I would like to start episode two of the Australian Power Transmission Podcast by thanking everyone for their communication and ideas. I will take nearly all of them on board as the show grows and plan to make this podcast a better product. To be honest, I was blown away with where some of the feedback was coming from, Germany, the UK, the US and Australia, so thank you to everyone who has been in contact.
If you would like to contact the show, you can send me an email at email@example.com, a tweet at ozptpodcast or visit the show’s anorexic-looking website at australianptpodcast.blogspot.com. Also, we’re on iTunes if you search Australian Power Transmission.
The New South Wales government has established a Taskforce to develop an action plan for the next ten years to help combat its shrinking manufacturing base.
The Manufacturing Industry Action Plan will take 12 months to get ready and will focus on specific sectors that the New South Wales government thinks it can gain an advantage in, namely food, metals, machinery, biomedical, defence and renewables.
Not content with having a state lead the way, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will chair a taskforce of her own. Tasked with getting to the bottom of the employment woes in manufacturing on a national basis, this task force will feature 23 individuals, representing manufacturers, unions and the government.
Well, Australian states have been at each other’s throats for decades in trying to secure major manufacturing contracts. Whenever defence contracts come up, governments bend over backwards with assistance packages to help get jobs in their jurisdictions. 10 years ago Victoria wouldn’t stump up with some cash to keep Arnotts biscuits in Melbourne so Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide facilities were expanded and Melbourne was closed. This scenario plays out all the time, so it will be interesting to see how both the New South Wales Action Plan and the federal version will look at generating new business rather than shifting existing business between states.
BHP Billiton has received approval from the Australian Federal Government to expand its Olympic Dam mining operations. Copper, uranium, gold and silver are extracted from Olympic Dam in South Australia, and the expansion will make it the world’s largest open cut mine.
It is projected that the expansion will deliver $8B of benefit to the South Australian economy, whilst mining engineering and infrastructure spending also stands to benefit the mechanical power transmission world.
Regardless of the philosophical objections to a mine that looks set to exploit around one quarter of the world’s known uranium reserves, there is little doubting the scale of the benefit from the expansion. The uranium bubble of 2007 is long over, where prices peaked at $300 per kilogram. The current price of around $100 per kilogram will still reap major rewards, although the bulk of the revenue will come from copper and gold.
Australian smallgoods manufacturer Primo continues its capital investment program in Queensland, spending $131M in consolidating its existing operations and expanding Wacol’s production facilities. This flies in the face of some recent reversals in the food sector and is welcome news for Queensland.
United Dairy Power has bought the Murray Bridge and Jervois cheese-manufacturing assets of Lion and is looking to add milk production to the South Australian production facilities for the local market.
Japanese-owned Lion is consolidating its dairy production with a renewed focus on Tasmania, in light of posting financial reverses resulting from the loss-leading milk war being fought by supermarket oligarchs Coles and Woolworths.
The news of the purchase by Victorian-based UDP is a relief for the more than 100 staff at the two plants, who only a few months ago had an uncertain future.
Electrical measurement company Fluke is conducting a series of workshops in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth starting on November 10.
The main focus of the workshops will be looking to understand the diagnostic fault process of three phase electric motors.
The practical demonstration and troubleshooting sessions are aimed at maintenance staff and will set each attendee back $199.00. Find the link in the show notes to episode two.
Well, from once being the tome of advertising to “I think we have a Yellow Pages but I couldn’t tell you where it is”, Sensis-owned Yellow Pages has been an Australian staple for over 80 years. As business directories go, the Yellow Pages is pretty much synonymous.
As you can guess, people still let their fingers do the walking to hunt down what they are looking for, but are moving away from the book to the computer – as well as tablets and mobile phones. The real question now becomes, does Yellow Pages still offer value for Business to Business customers?
The power transmission, electric motor and bearings categories have long been numerous pages each in past editions of the Yellow Pages, but each of these now has under one page of listings. The size of the individual advertisements has also decreased. This must surely dent the revenue stream of what once was a very sizeable cash cow.
