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Stainless Steel Fabrication Business Development in New Zealand

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The New Zealand economy base is heavily reliant on dairy products and to remain competitive internationally, the dairy industry in turn relies on a raft of infrastructural industries including hygienic stainless steel dairy tanks and general fabrication. Some of the processing facilities look like silver cities, from a distance, with their rows of towering, stainless steel, raw milk silos, ranging up to more than 600,000 litres capacity each.

Generally speaking, the stainless fabrication industry in New Zealand is involved in one-off individually quoted contracts and because the domestic market is not big enough to support mass or semi-mass production so the industry must seek to bid on a diverse range of products, with dairy work as its mainstay. The dairy industry however is a seasonal one and looks set to continue its past pattern of a very defined, frenetic and limited annual event. Even dairy tanks are rarely the same, varying as they do from less than a metre to more than twenty high, a range that is difficult to stay economically geared for. Yet to remain viable, the industry must remain diversified, and with a limited local market, any worthwhile growth opportunities must include export.

Supplying stainless fabrication from a perceived rural based economy into relatively industrialised overseas markets, can only be done when the clients are assured that they will get what they need, to the quality that they need, when they need it. When convinced that that can be done competitively, they might then include you on their bidder list.

Preparing a successful bid is arguably the most fundamental ingredient necessary for a business to succeed. When a request for tender is received, the back room staff must swing into efficient, professional action...there is never enough time to prepare tenders, so they might be home late. Successful ones work well under pressure, innovating, looking for cost effective design solutions and manufacturing methods. Negotiating with sub contractors, planning ways to minimise freight, working precisely and accurately to a deadline, and self checking, all along the way.


There may be a raft of skills involved. Legal, financial, technical, marketing and secretarial and the co-ordinator responsible cannot forget, that in the final analysis, the job will be worth only what the client is prepared to pay. So it helps to know the competition. Hopefully, if all have given their best, comes the contract negotiation. At this, the appropriate level of authority is also a pre-requisite.

For the industry to survive, a competitive charge rate in the destination market and an efficient workplace are givens. To break into new export markets, also needs involvement of the necessary professionalism, so we may have a conflict. It need not however, be that way. In fact it probably shouldn't be that way. If a fabricator is prepared to outlay significant resources in the effort to win work, the professions must be willing to take a similar punt. The good news is that some are. I know one or two who are prepared to do a basic design to enable tendering, on the basis of a fee to be earned in the event of success. It remains for others to follow.

Because it calculates not only the required thicknesses according to the codes, but also practical, available thicknesses, Tank-Genii also contributes to this process, it was formulated to do so from the outset.

The information on this web page is the property of EngineerOnLine Ltd. It may be used free of charge  or reproduced with an appropriate acknowledgement and previous permission. However no responsibility for anything said or implied is accepted by us.

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