Laser Central’s CEO, Suzanne Shipp talks about Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) and Australia’s economic response to COVID-19.

We are ready to support any ‘onshoring’ initiative
“Let’s bring manufacturing back to Australia”

Speaking to Suzanne Shipp, CEO, at
Laser Central in Queensland about their
recent move to a new purpose-built
facility and her thoughts on the
Australian manufacturing industry now
and post COVID-19.

Tell us about Laser Central and how long you’ve been in the business.
Laser Central is a 100% Australian, family owned metal processing company based in the Western Suburbs of Brisbane. We provide premium metal processing services for flatbed and tube laser cutting, metal folding, countersinking, drilling and tapping, and edge rounding. We have experience in a wide range of industries including mining, defence, automotive, agricultural, construction, housing and manufacturing. Laser Central has been operational since 1999 and we recently moved to our new premises in late 2019. As part of the move, we installed and commissioned three new lasers (TRUMPF and Adige brands), increasing our cutting capacity by more than 30%, improved our flow and increased our storage capacity. I joined the business early this year prior to the challenges of COVID-19.

How has the company grown over the years?
Over the past 21 years, Laser Central has grown organically. We have been steadily growing while we continue to service our customers’ needs and support their successes. We work closely with our clients and continually gain new clients through word of mouth as well as marketing ourselves on our website and LinkedIn. Through leveraging our existing relationships, we have grown a clientele which is predominantly south-east Queensland based but we also support interstate clients across Australia.

What industries do you specialise in?
We focus on several industries including structural steel and metal for construction, mining and architectural purposes. With our advanced tube manufacturing capability, we can cut a variety of long product lengths up to 12 meters, from stainless steel, mild and aluminium across various closed and open sections up to 300mm diameter. We are also currently supporting Defence by providing them with high precision and high quality workmanship. We support the agricultural industry and since the recent bush fires and drought, we are supporting our communities to rebuild.

What do you see as the keys to Laser Central’s success?
Success for us, is all based around our clients. We build strong relationships with our clients, delivering solutions that result in increased productivity for them. We have a proactive approach, and respond to all enquiries promptly. We go the extra mile to ensure our clients are satisfied with our services and we ensure we have the capabilities to meet our client’s needs. Laser Central provides Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) – we are a one-stop shop that can simplify supply chains. There is no need for our clients to spend large amounts of capital on expensive equipment or in-house machining, or manage a network of subcontractors, or have a large factory or network of logistic supports. Laser Central have the skills, experience and knowledge to meet a client’s specific needs and support the full life cycle of a part.

What are your thoughts on manufacturing in Australia?
The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled Australia to rise to the challenge and reinvigorate our brightest stars to shine. It’s allowed us to bring the focus of innovation and manufacturing back to Australia’s shores. We have once again proven to ourselves that we can respond quickly in a crisis and I’m confident that the on-shoring trend will continue. If we leverage technologies, we can be more efficient and competitive than any off shore option. Faster lead times allow our clients to reduce the amount of stock they must carry; less inventory is tied up in transit; and through ordering smaller quantities or paired with just in time deliveries, our clients can reduce excess and obsolescent costs as they only need to order when they need it. I support the forecast of a manufacturing renaissance and if we do it correctly, Australia could become one of the most cost-effective locations for manufacturing in the world and at the same time solve our unemployment rate. For this to happen, we must give ourselves an edge by maintaining world class standards of quality,  innovation, skilled workers and faster lead times.