Sensis hasn’t had its head in the sand during this digital evolutionary period. It has increased its value to advertisers by belatedly linking up with Google and going mainstream with their own website and search engine. The Google linkup is with adwords and other Google products such as Google Earth and Streetview. Paid advertisers get premium consideration on Google searches as well, above standard Search Engine Optimisation techniques.
So, what is the definition of value in a B2B context? A medium sized, three-colour advertisement in the Yellow Pages will set you back just over $10,000 per annum for a major market like Sydney or Melbourne. For your money you also get a good presence online.
There’s no real way of measuring the effectiveness of the Yellow Pages in hardcopy form, short of asking every new customer that calls how he or she found you. As with all things that require an outlay, the money has to be made on the other side to cover it, so in effect we’re looking at 30 to 40 grand in sales to cover a 10 grand spend.
The best known off-line alternatives are trade magazines, trade shows and sponsorships, as well as handling your own Search Engine Optimisation on-line. Each of these cost varying amounts, but none of them are good enough to carry the full weight of a B2B marketing effort on its own.
In the power transmission world, any marketing effort is worthless unless it is backed up with a skilled and motivated outside sales and supply team. The technical nature of the problems and products in power transmission require more than what a purchasing officer or engineer can simply type into a search engine. Of course, relationships are the key to understanding the exact details of what is required, but this is a conversation for another day.
In answering the question I posed about the Yellow Pages being good value in a B2B environment, I think that the days of the $40,000 annual spend are long gone, but some presence is still a must. It still presents a way to come up pretty high on Google – always on the first page for your product group – which is probably better value than adwords alone.
The Yellow Pages is always going to be around to find mechanics, floor sanders, panel shops and adult services. It has not been a force for B2B customers for a few years and will need to keep adapting its product as the digital environment evolves.
It’s time for a quick refresher for electric enclosure ingress protection – known in many countries as IP ratings.
IP ratings are used to identify how protected electric motors are to the elements, both solids and liquids, and are represented by two numbers. For example, IP54, which has a protection to level 5 solids and level 4 liquids.
The solids protection levels are from 0 to 6. 0 is no protection to solids, 1 is to over 50mm, 2 is to over 12.5mm, level 3 is to over 2.5mm, 4 is to over 1mm, 5 is called dust protection and level 6 is called dust tight. This is not to be confused with DIP or dust ignition proof, which is used in grain handling.
The liquids protection levels are from 0 to 8. 0 means don’t get it wet, 1 is protection against vertical dripping water, 2 is for vertical with a 15 degree tilt, 3 is against spraying water, 4 is against splashing water, 5 is for water jets, 6 is protection against super water jets, 7 and 8 are for immersion in under 1m and over 1m of water.
The US has its own system of ratings which was originally prepared by NEMA or the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The NEMA ratings are actually more complex than the IEC’s IP ratings and cover additional things such as corrosion protection, giving ratings that are linked to specific environmental applications.
Most electric motors in Australia these days are TEFC or totally enclosed fan cooled and have an IP rating of IP54 as standard. WEG has standardised its W22 electric motor range as IP66 and many manufacturers are heading in this direction with their standard offerings.
Following on from episode one where I touched on Australia’s looming carbon tax, I thought I’d do a bit of further research on some of the ways businesses can reduce carbon emissions – especially in a manufacturing sense. I was happy to see that Melbourne was hosting Carbon Expo 2011 in early November and was about to register to attend, before finding out that entry to the trade expo portion of the event on its own would set me back $300.00. If I wanted to see a conference during the day, that would be $750.00.
I suppose the Carbon Market Institute and the Investor Group on Climate Change would like to keep the riff-raff out of their Expo and make sure only genuine visitors come through the doors. I wonder if they’ll have bouncers as well.
I have an interest in finding out ways companies are looking to innovate, especially when it comes to global warming, but I think I’ll be doing my carbon emissions reduction research online.
Links mentioned in episode two: