and remain market competitive.”
Always an advocate for planning, Grant reiterates the importance for businesses to take stock and identify the critical parts of their operation.
“We’re going to see an ongoing dislocation in regards to parts supply for some time due to issues around production, shipping and handling delays in combination with exceptional demand for componentry,” he cautions. “I urge all our existing or prospective customers to take stock of the last 12 to 24 months, and identify the parts that were so critical to the success of your business and have a conversation with us today about what’s available.”
Where Motion Australia can add considerable value is through site or plant audits and inventory management – tapping into the expertise of all the Motion Australia business arms. Grant cites an example where a mining customer recently engaged with Motion Australia to perform a full end to end site audit across their current sealing, gaskets, hydraulics, fluid power, bearings, and power transmission requirements. This enabled six Industrial specialists to visit at once and identify and provide outcomes as a team without the usual dislocation of competing business interests when dealing with non‑connected parties. One Motion enables this end to end solution to be possible.
“We’re in a fortunate position where we have subject experts from Sealing, Maintenance, Engineering, Drives, Power Transmission and able to provide a true top to tail service,” explains Grant. “They have a direct relationship with the manufacturers, whether it be local or overseas. And then we can understand from a shipping perspective, what does that ultimate delay from the placement of order to delivery look like?”
National Business Development Manager, David Caramia, agrees that site surveys provide powerful insights and Motion Australia can work with customers closely to ensure their parts requirements are met.
“We’re able to work with our customers in regards to localising parts too, for example, if an OEM part has to come from overseas, it might be expensive and have a long lead time,” says David. “We can identify if it’s a standard item that we currently stock and can swap that over and support them locally. Or we could reverse engineer a product to replace an OEM part which we do locally as well.”
Furthermore, David points out that Motion Australia’s ability to provide a complete package of solutions, technical knowledge and engineering expertise differentiates the company from any other industrial parts provider in Australia.
“Our customers can come to us for a complete package – which is one our competitors just can’t offer in terms of the breadth of knowledge and engineering skills we have along with the range of products,” explains David. “For example, we’re seeing a lot of interest from existing customers in our offerings around sealing, such as gaskets, where we have a good, local supply of gaskets, as well as local engineering capability to make or customise them, and the branch footprint to be able to distribute them nationwide.”
Grant emphasises the value of Motion Australia’s total and full end to end Industrial Solutions offering.
“Our customers appreciate the fact that they can come to Motion Australia for a full offering suite, rather than having to deal with multiple vendors,” he stresses. “And the important thing is we treat the different components in an application equally – we consider the gasket as important as a seal, the lubrication as important as a bearing, and so on. That’s a big benefit for our customers in contrast to our competitors, who have a very fragmented offering.”
As part of the industrial solutions offering, Motion Australia offers services such as inventory management and energy audits which help industrial businesses improve their efficiencies.
“We’re seeing a particular shift towards becoming more energy efficient, and we have specialists who can provide audits to quickly identify energy inefficiencies and losses – in fact, we have the most energy engineering expertise out of any other industrial supplier,” says Grant. “Additionally, a big pain point for many of our customers is on keeping control over inventory. We can manage that for them, either in their warehouse or in our warehouse. There’s lots of ways we can help optimise operations and save on costs.”
In addition to investing in CapEx and optimising maintenance, Grant says industrial businesses are looking to invest in their people too.
“Where Motion Australia can assist is in providing training, which is a great way of addressing two challenges – firstly, it addresses the challenge of a skills shortage through upskilling, and secondly, perhaps more importantly, it helps with staff retention because it sends a clear message to employees that you value them because you’re investing in them,” he enthuses. “We provide onsite coaching, we can do training workshops on all kinds of applications – it might be best practice in sealing arrangements, or in bearing fitment – we can build a bespoke training solution to suit.”
Importantly, Grant says Australian industrial businesses are resilient and resourceful, and he’s encouraged by the optimism he’s witnessing at trade events. The willingness of the market to engage suggests a strong commitment to invest and improve on a world stage.
“What I love about Aussie manufacturers and industrial businesses is their ingenuity, coupled with a willingness to always give something a go. It’s encouraging to see businesses forecasting ahead again, and I’m motivated by what Motion Australia can do for industrial businesses locally to ensure they can meet their productivity targets and maintain quality,” he concludes.