A Manufacturing Success Story

BOSS Engineering

With 80 years combined experience in agriculture, and 55 years combined experience in manufacturing, the founding team was well prepared to deliver what the market needed. Seven years later, business is booming and BOSS Engineering continues to grow, despite the challenges of Australian Manufacturing.

One strategy that has helped BOSS Engineering stay ahead was the creation of three separate divisions within the business: agricultural, spare parts, and transport. Everyone knows the pressure that Australian Manufacturers are under, and spreading the risk across multiple markets provides a measure of security. “Diversifying the business and broadening the scope of our products gives us continuity,” CFO Brad Hilton explains.

The company’s ability to customise has also been key to its success. “Your product is only as good as your design, so you have to listen to your clients and their needs and adapt your product to suit,” Mr Hilton points out. The team works directly with clients when developing new products in order to deliver exactly what the market is looking for. As a result, BOSS Engineering’s products are “on the cutting edge of what clients need.”

With a sales range stretching from northern Queensland all the way into Victoria, BOSS Engineering’s agricultural division deals with a wide range of farming situations. “You’ve got different soil types, different farming techniques,” Mr Hilton points out. “So we have to be able to customise our machines to suit the particular climate, soil type, [and] farming practices that are in that particular area.” Even neighbouring farms may deal with strikingly different situations. “You have guys that are only kilometres from each other with a multitude of different issues on their farm that need to be overcome,” Mr Hilton explains. “We have to make the machine adaptable.”

The team’s latest innovation is an air seeder specially designed to increase yields. The machine incorporates section control which “basically allows farmers to turn lines off,” Mr Hilton explains. This prevents double sowing in bays and headlands, “allowing them to alleviate double planting.” Funded by a grant from Commercialisation Australia, the air seeder’s section control ability is a notable first. “It is something that is new for Australia. There is nothing else out there quite like it.”

As with all BOSS Engineering machinery, safety was carefully considered during the design process. “Safety is very important,” Mr Hilton states. “There are a lot of farm injuries each year.” A user friendly design is also a necessity, and the team gathered plenty of client feedback to ensure that they created what they client wanted. “It is important to listen to concerns that our clients have had with other makes of air seeders,” Mr Hilton points out. “They are the ones who are going to be using it. We want something that is going to make their lives easier, not harder. The product is to give them a better outcome and provide them something they haven’t been able to achieve in the past.”

BOSS Engineering’s spare parts division is relatively new – and growing fast. “The spare parts division is something that we can see is going to be a big part of our business going forward,” Mr Hilton shares. Clients can conveniently shop online for all their spare parts needs, including aftermarket parts from other major manufacturers. Getting spare parts quickly and easily is crucial in the farming industry, and BOSS Engineering’s quick turnaround and dependability is generating plenty of sales. “If clients have a breakdown in the middle of planting, they need the parts right away,” Mr Hilton points out. Adding the spare parts division has allowed the company to meet a full range of client needs, both before and after the sale. “We are a one stop shop for your broadacre farming needs.”

The company’s transport division manufactures a range of service bodies and ute trays able to fit most vehicle makes and models. Clients are diverse, from farmers and tradesmen to energy companies. Custom fit outs are the norm and, as always, the team listens carefully to clients to deliver exactly what they need.

No matter what the division, customer service is always a top priority. “You need to look after clients and make sure that their needs are met. You need to make sure they feel that they are highly regarded.” Staying in touch with clients after a purchase has been made is key, and BOSS Engineering have field staff who visits clients on site to provide ongoing support. “We pride ourselves on not just selling a great product, but also looking after the clients after the sale. Farm machinery is a fairly big investment. You want to sell a great product and you want to support the clients through the purchase; clients want to be confident that they’ve got the support of the manufacturer.”

Maintaining a strong relationship with clients is win-win, of course. “Without your clients you don’t have a business,” Mr Hilton points out. “You want them to have a great experience so they will come back in the future.” In fact, most of BOSS Engineering’s sales have been due to word of mouth. “You can’t get any better marketing than that.” Word of mouth is particularly important to the agricultural division. “A lot of our clients in broadacre farming take notice of what their neighbours are doing,” and seeing a BOSS Engineering product positively impacting a neighbour’s farm is the most powerful form of advertising. “Proof is in the pudding. People can literally see what the product has done for their neighbour.”

BOSS Engineering relies on a dedicated team to deliver superior customer service and top notch products. “The quality of your workforce is imperative,” Mr Hilton insists. Without good staff, even the most advanced equipment and facilities will fail to produce a quality product, he adds. “You have to have staff there who can actually provide the quality workmanship.”

In return, BOSS Engineering values its staff and works hard to keep them happy. “The staff are your biggest asset, and your need to look after them,” says Mr Hilton. The company offers employees a lot of flexibility and hosts regular events, such as barbecues, “as a gesture to thank our staff for the great work that they do.”

BOSS Engineering’s commitment to clients and staff is paying off; the Inverell based company is considered one of Regional Australia’s most successful manufacturing stories. The business is growing at a rapid pace and, in response, the company has just expanded its facilities. The spare parts division recently outgrew its warehouse, so two additional buildings have been added to support its expansion.

The spare parts division is a key part of the company’s long-term growth plan, so preparing for its ongoing expansion is imperative. “Our spares division is getting bigger and bigger,” Mr Hilton reports. “There is great growth in that area.” The new buildings will ensure that the company will have the parts clients need – as soon as they need them. “It’s going to help us grow that side of the business and help us serve the clients better.” And, of course, the new facilities are top notch. “We’ve got a great workshop; we’ve got great equipment. We are state of the art.”

BOSS Engineering’s new air seeder is also driving the company forward – and this leading edge product is only the beginning. “There will be more products that will be derived through consultation with the clients,” Mr Hilton insists. “You can’t sit on your hands. You’ve got to continue to adapt and evolve and move forward [in order to] fulfil the clients’ needs.” Fortunately, the team is well prepared. “The future looks very bright and exciting for BOSS Engineering.”

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?

September 20, 2018, 5:31 AM AEST