About the Manufacturer of the Year - AUSTUBE MILLS
Austube Mills began its life in Newcastle in 1934 and it is a testament to the company’s longevity and ability to keep pace with changing markets that 80 years later it was awarded the Manufacturer of the Year award at the 2014 Hunter Manufacturing Awards.
Throughout its life Austube Mills has focused primarily on the domestic markets in Australasia and built itself a reputation based on the quality of its products, its technical support and its high-level customer service.
It began in 1934 as Stewarts & Lloyds at the Mayfield site and significant milestones in its history have included:
· In 1963 Austube Mills obtained an international license for the ‘Newcastle Design’ pioneering a process for automatically
galvanizing circular pipe.
· The home of DuraGal - the well respected and recognised brand known for radically improving the inline galvanising
coating process for steel pipe and tube products since the early 1990s.
· In 1994 Austube Mills won the national Australian Information Industry Award for Excellence Through Information Technology
with their barcoding and storage system.
Today, Austube Mills also manufactures from sites in Acacia Ridge, Queensland and Somerton, Victoria. It is Australia’s largest steel pipe and tube manufacturer of the widest range of hollow pipe and tube and open profile steel structural sections in Australia, producing approximately 200,000 tonnes annually.
Another major strength of Austube Mills is its core network of more than 200 distribution partners across Australia and New Zealand.
When the Arrium Steel business announced it would divest the then OneSteel Australian Tube Mills business in 2012, General Manager Richard Clement embraced the opportunity to rebrand the company and give it its own identity to stand on its own in the Australian steel industry. The journey to develop the new brand was driven from the inside out, with extensive employee consultation across the business’ three sites to ensure its people were involved and felt a part of the movement from the start.
The new Austube Mills brand was officially launched in 2013. The business survived the tough conditions of the GFC through careful analysis of spending, where it could cut back, and what was most profitable.
Over the past three years there have been changes in the leadership structure to ensure those at the top are passionate and confident about their role and the company itself. Bringing the Sales and Marketing team in-house was a major contributor to the positive impact this structure change has had on the business’ operations and activity in the market.
Austube Mills has an important place in the history of Newcastle. In the 1950s the business employed more than 3,000 staff at the Newcastle site and although that number is significantly smaller today, it continues to give back to the local area through its present employees and its Community Sponsorship Program. This includes sponsoring sports teams, community groups and donating to local charities like Ronald McDonald House.
Austube Mills has two Core Values: Safety and Customer. These are upheld through a series of internal initiatives called ‘Goal Zero: Zero Harm, Zero Waste’.
Much of their continued success has been through their focus on quality and facing change head on. Austube Mills is constantly looking at ways it can improve the business, building upon the significant achievements of the past to propel and sustain it into the future. Internally the focus is on how it can improve efficiencies.
The business has consistently led the way in innovation around tensile strength and protective coatings designed specifically to meet the harsh Australian conditions.
Commenting on Austube Mills’ philosophy General Manager, Richard Clement said “To achieve the desired level of growth, we stay at the forefront of technology and ensure that we produce steel to the highest Australian and New Zealand standards.”
“Austube Mills will never stop improving and we’ve got to continue to improve every day. We are in control of our own destiny – we will be better tomorrow than we are today.”