The cost of doing nothing in both Australia and New Zealand is life changing, according to ebm-papst managing director A/NZ, Simon Bradwell.
While the Australian market has expanded over many years, which is largely due to net migration, Bradwell said moving forward has been challenging because local manufacturing has either closed down or moved offshore.
Over this period he said a high Australian dollar has seen net imports increase and local manufacturing become less competitive.
“In order to compete we have to do something different. This is why the first agenda item for all our leadership team meetings is: what do we do well and what can we do to improve?” Bradwell said.
“This is born from our need to always move forward to ensure that we meet our customers’ expectations.
“This is difficult as the market is always turbulent and competitive and therefore the expectations of the market and hence our customers drive us to continually climb the ladder of improvement.”
So what sets ebm-papst apart from the rest of the market? “Our people set us apart. We have always strived to be people that people want to do business with both professionally and personally,” he said.
“In order to do this we have to know what we are doing and then act with integrity. Acting with integrity to us means keeping our promises, just like our parents taught us.
“However, we cannot keep our promises all the time because life is unpredictable so when this happens its important to still strive to do your best.
“I’m sorry we were unable to achieve X, but we can do Y.”
Bradwell said its best to be straight forward and to always keep it simple. In today's changing market, he said business leaders have to be open to not knowing the answers.
“I believe command and control does not work for the emerging generations and trust is needed,” Bradwell said.
“Trust is there to ensure colleagues can be creative and take responsibility but trust also has to be there so everyone knows that if things go wrong, which they do, that everything will be okay and put right.
“We truly only learn from making mistakes and it is okay for us to do that.
“Good leaders allow their colleagues to make mistakes and let everyone contribute to finding a solution. It allows everyone to learn and do better next time.”
Bradwell said there has been significant change since the 2008 economic downturn.
“It was former Prime Minister, John Howard, who introduced the push for energy efficiency and market transformation,” he said.
“Government lease agreements, NABERS, Green Star and increasing electricity costs have all contributed to a new way of thinking.
“This new way of thinking has allowed engineers to be creative and make products and systems to meet this new opportunity.
“New National Construction Codes for 2019 are pushing these boundaries further and it is incumbent upon us to make sure we create a sustainable industry and community for us all to live in.”
Bradwell said ebm-papst ANZ has gone through major changes over the last decade.
“Firstly, we have tripled in business size. This has been driven by the local team who are all qualified professionals – engineers, operations, manufacturing, and communicators,” he said.
“The people who work for ebm-papst ANZ are diverse both in gender and age. Half our leadership team is female and our team range in age from early twenties to early seventies.”
Bradwell said the company actively supports training.
“We believe that having the right knowledge and tools is paramount in a changing and challenging market,” he said.
“Expenditure on training is very important to create a thinking and learning team; for instance we will even pay 50% of a bread making course.
“Ensuring that we provide value is our greatest challenge.
“Our customers want reliability both with respect to product and supply and secondly, they want to be able to sell it, this means that pricing must be competitive.”
Bradwell said the company's engineering teams have certainly pushed the boundaries with product development. The mantra is “every new product has to be better than the last”.
“This mantra has driven us to develop products with our customers that allow them to have an edge in the market,” Bradwell said.
“But then we have to ensure that the products are reliable and ready for delivery.”
In order to achieve this, ebm-papst has tight operating systems which is reflected in its ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications allowing it to provide the market 5 year warranties and 24 hour on site support should a problem arise.