Leading the Luxury Market

Spa Industries

The owner of Spa Industries started his career as a service technician for spas, and began plumbing spa baths after hours, at home on his kitchen table. At first, he sold his work to a small retail store, until opening his own store in Hallam, Victoria, 18 years ago. As the demand for spas was quickly rising, he travelled to America and saw the opportunity to purchase manufacturing equipment. This equipment was shipped to Australia, and Signature Spas was born.

The company launched its first manufacturing facility in Keysborough, Victoria, a small factory of around 600 square metres. By 1999, two more factories were opened in Keysborough. The Keysborough sites very soon became too small to cope with the increased demand, and a 2000 square metre factory in Hallam was opened. By 2002, the business relocated to a 10,000 square metre factory in Hallam, where it still resides today.

As demand rose, the Cyclone Spas brand was developed to fulfill a niche in the marketplace, and in order to market Signature Spas and Cyclone Spas successfully, the name SCS (Signature Cyclone Spas) Industries was adopted for the manufacturing side of the business.

Over the course of the company’s evolution, it brought additional product ranges on board: Bullfrog Spas, with its patented JetPakTM Bullfrog technology; Designer Spas; Infinity Swim Spas; Leisurerite Spas; and most recently, Bathroom Spas by Lanark Spas. With the new direction of the company came a new name; and in 2009 Spa Industries was introduced to better reflect the broad range of products and service the company brings to the marketplace.

Spa Industries now produces five top brands of outdoor spas, all manufactured in Australia. The company also produces an exclusive range of spas for Bunning’s stores and the H2O brand for Clark Rubber stores.

Having conquered the market for top quality outdoor spas, the next step was the indoor spa market. With the acquisition of Lanark Spas in 2012, Spa Industries launched its new range of indoor spas together with a range of bathroom products, enabling the company to meet its customers’ needs across all seasons. And Spa Industries has no intention of stopping there; going forward, the company is looking at introducing new swim systems, specific therapy systems, innovative designs and a new level of luxury for indoor spa baths.

Of course, the development of all businesses involves overcoming challenges, and Spa Industries is no exception. When the market started to change about eight years ago, some companies began importing products from China, where low labour costs drove down the prices. Spa Industries did some research on how these products performed, and found that the quality fell below the high Australian standards to which Spa Industries was accustomed to. As a result, the company decided not to move and to keep its manufacturing base in Australia. Imported components come from the original, traditional suppliers in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, enabling Spa Industries to utilise only top quality parts whilst still remaining competitive. Keeping a close eye on the componentry, and manufacturing the spas in-house, also enables Spa Industries to be more innovative and to lead the market rather than follow it, since the company can make changes or improvements quickly here in Australia.

Spa Industries has certainly learned how to face adversity and come out on top. Another challenge the company encountered was when a fire broke out in the manufacturing building – a building with two and half acres under one roof. Almost everything was lost in that fire and Spa Industries had to learn how to quickly rebuild and survive through that time. After losing so much of the plant, the new factory had to be entirely re-designed. It was built in sections, with six different parts such that the potential for loss was limited.

Now that the company has surmounted these challenges and grown into the largest manufacturer of outdoor spas in Australia, it is time for further expansion. One innovative project in the pipeline is the Hybrid Spa System, which Spa Industries teamed up with the company RHEEM to create. The Hybrid Spa is the most energy efficient spa in operation in Australia. Never one to shy away from new technology, Spa Industries has also been working with a California-based controller company to install state-of-the-art control systems with WiFi capability, into its spas.

Making these kinds of innovations possible are Spa Industries’ strong relationships with its suppliers and partners in industry. According to Rob Kruber, Spa Industries’ Operations Manager, suppliers are more like partners, and are, “a big part of making you competitive in the marketplace.” These relationships don’t just mean lower prices on components; they enable Spa Industries to produce a better product, to reduce waste and even to minimise impacts upon the environment. Some of the major companies that supply for Spa Industries are Lucite for acrylic sheets, Balboa for control systems and pumps, and CG Air in Canada, for air blowers.

Ten years ago, the biggest problem facing businesses was manufacturing products quickly enough to meet demand; about four years ago, when the dollar started to go up and the GFC reared its head, individuals and retailers alike began to change their spending habits. To maintain its strong presence in the marketplace – and to protect and preserve Australian-made products – the company created the Just Spas Group, an exclusive retailer for Spa Industries products. In its first year, the Just Spas Group started with around 15 people; now, almost four years later, it has grown to 70 stores that all believe in Australian manufacturing.

Among the many strengths that give Spa Industries its competitive edge are its ability to deliver in a short period of time and its broad range of customisation options. According to Rob Kruber, “There are 60 different spa models to choose from, in 10 different colours, with five different cabinets, and 10 different jet configurations, and a hundred different options. We can build any one of those within 10 to 15 days.” It’s no wonder that Spa Industries has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years – including “Most Innovative New Product for 2010” – and was the first Australian Spa Manufacturer to be awarded the International Standard AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System by Lloyd’s Register.

Never compromising on quality, design, or service, Spa Industries truly offers the complete package – Australian-made products using top-quality, proven components, innovative technology, affordable prices, and every possible feature you could want in a spa.

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 19, 2018, 9:24 AM AEDT