Choice Not Chance

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-By Kristy Attard

When it comes to workplace safety, it’s the choices you make, not the chances you take that make all the difference. No one understands this better than QMW Industries, focussed on ensuring employee safety in the construction and earth moving industries with its high quality products. “Our motto is, “˜we get it right the first time, because the second time may be too late,'” says Sales and Marketing Manager Graham Barber. Since the early 80’s the team at QMW industries has been expertly engineering Australian standards-compliant Roll Over Protective Structures (ROPS) and Falling Object Protective Structures (FOPS) for Earthmoving equipment and mining machinery. QMW Industries also provides a range of additional services for cranes, earthmoving and mining machines and is proudly Australian owned.

Well Managed

“We’ve been in business for a long time now, since 1984,” says Managing Director Jeff Samuels. What started as a very small family company has grown to 3 large factories throughout Australia. “Acacia ridge is our main facility where we have approximately 100-120 people. We have a facility in Rockhampton; we have about 25 people there and we have a facility in Perth, Western Australia, with about 30 people there.” QMW Industries has distributors and approved installers in Mackay, the Hunter Valley, South Australia, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.

QMW provides an extensive range of services and products. The company’s expert teams can make modifications to existing mining equipment for specific applications, perform certified structural crane repairs and complete full turn key projects in addition to engineering FOPS and ROPS. QMW Industries does provide in-house training for employees to extend their skill sets and has apprentices in each branch. QMW factories are equipped with the latest technology and the best people committed to seeing the company flourish through their efforts.

“We only employ fully qualified tradesmen and we have full time welding inspectors in the factories,” says Mr Barber. “We adopt a philosophy of lean manufacture or competitive manufacture in all of the factories. That process of lean manufacture is championed by the likes of Toyota and the Ford Motor Company. Even though we don’t make thousands of widgets or do the same sort of thing as a car manufacture plant, we have the same philosophy.”

Each of the factories is broken up into teams that hold a meeting each morning to discuss key performance indicators like safety and quality. “When we chart those deliverables we set some benchmarks,” says Mr Barber. “Say we want 95 per cent delivery on time in full of our product; if we start missing delivery times and we end up going in the negative chart we strive for improvement. The whole process is one of continuous improvement.”

The team meeting every morning is fully documented and any issues that are brought up in regard to safety, maintenance or training are then brought to the second middle management level. They discuss the matters and try to find solutions. If any issues cannot be resolved by middle management at the level 2 meeting it goes on to the level 3 meeting which comprises the department managers and the managing director. This highly structured format ensures that daily operations are properly managed.

Exceptional Quality

QMW Industries is committed to designing, manufacturing and testing the highest quality safety products and systems possible. “We’re certified to ISO 9001 and have been since 1996.” Success at QMW is measured by the business’ substantial long-term growth. “We also define the word success by the growth of the company and the quality of the services.” Another factor is the longevity of the employees at QMW Industries. Mr Samuels comments, “We have a fairly permanent, firm staff with many people in excess of 10 years service so I think the quality is defined by the substantial growth of the company over many years.” Mr Samuels enjoys “watching the company grow” and says, “every new project we get is a great reward.”

The excellent standard of quality and service QMW provides has built the business a solid reputation both nationally and internationally. QMW now exports to 15 countries worldwide including China, Germany, Indonesia and the US. When it comes to clients, “we’ve got all the major mining companies – BHP Billiton, BMA, which is the Mitsubishi alliance, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Caterpillar; we’ve done big projects for a German manufacturer called Wirtgen; we worked for Bucyrus… they’re our major customers, plus many more. One of the great achievements was designing a new dragline cab for Bucyrus and becoming the preferred supplier for Bucyrus for all their dragline cabs. The cab itself is quite a large structure and it’s quite intricate, so it’s one of the great achievements of not only having manufacturing and testing facilities, but having a very good team of design engineers on staff as well.” QMW guarantees its delivery times and prides itself on providing a professional level of service. Customers can be confident that no matter what they choose from the extensive QMW Industries range, they are purchasing absolute quality.

The core product at QMW is its Roll Over protection for mining trucks, road trucks and excavators. Roll Over Protection in general accounts for approximately 70 per cent of business. QMW Industries’ ROPS and FOPS can be installed on nearly any sort of moving operator driven machinery, ensuring that the operator is well protected. ROPS and FOPS are designed to bend slightly to absorb the energy in the event of an accident. All products undergo performance destructive testing in the NATA certified testing facilities; “we do the performance destructive testing to the letter of the standards.” Performing destructive testing is the most accurate way to ensure that the equipment will perform in the event of an accident.

Exciting Future

In China, Australia is becoming a very well known and reputable manufacturer of quality mining products. “Even though Europe and America make similar products, Australia is known for its quality and price,” says Mr Samuels. The company’s products are designed and manufactured in Australia to strict standards and are priced accordingly. QMW Industries aims to continue further developing the international market by marketing its range of products, systems and services to new and existing markets.

The culture at QMW is progressive and rises to meet the challenges that operating in a global market brings. Mr Samuels comments, “There are many challenges; I suppose the biggest company challenge and the challenge of any small enterprise is maintaining cash flow. Since we’re a manufacturer and we do a lot of design and testing there’s a lot of work in progress before the customer gets the product, so the biggest challenge is maintaining cash flow and trying to balance the budget on large projects.”

“One of the problems we do face is having those “˜artificial’ products out in the marketplace.” It is an alarming fact that there are cowboys in the Roll Over Protection industry producing inferior quality products. “They are selling safety systems which are not properly designed and tested.” While these products may be cheaper than what QMW offers, they are often unsafe, putting people’s lives at risk. “We want to really get out to the customers and to people that it’s really critical for them to investigate the designs that they’re buying.” Are your company’s ROPS and FOPS fully tested in compliance with international standards? If not, they could be fatal in the event of an accident. “It’s a bit like going to China and buying a Louis Vuitton knock-off handbag for $30 when a genuine one might cost $3000. We have the same unfortunate instances here in Australia where we have some suppliers that are just knocking out supposedly safe systems for rollover protection, but they have never been properly designed and tested. They’re potential death traps for people who buy them.”

The difference in price between a QMW product and a cheaper one might be significant, but unfortunately so is the difference in quality. When it comes to workplace safety, going cheap and cutting corners can have deadly consequences; it’s just not worth it. Investing in the safety of your most valuable asset, your people, is a smart move and with companies like QMW Industries exporting worldwide, Australian businesses are paving the way.

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February 27, 2020, 2:42 AM AEDT

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