Features, Supplier News

Superior Industries makes mark down under

Johnnie Garrison is vice president of sales at Superior Industries. He reviews the differences between the international market and the Australian market as well as the year that was for Superior Industries. 

How was 2023 for Superior Industries?

At Superior, we’re proud to share that 2023 will be a record-breaking year for our company! A critical factor in this success is the substantial growth in market share for some of our newer processing products like crushing and screening equipment.

Furthermore, our core conveyor products have surpassed all previous records. This success can be attributed not only to the prevailing market demand but also to our dealer network’s unwavering commitment and expansion efforts.

Their dedication has played a crucial role in positioning Superior for outstanding achievements. We are optimistic about sustaining this momentum.

As an international company, what are the main issues facing manufacturers like yourselves over the next two years?

While we have observed improved labour availability over the last several months, particularly as other manufacturing segments have slowed down, addressing labour challenges remains a priority. We’ve successfully onboarded hundreds of additional personnel, but we still need more!

Recognising the significance of long-term efficiency, we’ve made substantial investments in automation and robotic welding technologies. These initiatives contribute to overcoming immediate labour shortages and position our company for enhanced production capacities.

By combining workforce expansion with technological advancements, we proactively mitigate labour issues and fortify our operations for the future.

How do the American and Australian markets differ?

In the United States, our footprint encompasses many small to medium-sized quarries, creating a landscape where these operations are often closer to one another. Conversely, the Australian market hosts some of the largest producing quarries globally. Superior’s involvement in Australia is marked by catering to these substantial operations, highlighting a notable variance in the scale of customers we serve.

The Australian sector’s emphasis on large-scale quarrying aligns with Superior’s commitment to providing tailored solutions to meet the unique demands of sizable production facilities.

Did you have to adjust your equipment to suit the Australian conditions, or did it meet the task?

Our crushers and screens are inherently robust, but to specifically address the demands of the Australian market, we’ve implemented targeted enhancements. This includes incorporating special wear liners and ensuring extended durability in harsh environments. We’ll customise anything.

Moreover, our equipment for the Australian market features a slightly heavier specification overall. Portable plants and conveyors, for instance, boast reinforced chassis and heavier truss sections, and we’ve beefed up the thickness of our beams.

What major challenges did Superior and its customers face in the past year?

In our conversations with customers, we observe similar business trends. Like us, producers have expressed the challenges of meeting the current market’s robust demand and volume requirements.

The struggle to keep pace is often attributed to workforce limitations, lead time constraints, and equipment availability. With more people, we both would have been able to produce more.

For the most part, we’ve successfully overcome the challenges in our supply chain, and parts are readily available again. While most of our inventory is easily accessible, there are occasional instances of specialty items that may experience longer lead times.

In particular, we’ve observed extended lead times for electrical components. Despite these specific challenges, our commitment to timely delivery remains strong. We continuously optimise our supply chain processes to ensure that our customers promptly receive the parts they need.

One of the significant acquisitions for Superior in 2023 was CEMCO. How has the acquisition been going?

It’s early, but so far, the integration of CEMCO – now Superior Industries – has had some noteworthy successes.

We’ve swiftly realised operational efficiencies at the acquired plant. Strategic initiatives have been implemented to enhance processes, ensuring a streamlined and optimised production environment.

As part of our growth strategy, we are actively expanding our team at the acquired facility. Our ambitious goal is to double the workforce, create new opportunities, and strengthen our capabilities to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

Despite the recent nature of the acquisition, products are already rolling out the door. This rapid pace of production is a testament to the synergies achieved through the integration and the dedication and expertise of the expanded Superior Industries team.

What is the overall outlook for Superior Industries in 2024?

We are optimistic about 2024, given our robust backlog of orders already booked for the year. This includes stock orders from numerous dealers covering the entire year and significant commitments for construction and turnkey projects.

Barring any unforeseeable issues, we anticipate that 2024 will surpass the achievements of 2023. The strong demand reflected in our order backlog and the continuation of various projects underscores a positive outlook for the industry. •

For more information, visit superior-ind.com

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