The Covid-19 crisis has pointed a microscope on the fragility of Australia’s domestic manufacturing capability. Wilson & Gilkes, proudly an Australian engineering and manufacturing company, was recently given a chance to demonstrate some of the advantages of having that homegrown capability, when a large retailer sought to fit out its hundreds of outlets nationwide with point of sale safety screens.

The call came through from the Mills Group which supplies and manufactures a range of shopfitting and signage essentials, with clients all across the retail sector.

The screen required a steel bracket the Mills Group needed to outsource — hence the call to Wilson & Gilkes.

“Due to the need for retailers to protect their staff and customers from the risks of Covid-19 as quickly as possible, this project required delivery in incredibly tight timeframes,” explains a Mills Group representative. “So we needed Wilson & Gilkes to be responsive.”

A Wilson & Gilkes bracket being fitted to the safety screen in the Mills Group shop.

Which it most certainly was. Wilson & Gilkes worked with the Mills Group to quickly turn around bracket prototypes, sometimes within hours.

“Wilson & Gilkes supported us in that development process,” reports the Mills Group. “And the project was able to get to the very critical roll out phase extremely quickly as a result.”

Within 10 days, Wilson & Gilkes fulfilled the order for thousands of brackets, an essential component of the safety screen package freighted around the country and installed on site by the retailer.

Wilson & Gilkes CEO James Hunt (right) inspects one of the thousands of brackets delivered to the Mills Group.

“The Mills Group’s execution of the retailer’s requirement was frankly, spectacular, given the design, installation and logistics challenges,” noted Wilson & Gilkes CEO, James Hunt. “And I’m equally proud of what our company was able to achieve. Few could have met the Mills Group time frame, but thanks to our local manufacturing capability and expertise, our team could respond.

“The Covid19 crisis has illustrated how exposed our country’s supply chain is to disruption. We understand that the budget of many projects necessitate an offshore supply solution. That said, the crisis highlights the need for business and government to consider, in a post Covid-19 economy, the benefits of a dual Australian and China supply strategy for appropriate goods.”

Mills Group: www.millsgroup.com.au or (02) 9997 1000  

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