Combining Experience with Innovation

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

To remain competitive in business requires more than producing quality products and timely, professional service – it also takes research and innovation to keep ahead of the competition.

From humble beginnings, Combined Metal Industries had a goal: to be not only an innovator, but stand apart from the competition in the development and manufacture of quality metal roofing and associated products, fencing, and steel roof trusses for Australia’s building industry and homeowners. A wholly Western Australian-owned family business, Combined Metal Industries is proud of the many relationships it has established over the years.

Formed by David and Sunny Elsegood in 1985 in a small factory unit in Osborne Park, the company started off with a staff of just three, but with big objectives: to provide WA with the best sheet metal products and service possible. The belief that customers should enjoy only the best was a personal badge of pride for David. Spending most of his adult life working within the manufacturing industry for other companies, he grew dissatisfied with the inadequate level of quality and service that he saw being provided by the industry in general. Taking matters into his own hands, David decided to start his own business, and provide customers with the quality products and first-class service they deserve.

“When business commenced, Combined Metal Industries rolled one profile of guttering and manufactured a small selection of rainwater goods including flashings and downpipe,” says Kylie Elsegood-Smith, a partner in the company. “David’s special brand of personalised service, and commitment to quality, meant that customers came from far and wide to deal with Combined Metal Industries.”

In a short time, CMI’s positive reputation grew. The company needed larger premises, and in just over 25 years has grown from a staff of three to two hundred employees. Today, CMI is one of the nation’s largest independently owned metal roll forming companies. Still proudly family-owned and operated, CMI has four sites in Landsdale, Malaga, Geraldton and Busselton. With David still involved in the business, the company’s day to day operations are overseen by Kylie Elsegood-Smith and Darren Elsegood, with siblings Bradley and Michael Elsegood also playing key roles within the business. The company has certainly grown over the years, but the staff’s commitment to quality and knowledgeable, personalised service remains at the core of the way it does business.

Innovative Solutions

At Combined Metal Industries, the focus is not just on providing the best available quality metal roofing and related products, but on finding solutions for metal fabrication challenges, using a combination of hands-on skill and technology.

“We are able to offer our clients Autocad drawing expertise for custom fabrication, as well as our roof take off system which has proven to be highly accurate in calculating roofing requirements,” says Elsegood-Smith. “CMI’s team of highly skilled staff is able to partner with clients and offer solutions to enhance our clients’ business, and add value to our relationship.” With a custom fabrication division that can create a wide range of bespoke items for both the building and mining industries, CMI’s also has an experienced estimating team, able to quote anything from the simplest flashing to the most complicated custom fabricated items.

Keeping in line with the company’s focus on continually coming up with new products and not being content to manufacture the same products as its competitors, CMI has a dedicated team responsible for developing unique and product ideas to complement the already comprehensive range of CMI products, like the E-VENTâ„¢. A revolutionary roof vent system, the E-VENTâ„¢ is a patented, environmentally friendly solution for venting hot air from residential and commercial roof spaces. Designed to utilise the Venturi effect, the E-VENTâ„¢ is not only efficient but cost-effective. By harnessing the combined natural forces of differential air pressure and natural energy, the E-VENTâ„¢ effectively cools roof spaces without the use of electricity or moving parts that can cause future maintenance issues. Truly unlike any other roof vent available in the market, the E-VENTâ„¢ is fast becoming a standard among builders for houses with all-metal roofs, who like the added benefit of the unobtrusive way the product blends into the roof.

Continuing along its path to providing unique and innovative products, Combined Metal Industries has created the Z-Line Trusses. Truly an inspired development, the Z-Line Trusses were created for Australia’s building market out of necessity. With it becoming more difficult to find hardwood timbers for timber roofing, there needed to be a solution. Recognising the need, CMI developed a quality roof truss system made not out of wood, but steel. Purpose-built for easy assembly, the Z-Line Truss is another one of the many available innovations created and produced by Combined Metal Industries.

New Technologies

From roofing to rainwater gutters, fencing to fascia, CMI acknowledges its products are not just the result of forward thinking, but the latest equipment. “CMI continually monitors developments in the machinery world,” says Elsegood-Smith. “Through this monitoring, we are able to evaluate developments to see what is of significant benefit to the company. We maintain that we must remain up to date with machinery so we continue to deliver quality solutions to our customers.”

Elsegood-Smith acknowledges that the company will not limit itself to sourcing machinery from one place or another, and investigates and sources equipment from Australia and countries like Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, and New Zealand. “No matter where a machine comes from, we ensure we deal with suppliers who can back up their product with training and service to keep machines running at their optimum performance.”

Realising the need for up to date equipment, Combined Metal Industries has enhanced its delivery capabilities with a program to acquire the best machinery available. Today, CMI has over 20 rollformers, three press-brake machines bending up to 10 metres, and the newly acquired $500,000 state of the art turret punch which, says Elsegood-Smith, has taken the company to a higher level of technical capabilities. No longer are sections cut from sheet metal in a slow and labour-intensive manner. With the new turret punch, CMI is able to deliver accurate punching of product with .25mm tolerances over thousands of sheets; additionally, the automated nature of the machine has also brought great improvements in safety, which is the company’s top priority.

“New technology and a higher level of safety awareness have enabled CMI to work smarter,” states Elsegood-Smith. “All machinery is now computer controlled, requiring higher skill level of the operator, but creating greater accuracy. CMI now sets the benchmark in industry in relation to Occupational Health and Safety standards, and has spent large sums of money in implementing safe systems of work and a better working environment for all CMI team members.”

Custom Fabrication

Along with the new turret punch, CMI has also invested recently in a state of the art laser cutting machine which services both CMI and external client cutting requirements. This and other tools – combined with decades of experience – have enabled the company to supply OEM’s and SME’s with light to medium weight custom fabrication requirements, backed by an ISO9000 accredited company. Able to offer no obligation discussions, CMI can provide a range of services, including design consultation and engineering, with products precisely manufactured to agreed specifications, and delivered in full, and on time.

Realising clients’ desire to create specific looks, CMI offers a wide range of products from Colorbond. Ranging from home roofing materials to fencing, steel roof trusses, specialised trailers and more, the company manufactures three different profiles of roofing including Corrugated, Comclad, and Comrib 50.

No matter the product – roofing materials, ridge caps, E-Ventsâ„¢, gutters, fencing, wall cladding, trusses and more – CMI always works with its many clients with honesty, integrity, and customer service that is second to none. “CMI is determined to produce the highest quality metal roofing and associated goods available, whilst continually innovating and providing custom built fabrication solutions to suit clients from mining, manufacturing and the building industry alike,” says Elsegood-Smith.

The family-owned business has grown over the past 26 years, and remains flexible and able to adapt to meet market demands. “As we have all grown up with the business, we have a unique understanding of the business at all levels having performed many roles within the business over the years,” says Elsegood-Smith, “and our clients tell us that being a wholly owned Western Australian business is very important. They are comforted by knowing that the people who run the business are in their state, and we are able to respond to their needs quicker than multi-national businesses. Being a local business has enabled us to have very strong relationships with our staff. Our highly experienced staff are one of our best assets, and many of them have been with the business for more than 10 years. We welcome our team to contribute to the daily operation of our business and welcome new ideas and innovation. Each team member knows that they can interact with the owners at any time.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 16, 2018, 3:55 PM AEDT