Australian manufacturers change hands every day, but for Affinity Windows, part of BCG Australia WA, preparation for the sale triggered a fundamental modernization of operations. Reporting by Peter Roberts.
Affinity Windows is well known in Western Australia, supplying residential and commercial customers with aluminum windows, doors, security products, shower screens and bathrobes.
Fairly standard products, you might say, and in the case of Affinity’s former factory in Canning Vale, Perth, made with what have all too often become fairly standard Australian manufacturing processes.
Like many manufacturers there had been a lack of investment over the years, Affinity underwent a complete overhaul of every part of its business.
Managing Director Rachel Hartwig told @AuManufacturing: “We had a lot to do and a lot to implement – changes were needed both back and front of house.
“In a short period of time, we had to transform so many rooms at the back of the house to increase service delivery, offering a real chance of long-term success.
“We built a new factory, implemented a lean layout, KPIs in each department and visual management. A part is still in progress. »
Brand perception was mixed, and at times negative, and over the years Affinity had lost market share – its business was primarily supplying in-house homebuilder brands BGC Australia.
But the transformational change over the past two years can be seen in the photographs – from lots of outdated equipment, workstations, cluttered areas and no clear flow to the old Canning Vale pants (pictured below), to new equipment, including WA’s largest CNC automatic cutting line in the new factory in Jandakot (main photo).
A new ERP system designed for window manufacturing will integrate with new CNC machines, improving quoting and creating critical data for future forecasting.
“The company needed a strategy and goals, a new structure, new processes, new ERP and systems, increased customer service, renewal and brand marketing, a new location for growth and space, and a host of HR initiatives to increase safety, employee retention and engagement.”
Other initiatives over the past 18 months include:
- Rebranding, a new website, a new marketing strategy (including digital) and the launch of an e-commerce online store
- The opening of a sleek and modern showroom in Jandakot, with a display at the Home Base construction center in progress
- New product launches including higher energy star standard ranges, a partnership with Carpal Aluminum on a new commercial Trend series and a new suite of double glazed residential windows and doors
- And a supply chain strategy to build inventory and secure multiple supply options for key inputs such as glass and aluminum.
The end result is a production system that enables high volume manufacturing with improved efficiency.
Said Hartwig: Affinity Windows is now focused on increasing its value proposition in the WA construction market and is looking to other industry segments to help fuel the volume facility that has been created.
“For example, we now have a complete model to supply to the multi-residential commercial market, where it was previously heavily supplied by imported windows. »
With this recent investment and after more than 44 years in business, Affinity believes it has given itself and its 150 employees the opportunity to dominate the market and increase its market share.
Hartwig said: “This week we hosted a group of best practice managers from BHP Iron Ore for a training day.
“They have been impressed with the changes that have been implemented and specifically the culture change with employees – the company has demonstrated lower turnover and in these difficult labor markets it has been a real success story .”
Photos: Affinity Windows, new Jandakot plant (main) and former Canning Vale operations and part of the range (below)
Subscribe for free to our @AuManufacturing newsletter here.