There’s a special kind of glint that flashes in Ian’s eyes when he wanders the factory floor of frame and truss manufacturing facilities. He’s at home among sawdust and machines. But mostly, he enjoys understanding how factory processes can be improved – a skill he’s honed over 24 years with Pryda, in manufacturing plants across Australia, New Zealand and across may other parts of the world.
From his early years as an equipment engineer in the age of c-clamps to the current era of software-driven linear saw technology and automated machinery, Ian has seen it all, using his experience to spearhead Pryda’s E2E process review and performance improvement services.
“Once you get splinters in your veins you don’t lose them that easily,” he said.
But as much as he enjoys fine tuning complex process flows, Ian also has a nose for business. In this part of the world he says the industry is delicately poised, with a softening in customer orders in Australia and indications that New Zealand could follow suit. His assessment is based on shorter truss delivery times, which are down from four-to-five weeks to two-to-three. The situation, should it keep moving in the same direction, will invite greater competition, putting acid on frame and truss manufacturers to eke out more efficiencies.
“Automation provides a solution, but you need to ensure it meets your specific needs – it’s not one shoe fits all,” he said.
On this front, Ian said technology provides good answers – but not all the answers – and as manufacturers look to technology and automation to increase productivity and reduce human inputs, frame and truss manufacturers should remain wary of ripple effects on things like maintenance.
“Modern technology has revolutionised productivity but comes with complexity embedded in electronics, controls and mechatronics. Gone are the days of whistling up the local hydraulics guy to fix an oil leak. So, what you save on staff must be balanced with the premium you can pay for this kind of specialist care and attention,” he said.
Business Development Manager ANZ
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