CHRISTCHURCH COMPANY SECURES MAJOR INTERNATIONAL CONTRACT
A face-to-face meeting in the USA proved to be the turning point for a Christchurch company, which has just secured a major US contract to supply parts for a drilling product designed in Timaru.
Fabrum Solutions manufactures cryostats and associated composite products for the high temperature superconductor industry as well as offering waterjet cutting and profiling. Over the last year Fabrum has been developing carbon and glass fibre composite rotors for a new drilling product for underground directional drilling, which was being designed by Flexidrill in Timaru. The licence to manufacture the full drilling unit has now been secured by Vermeer, a large US Agricultural machinery manufacturer based in Iowa, USA.
Vermeer has recently awarded Fabrum Solutions a three month, $350,000 contract to supply all titanium and composite parts for the first ten drilling machines.
It’s a great achievement for Fabrum Solutions owners Chris Boyle and Hugh Reynolds, who established Fabrum Solutions in 2004.
“When we turned up on their doorstep in September last year we discovered we weren’t even being considered for the job. Being so far from the USA Vermeer did not think New Zealand could offer them they service they were after. Add to that the Christchurch earthquakes and they were fairly adamant that Christchurch was not a place where manufacturing could be relied upon. We were adamant that we had to change their mind,” says Chris Boyle.
That meeting, which Chris Boyle describes as a turning point, was made possible by a $24,900 grant from the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust given to Fabrum Solutions to help them reconnect with their markets in the US and UK.
On their return to Christchurch Chris and Hugh set about working with Flexidrill and Vermeer to re-design the product in order to reduce production costs. They were rewarded for this work by being offered the first stage of the production contract.
To fulfil the contract, which needs to be completed by March 2012, Fabrum Solutions is expanding its production facility and recruiting two more staff. They are confident that following the successful completion this first stage of the contract that their agreement will be extended for a full year.
“This is a real example of New Zealand companies leading innovation in the design of new global products and, in our case, the ability to competitively supply high technology components internationally.
“It also speaks volumes of the need to have face to face meetings with prospective clients, no matter where in the world they are!” says Chris.
Recover Canterbury business recovery coordinator Dion Kerr says although Fabrum Solutions is a small company, they have the skill, drive and tenacity to punch well above their weight.
“One of the biggest challenges Fabrum Solutions faced following the earthquakes is disconnection with their largely overseas markets. Chris, Hugh and the team have worked tirelessly to re-establish relationships and reassure clients that Christchurch is still very much open for business. With a little help from the Canterbury Business Recovery Trust and Recover Canterbury their message has been heard loud and clear, and now Fabrum Solutions, and the wider Canterbury community, is reaping the rewards,” says Dion Kerr.