It has been a frenetic but exciting month.
Marginal improvements in the market
Australian Manufacturing PMI Expands in February
The Judo Bank Australia Manufacturing PMI ticked up to 50.5 in February 2023, from 50 in the previous month. The marginal improvement was due to steady factory output amid a slow fall in new orders as well as a strong hiring activity. Employment levels rose at the fastest rate since last September. Input prices fell to the lowest since December 2020 amid slower increases in raw material, energy, and labour costs. Finally, the level of business confidence eased with some remaining concerned over the interest rate and economic outlooks.
New Zealand PMI
The BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index in New Zealand increased to 52 in February of 2023 from an upwardly revised 51.2 in the prior month, marking the second straight month of growth in manufacturing activity since September 2022. New orders (52.0) returned to expansion after five consecutive months of contraction, while finished stocks (55.8) and employment (54.0) both continued to expand. Meanwhile, deliveries (51.8) expanded at the same level as the previous month. In contrast, production (49.4) fell back into contraction to score its lowest level since June 2022.
Overseas travel – new and established business partners
Earlier in the month, Richard and I visited several countries over a 10 day period, including Switzerland, Spain, Austria, and Germany. Our purpose was to make stops at the HQ/factories of our affiliates and partners, meeting with their Executives and with the aim of better understanding their plans, challenges, and vision for the next 1-3 years. Generally sharing our transformation, continuous improvement programs, and investment plans also, whilst ensuring that the needs and expectations of our Australian/NZ clients remain front of mind in their future plans.
The partners we visited included Lantek, TECOI, Lagun, GEMINIS, STUDER, NETSTAL, Krauss Maffei and TRUMPF. During our visit to NETSTAL we were pleased to officially announce our partnership to exclusively distribute and support NETSTAL technology across Australia and NZ. NETSTAL are a renowned Swiss company specializing in high-performance injection molding machines and systems solutions. As previously mentioned in the CEO Update, we have expanded our portfolio into the injection molding market and we are excited to have created this new division, with its own team and focus, and ensuring that our other business divisions (Sheet Metal, CNC, Advanced Manufacturing, Waterjet, Automated Storage) continue strongly without disruption.
TECOI as a leader in large format plate processing (Plasma, Oxy, Laser) offers some very exciting capabilities, combining multiple functions beyond cutting, which we feel could be a game changer for many Australian steel Service centres, Ship builders, Mining, Rail, and Defence.
Additionally, the new solution developments taking place at TRUMPF, and investments being made in a range of applications (Tube Processing, Laser welding, Smart Factory Automation, e-mobility) are very exciting and reassure us of the benefits from TRUMPF’s ongoing commitment to a very high investment in R&D.
Consequently, our focus on Smart Factory Automation will continue strongly and you will soon see a significant ramp up in our activities relating to e-mobility and renewable energy manufacturing, including battery manufacturing. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
Welcoming new team members
This month, we are pleased to welcome Joe Tippel as a Technical Sales and Service Engineer. Joe has 20 years’ experience in our industry and will be based in Adelaide. He is very highly regarded for his knowledge of Sheet Metal Power tools, JFY systems, and Machinery in general. We also welcome Amalnath S to our Headland family. He has joined us as an exceptional talent in Sheet Metal applications, passionate about Smart Factory Solutions, and is working out of the Burwood, Melbourne office. Amalnath comes to us from TRUMPF and has relocated to Australia with his wife Ankita and daughters Jedidah and Ruela.
So as we wrap up Q3, daylight savings and head towards the Easter break, I wish all of you a safe and restful break, and a great financial quarter ahead.