Laser Central recently completed its move into a purpose-built, much larger factory in Darra, south-west Brisbane, while enhancing its workshop with three new machines supplied by Headland Machinery.

Suzanne Shipp is one of the key people responsible for Laser Central’s aggressive growth strategy. Since being appointed as the company’s new CEO earlier this year, Shipp has been busy driving new ideas and initiatives at this 100% Australian, family-owned business.

“One of our core strategies has been around establishing a complete, centralised network of suppliers that can provide complimentary services and a full capability suite to our clients,” says Shipp. “The reasoning behind this, is that we can simplify our client’s supply chain. The client can come to us and while we might provide 80% of the work, we might also incorporate another supplier to provide the finishing, which means we can provide a full end-to-end service.

“This makes it easier for the customer as they only have to deal with one supplier, while they receive the end product that they need. We’ve worked hard to establish a large and reliable network of partners that we can work with and fill any capability gaps.”

Moving to the new facility has given Laser Central an increase in capacity of more than 30%. The increased space is not only better for the company’s employees, with increased safety and improved workflows, but also for its clients, with leads times drastically reduced.

“We have more options now in terms of storing more materials, enabling shorter lead times when required,” says Shipp. “More space in our new factory means that clients can preorder parts for faster turnaround times, ensuring that same day delivery is possible. Consignment-type options are now available with the extra space.

“We also have variable transport options available with a dedicated local courier and preferred freighting companies that we can use to supply interstate. Clients can supply their own material as well. This can help the client reduce risk. We are more flexible with materials and transport options which is all part of our client focus initiatives.”

Laser Central is now looking to expand the number of clients it can serve, particularly in the industries where it is well known, such as mining, defence, agriculture and fabrication and construction. The company is also seeing growing demand from the rail projects sector, and more recently camping and caravaning.

The new facility features a number of new technology acquisitions supplied by Headland Machinery. A new TRUMPF 6m flatbed fibre laser is ideal for oversized materials and for clients in rail and construction, as well as architectural screens and cladding. A TRUMPF 3m flatbed fibre laser was also recently acquired. The TRUMPF lasers have added capability and are up to 1.5 times faster, allowing Laser Central to respond quickly when required. The company’s Mazak, TRUMPF and Adige tube machines provide service for up to 12m at 300mm in diameter for long product materials.

“Success to us is supplying our clients with what they need,” adds Shipp. “We’ve invested in new technology; now offering faster service and greater capability. “We have also increased the number of operators we employ – 12 new people have been added to team.”

As well as new machinery, Laser Central invested in training at TRUMPF’s headquarters in Germany earlier last year, and has also completed some software and operator training onsite.

“We’ve invested in this new technology and the new facilities provide our clients with what they need: fast turn around times,” Shipp explains. “We are good at understanding a client’s requirement and the desired outcome, and then providing an optimised solution that can improve the outcome or save them money and time. That’s when it gets exciting!

“For example in the construction industry we are able to provide 3D, optimised, precision-cut parts that the builders can then assemble like a Meccano set on-site. The end product is in the exact format they need. We’re receiving good testimonials, which is great.”

Shipp emphasises that local support from Headland has been key to Laser Central’s success

“Headland local support has been great, and the response times are what we need. The knowledge of the local guys is impressive, and having a local service manager is good – having that single point of contact is fantastic. We can pick up the phone and contact Shellie Woodham at the Queensland office and she can put everything into place to ensure we are supported until the problem or improvement is resolved.”

For the future, Shipp and her team at Laser Central are strongly focused on growth.

“Our strategies all revolve around providing greater value to our clients,” she says. “We listen to what our clients need; it’s what they’ve told us that matters. In these times our sovereign capability is also helping drive growth, being 100% Australian-owned and using Australian steel in our processing. With our end-to-end partner network, increased service capabilities and faster turnaround times, we feel greater growth is just around the corner.”