Family enterprise celebrates opening of new HQ

Kinder & Co has opened a new 3500m2 purpose-built facility in Braeside, in Melbourne’s southeast. On Tuesday, 7 October, CEO Neil Kinder and his staff were joined by a host of local and state politicians – including the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Russell Northe – and around 30 customers to announce that the new headquarters was now officially open for business.

The new building includes a design and materials testing workshop, a training room and a distribution centre that employs 21 staff. According to Kinder, the new facility will enable the business to improve its research and development activities, training activities, logistics and customer service and capitalise on the growth of Australia’s resources industry as it enters its maintenance phase. The new headquarters will also provide training facilities for the Institute of Quarrying Australia’s Professional Development Program.

Neil Kinder was clearly overwhelmed by the massive show of support from customers, saying that it was amazing how much the business – which he and his wife (and marketing manager) Christine first started in a twin-bedroom house in Prahran in 1985 – had grown in nearly 30 years. {{image2-A:R-w:300}}

“It’s been a really, really long journey and we’ve travelled a lot of miles,” Neil Kinder told the gathering. “We’ve opened this operation so that we can continually grow the business. We’ve outgrown every place that we’ve been in over 30 years and we’ve continued to keep pace with growth. I believe this facility is one of the best that we’ve seen for a long, long time.”

Inspiration to small business
Northe described Kinder’s growth as “a wonderful story” and congratulated Neil Kinder and his staff for their hard work and endeavours.

“Kinder & Co is an engineering company that designs and supplies products and solutions for conveyor and bulk materials handling equipment,” Northe said. “It’s this equipment that moves things along to some of our most important industry sectors.

“This family-owned enterprise provides large conveyor and bulk handling equipment that transports products such as iron ore, quarried products, grain, sugar, salt and coal at more than 1500 industry sites across Australia. In addition, 10 per cent of the business’s turnover is generated by exporting its equipment to international clients.”

Northe said that Kinder was well positioned to further make its mark in Victoria’s mining and equipment technology sector – which contributes around $17 billion to the state’s GDP annually and comprises 22,000 employees – and to participate in Victorian trade missions into the Asian market which is “craving Australian products and services”. {{image3-A:L-w:300}}

He added that the business was a great inspiration to other Victorian small and medium-sized businesses. “Kinder & Co is helping to build the productivity, competitiveness and capacity of other businesses and is creating jobs in Victoria as well as for its local and interstate manufacturing subcontractors,” he said.

“It demonstrates the enterprise of Victorian small to medium-sized enterprises, with a strong focus on improving its productivity, delivering its skills base and marketing itself to national and international clients.”

Neil Kinder told Quarry that in addition to enjoying major growth in both Western Australia and Queensland in particular, Kinder was expected to make in-roads into the New Zealand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea markets in the years ahead. He added that the new facility now made it possible to train people from all around the world, as well as to improve the turnaround of the business’s distribution centre.

“We were starting to get crowded out in our old facility,” Neil Kinder explained. “If we had a big project come in, to do all the quality assurance, we would have to be double handling. We don’t have to double handle here. We have a huge freestanding area that allows for quick access in and out and it’s 100 per cent compliant in terms of occupational health and safety.

“Having long-standing relationships with the whole extractive industry throughout Australia, we feel confident that our new warehouse will further improve our service to the industry. It’s a really modern facility that people will enjoy coming to work in and it will enable us to retain quality staff and keep people happy in their employment.”

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