American Football, 10-gallon hats, oil, barbeque – the US state of Texas is home to a number of iconic features of American life.
This March, the Lone Star state, specifically Houston, will also be home to World of Asphalt 2018 – an event bringing together stakeholders from the national and international aggregate and asphalt industries – which will also have a distinctive Australian flavor to it.
Stabilcorp, New South Wales-based manufacturer of the ShoulderMaster – a universal skid-steer paver attachment designed specifically for the purpose of rehabilitating and widening road shoulders – is using this year’s event as a platform to soft-launch its products to the North American market.
The company is finalising details and arrangements with a channel marketing partner, and is well-placed to make an impact in the international market. Stabilcorp Product Development Manager Geoff Jackson says the traction of the ShoulderMaster machine nationally propelled the company into the international market, and the business saw now as the time to act.
“We’d been investigating how and when we could introduce the product to the market since we exhibited at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas last March, and we’ve decided that now is the right time,” Mr. Jackson explains.
“World of Asphalt has been named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in the US. It sells out year-on-year and the people we’ve been talking to in the industry over there say it’s the centrepiece for paving and asphalt in the US.
“It’s in Texas, which from what we’ve heard has lots and lots of projects on the horizon for shoulder repair and widening. Of course, it’ll be in their spring too, going into summer, which for North America is their peak paving and road repair time.”
Despite its grand plans to head abroad, Mr. Jackson says the business is dedicated to continuing to expand and tailor its ShoulderMaster products to the suit Australian market.
In complementing its decision to launch the product internationally, the company has had to invest further in its manufacturing facility in Wauchope, NSW.
Less than a year after opening the doors to its manufacturing site, Stabilcorp has invested a further $90,000 in plant and equipment at the facility, which Mr. Jackson says has added an extra 50 per cent of building space to the site.
In support of its expanding manufacturing capabilities, the company will also increase its in-house design resources by adding a designer to its staff.
“We’ve always used external people to do our design work and we’re now looking to introduce an experienced designer that can lead developments and increase our in-house service level. At the moment, for us to evolve our design capabilities without an in-house designer makes it very difficult,” Mr. Jackson says.
“We’ve traditionally had to engage someone and brief them, but by introducing our own in-house designer, we can make changes on the run and test things in the market ourselves.”
Likewise, he adds that the introduction of an in-house designer will enable the business to explore and develop new products and prototypes in a more streamlined fashion, and deal with customer needs directly.
“We probably have three potential attachment concepts that we could get to market, but we don’t have the design capabilities to do that just yet. Introducing extra design resources will help us get them to market a lot quicker,” Mr. Jackson says.
“We believe there’s a gap in the market for the attachments and that people will be keen to utilise them.”
With plans to grow the business both on a national and international scale, Stabilcorp is investigating different ways to stoke the fires of progress.
Stabilcorp is currently engaging the NSW Government’s Jobs for NSW program in order to take advantage of the assistance packages available to local businesses that are generating jobs for the region.
Mr. Jackson says one of the criteria for success in the program is that a business must show how it is going to create 10 or more net jobs for the NSW economy.
“It’s a significant increase in employment and we’ve engaged with the program organisers to go through that process now,” he says.
Reflecting on the business’ significant scaling up in the past few years, Mr. Jackson says the fact the business and its manufacturing site is based in NSW has been a contributing factor.
“We’re obviously in a state which is benefitting from large infrastructure spending and there’s always work around for people to get involved in. That has helped drive our product development, and it’s not just confined to NSW either. We just sold out first unit to South Australia in November,” Mr. Jackson explains.
“We’re also set to exhibit at Diesel Dirt & Turf 2018, where we’ve taken a much bigger space, so the market can expect us to make some big announcements regarding changes and the launch of new products.
“We’ve invested heavily in research and design and we’re continuing to do with relationships with the likes of the University of Newcastle and by investing in plant and equipment,” he adds. “The important thing for Stabilcorp is that the company owners are willing to back themselves and want to show the market what a great product we have.”