Cluster Development & Business Matching Project Wide Bay Burnett

Executive Summary (prepared by Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Queensland Government)

OVERVIEW: The Wide Bay Burnett Cluster Development and Business Matching Project has seen the formation of a number of strategic alliances and joint ventures; new product development; access to new markets; manufacture under licence arrangements being pursued; exports into new markets; and the development of innovative new supply chains that are better positioned to capture new business.

OBJECTIVE: The principal aim of this project was for companies to capitalise on supply chain opportunities from major projects and new markets by working together collaboratively to successfully tender and secure major projects, win new customers, capture new business and break into new markets.

FUNDING: A total of $100,000 (incl GST) was successfully secured from SRPF to implement this project. Cluster Specialist Rodin Genoff, from Rodin Genoff and Associates, and AIEMNetwork were engaged to support this project to fast-track new business and clustering opportunities.

DELIVERABLES: On the 1st, 2nd & 3rd of February 2012, four forums were held across the region in Maryborough, Bundaberg, Kingaroy & Gympie to introduce the Wide Bay Burnett Cluster Development & Business Matching project to local business & industry.

Guest speakers included Cluster Specialist Rodin Genoff from Rodin Genoff & Associates and Senior Contracts and Procurement Advisor Mark Buggy from Santos, who presented on the opportunities to bring together local companies to win new contracts, win new customers and increase profits.

Over 95 participants attended the forums and the positive response was overwhelming, with 30 businesses registering their interest to participate. Out of those 30 businesses, Rodin Genoff engaged each individual firm in one-one-one meetings to investigate their current business position and ‘cluster-readiness’. Out of those 30 firms, 10 firms were identified as ‘cluster-ready’ and Rodin Genoff and the DSDIP project team worked with each firm intensively to identify clustering opportunities that could be leveraged by investigating potential joint ventures and strategic alliances to enhance capacity and capability to secure new projects and contracts. Clustering strategies and activities were developed and implemented.

The DSDIP project team worked closely with the remaining 20 firms that were not ‘cluster ready’ to enhance their clustering capacity & capability. The DSDIP project team partnered with ICN to deliver Capability Statement Development seminars and information sessions across the region; facilitated manufacturing benchmarks where appropriate; and referred clients to the Major Project Supplier Program facilitated by ICN (QMI Solutions).

OUTCOMES: Of the 10 firms identified as ‘cluster-ready’, the creation of strategic alliances and joint ventures we defence, agriculture and developed to create sustainable and innovative supply chains that are better positioned to capture new business. Specific outcomes include:

  • An agricultural equipment manufacturer has partnered with regional fabrication and engineering firms to enhance their capacity and capability in order to secure an international JV to supply into the Thai markets. The company has delivered and demonstrated their first machine and has since received their first two orders for sugar cane harvesters. Production will commence at the end of this month. The company has also been on a trade visit to India and recently signed a ‘Letter of Interest’ with a significant tractor/equipment manufacturer based in India to investigate new product design options for equipment to ‘bale hay’ during harvesting.
  • An avionics equipment manufacturer has secured partnership opportunities with a South African owned, Australian based firm to enhance their industrial design capacity and access to sophisticated IT and software development expertise in order to expand their product offering to include the design and manufacture of a range of data intensive tracking and monitoring technologies for a variety of industry sectors including defence, agriculture and transport.
  • A steel and construction company has formed partnerships with regional fabrication and hydraulics firms in order to capture major construction projects. The company is in the process of achieving their ISO9000 accreditation and has plans to set-up an on-site training hub with a desire to partner with Regional Training Organisations to develop new models for shared apprenticeships.
  • A professional services firm recognised a gap in the market place to attract and retain mining/construction/major project workers and their families to the region. This firm has developed a state-of-the art digital interface and connectivity model that provides regional information on social, lifestyle and commercial aspects. In doing so, this firm has created a network of strategic regional alliances that goes beyond talent attraction and retention, but builds and strengthens the community and regional supply chains. Discussions between the professional services firm and local Councils are underway to negotiate licensing opportunities for the use of this digital application and connectivity model throughout the region.
  • A marine vessel designer and manufacturer is collaborating with naval surveyors and architects; interior designers; fabrication, engineering and electrical firms; regulatory and compliance authorities; and marine education and training institutes to form a Small Commercial Vessel Cluster to develop a broader range of boat design and building for a wider range of industries.
  • A steel manufacturer and fabrication firm is forming joint ventures and strategic partnerships with surface treatment, laser cutting, forming and stamping and machining companies to bid for larger and more complex engineering projects. The firm is also exploring future collaborative arrangements with certification/engineering services companies/consultants in order to become the recognised ‘lead’ company that can bid for ‘value-added’ projects.
  • A livestock equipment designer and manufacturer is collaborating with key stakeholders from abattoirs, energy utilities, designers, veterinarians, education and training providers, universities, feedlots and leading beef producers to develop a Cattle Handling Cluster in order to develop smarter systems (including automation) as well as bid for larger projects.
  • A well established transport equipment manufacturer with international distribution partners is developing a global solutions logistics cluster, bringing together both regional and global companies, universities, expertise and research know-how to explore issues and undertake joint projects related to new business, technological and IT drivers in the logistics industry, both domestically and internationally.
  • An engineering and fabrication firm is formalising long-term collaborative relationships with several companies it does business with as well as developing new alliances with maintenance service companies in order to access new markets and expand into the mining sector.
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