Case Study : MFE Chinchilla : One model doesn’t suit everyone, but a local focus is shining through.
As a loyal customer of Orrcon Steel / Metalcorp Toowoomba, MFE is focused on utilising local product and support services wherever they can.
“We only exist in Chinchilla thanks to the community. We have to do our part to make sure the town remains viable. If we don’t support it, it’ll die out and our business won’t exist” said Louise McMahon, Business Services Manager MFE.
MFE started out in 2011 as a husband and wife venture, when Louise and Greg moved to Chinchilla which is 150 kilometres north west of Toowoomba in Queensland. They saw an opportunity to create a local business to service the growing gas industry, along with opportunities in the mining and agricultural sectors. Drawing upon their history in the mining industry and with a clear vision to become a customer centric service provider, they built a company that could provide industrial and large subcontractor support to the region.
As they’ve diversified and grown their business in a competitive manufacturing space that was dominated by large corporations, many with foreign ownership, they chose to partner with Orrcon Steel for their steel supply.
“Orrcon Steel / Metalcorp won us over with their commitment to the relationship, they’re always willing to sit down around the table and discuss options for us. The Orrcon people made a great first impression on us. We were able to talk through finding an edge in the manufacturing space. They made us feel important regardless of the size of our business. Our principles were well aligned” said Louise.
Orrcon Steel National Sales and Marketing Manager Lester Kirkwood said “ What MFE has achieved is simply an outstanding example of local business success that is focused, with skills to implement a successful local business model. Investing money in local communities means support for local businesses which ultimately safeguards our children's future by ensuring we have a local manufacturing and supply channel in Australia ”.
At the core of MFE’s business strategy is a policy they adopted early on - that permanent jobs would be filled by locals. Now with 40 employees from Chinchilla and surrounding western downs, they have shown that strategy is now fulfilled. “Every dollar we spend on supply or wages is a dollar invested back into our local communities to support local families and businesses'' said Louise.
As the Winner of the QLD Training Awards ‘Medium Employer of the Year’ 2016, they were recognised for their commitment to career development and individualised training.
“As we continue to grow we are faced with the challenge of how to attract and retain local talent.
One of our messages to the teams in our business and to potential employees, is we understand there are different family pressures and lifestyle choices and that we’re committed to them in their job and their family. We don’t do a ‘one model fits everybody’” Louise stated. Whether this be through flexibility with staff rosters, sharing out of hours call-ins or their investment in apprenticeships, MFE’s open communication with and commitment to their people has been a driving factor for their growth.
"Our success to date has been very much about the people. They are the foundation of the culture, of the community and the ones who deliver our promises to our customers" said Greg McMahon, Managing Director of MFE.
MFE purchase Australian made steel from Orrcon Steel which is produced at the Salisbury Mill in Brisbane. With internationally accredited NATA testing laboratory utilised in house and coil sourced through BlueScope, Louise is confident there is traceability for all the products they purchase.
“Quality is paramount for supplying the gas and energy projects, which is why Orrcon Steel is trusted with supplying steel for our business. We have the confidence to communicate with our clients that we supply certified goods that are top quality with full traceability should that be needed. In the gas and energy sector that is critical considering where the end product is used” said Louise.
Metalcorp Toowoomba provides square Hollow Section products from the Salisbury tube mill. With prompt deliveries of product as needed, it reduces the need for large storage space and inventory holding costs that are associated with importing products. This enables cash to be focused on growing the business in key areas and lowering business risk.
“Surely, part of our responsibility (as a business) is to support Australia and Australian made” Louise stated.
“It’s about having the right balance and making sure we educate our end consumer on the importance of local supply and relevance of additional services. Support for our country will come from supporting Australian made products. It's about how the product started in manufacture using local materials, not just getting it on their doorstep, but explaining about all those extra value add components.”
With the renewable market expected to grow in Chinchilla and the western downs area, Orrcon Steel and Metalcorp look forward to seeing it through with MFE and supporting them on the path ahead.
Location: Chinchilla, QLD
For more information on how you can partner with Orrcon Steel, give us a call on 1300 677 266