Smart and Safe Storage Systems


Emrack International is the exclusive Australian license partner for the GETC Manufacturing Group, a major Chinese company specialising in the production of storage and display systems.

James Scuderi is the company’s National Sales Manager and he stresses that Emrack is an entirely independent all-Australian company, one that was in the storage systems business before working exclusively with GETC, but that the company has benefited considerably from its relationship with the manufacturer. He says the widespread view of China as a difficult business partner is not at all the case here.

“We have a very close working relationship with them because of our support agreements; we have some Chinese-born staff here in the office [in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine] and we speak with the GETC people responsible for Emrack projects on a daily basis. Over time we have realised some of the finer points of dealing with China but we get such strong support from the GETC group. We are somewhat insulated from some of the experiences of other Western businesses when they first start working with China. We have already done the hard yards in that regard.”

GETC is “a fantastic group to work with, a very good supplier and we work very closely with them,” says James. “As long as the volume is there they can assist us in producing just about anything at all we require for our clients, and we work on a wide variety of products and projects, both in terms of standard systems and customer OEM work too.”

At first, James says, there was a little resistance in the marketplace about the supply of product from China, the usual popular sniffy response that all goods from the Asia powerhouse must be cheap and of inferior quality. But in the last five years or so that has dissipated. “As the market has evolved and become much more price-driven – and since almost all original Australian producers are importing most or all of their products – we find the acceptance level is no longer an issue, as long as you can show you satisfy the standards in full,” James explains. “The industrial customer is pretty smart,” and understands that the product side of what Emrack does is virtually a commodity exercise. Pallet racking is pallet racking and nothing more needs to be said (as long as it performs to safety standards and is backed by an experienced supplier over its lifetime of use).

The true value-add, rather, is Emrack’s ability to design, produce and install systems that best meet the industrial customer’s individual requirements. “Our difference is in service, drafting and engineering,” says James. “We spend a lot of effort in ensuring we work as closely with clients as possible to make their specification 100 per cent applicable to their business – for now and for the future. We put a very strong emphasis on drafting and detailing.” Perhaps Emrack’s drawings take slightly longer to complete (generally a complete site can be detailed in under seven days), he adds, but when the client sees the result he can usually understand and recognise the extra resources that have been put into it. “They can see how it applies to their business in its current state and to their business moving forward in years to come.”

Working to international standards is important, stresses James. Global safety guidelines mean greater quality control and better safety margins; GETC deals with major multinational corporations right across the world and they regularly need to meet a range of different global standards. GETC cannot supply to such clients unless they are able to prove the performance of their products.

To this end, “We get all our certification and approval work done locally [in Australia]. We also have 100 per cent QA – every single consignment is quality-inspected under our arrangement with GETC, overseen by a Chinese-speaking engineer in our office here.” In terms of the overall package, clearly price – though important as always – is not everything.

Asia is waking up to the importance of testing, certification, and enforcement – but James acknowledges that constant monitoring is essential to maintain consistent standards and compliance. “As Asia continues to grow I think there will be increasing acceptance of the need for items produced anywhere to meet set standards,” he shares. But Emrack focuses exclusively on making sure everything it markets meets or exceeds all local standards. It is a real issue for the people who spend their working lives in warehouses and the like, picking and packing or driving forklifts under large racking structures. “We expect it to be a given that if you participate in this market, you do your due diligence to ensure your product is world class.”

Essentially, says James, Emrack’s customers fall into two categories; first there is the client who wants storage systems for a specific application but is looking for guidance and planning advice; and secondly, there is the company that will come in with fairly detailed specifications already drawn up and not expect a discussion. “One client understands more or less precisely what is required and has planned out the entire floor space whereas the other client has a much less clear understanding of what they need to do to continue to grow their business and asks us to work with them.”

The relationship with GETC helps in this regard too, especially on the retail side. Although a minority aspect of its business, Emrack deals with large-format retail stores – leading hardware stores, for example – and finds that because GETC has such a comprehensive portfolio of storage and display options for such a wide range of products it is easier to find a solution that precisely suits the customer’s needs. “We drive the project specification, the design element, from here and then we trust GETC to be the high-level manufacturer of the proposed solutions,” James explains.

The debate over the future of manufacturing in Australia is particularly intense right now, so does Emrack worry about its future? Will a demise of local manufacturing reduce the demand for storage systems? James is far from complacent but he points out that, essentially, Emrack is covered either way. “We believe that Australia will become a much more warehousing-intensive country because a large proportion of production will continue to move to China and southeast Asia – and other developing countries.”

While the value of the Australian dollar influences that flow to a considerable extent, manufacturing once closed down is expensive to restore if the value dips dramatically, so instead of making things, Emrack’s clients are increasingly likely to be storing them regardless of their port of loading. Warehousing and logistics will increase in importance at the expense of manufacturing equipment.

In addition to its head office in Melbourne, Emrack has branches in Western Australia, Sydney and Queensland. “We service nationally. We will have a job in each state pretty much every day, large or small, from a couple of pallet bays for a small company just starting to sell online to a very large public company or multinational.” The company works with all kinds of businesses – from CSR Ltd, Boeing Aerospace and CAT (Caterpillar) Logistics to a small tradie in Darwin – with just about any storage requirement, although one of its specialities on the product side is cantilever racking for bulky items.

It’s not that the products themselves are irrelevant, pure commodities – the case has already been made for quality. But what truly sets Emrack apart is service. “What we really focus on is our value proposition, offering our customer the best value, which often does mean being the most competitive (on price) but with a very high level of support behind it,” says James. “We offer the client the best value throughout the life of the product, with a 20 year warranty on all our industrial systems and an inspection service to ensure that a client is using our systems, together with any other systems they may have acquired over the years, in a manner that is compliant to relevant Australian standards and is up to all the requisite OH&S regulations.”

Retaining its independence and Australian identity, coupled with its unique access to the resources of GETC in China, Emrack enjoys the best of both worlds.

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December 19, 2018, 5:13 AM AEDT