Australian Precision Technologies (APT) has taken a giant step into the future, moving into a new industry and upskilling its staff to stay ahead of the curve.
Over the past two years, the Berwick-based precision manufacturer has progressed with some major initiatives to better position its business in a changing landscape.
The transformation began with the creation of APT’s advanced manufacturing initiative, which reset its customer focus. Initially, a large portion of APT’s work was for the motor vehicle industry or in general engineering, a spokesperson said.
With this work increasingly heading offshore, APT’s management knew they had to come up with new target customers. They settled on the defence industry – a challenging contract to win by anyone’s standards.
"It was basically progressing our whole business up to that next level so we could win that work” the spokesperson said.
APT achieved an AS9100 accreditation and underwent a number of security checks to gain the defence work, placing them in the next tier of manufacturers.
Now, around 75 per cent of its customers are in the defence sector – up from 12 per cent in 2008.
“When we started the initiative, we had to overhaul all our processes,” the spokesperson explained.
All staff had to progress to a higher skill level, working to strict process controls. Managers learned new quality controls and new quality-focused staff members were hired to oversee the defence work. According to the spokesperson, the effort poured into the initiative has paid dividends, with a high level of staff retainment and all work produced to the highest standard.
The shift to defence work also helped when Covid-19 smashed into the manufacturing industry.
“We were lucky in that we didn’t have to close because the defence industry was essential,” the spokesperson said.
“We could still keep production going, while meeting the Covid restrictions.”
APT was also part of the direct response to Covid-19, creating components for respirators that kept people alive during the pandemic. APT is an integral part of the Casey business landscape.
Founded by Richard Weinzierl, a “Berwick boy through and through”, APT hires many of its staff from the local area.
“He’s got a lot of pride in living here and working here,” the spokesperson explained.
“We are the community; so that’s probably why this is our place to be.”
APT has had success in the Casey-Cardinia Business Awards before, and were crowned City of Casey Business of the Year 2021, while also taking out the Innovation Category award in recognition of their achievements and commitment to growth and excellence.
“Being able to support sovereign capability in Australia, making Australian parts for the defence industry in Australia, is a massive achievement and something everyone here has worked so hard on,” the spokesperson said.
“We’re going to continue doing that. We’re always progressing, putting in new processes, tightening things up to stand out in our field. We think we’ve done a really good job.”