Ferrocut Australia, regarded as Southern Steel Group’s jewel in the crown, was officially opened by South Australian MP Peter Malinauskas on Friday, 29th July 2022 in front of 200 guests.
The inauguration of Ferrocut’s new plate processing facility was attended by all Ferrocut employees, the Smaller family – Peter, Elaine and daughters Carin and Joanne Smaller, SSG’s executive team including Glen Pedersen, General Manager – Finance, and Jon Herron, CFO and members of parliament – The Honourable Peter Malinauskas MP, Premier of SA; Tony Zappia, Federal Member for Makin and Michael Brown, State Member of Florey.
Ferrocut has a long history. Established in 1997 by Geoff Ellens, from humble beginnings it grew into the largest plate processing business in South Australia. In 2009, Ferrocut was moved to a magnificent new, tailor-made facility in Techport, Osborne before being purchased by Southern Steel Group in 2010.
Three years ago, when the Federal Government took over the Techport site, Executive Chairman Peter Smaller made the decision to relocate the business to Maxwell Road, Pooraka. During the proceedings, Shawn Rowle, General Manager of Ferrocut, thanked the Smaller family for having the “confidence in Ferrocut to build this magnificent facility and proving your commitment to the South Australian market”.
The new site, built as part of a $9 million capital investment, was designed and constructed by Ahrens Engineering and features more than 7800m2 of expansive warehouse space and includes the original cranes from the Techport site, loading awnings and a two-storey 600m2 administration building complete with offices, kitchen, bathrooms and lift access between the two floors. Ahrens in-house capabilities also included the supply of 360 tonnes of steel fabrication. External hardstand and associated car parking completed the facility.
The Ferrocut team moved into their new premises back in January 2020. So while it’s been over two and a half years, the Grand Opening was only just held as COVID-19 got in the way. “It’s been a long process – it’s been a little bit hard with COVID but we are here and we’ve done it” Peter Smaller said as he addressed the crowd. “Shawn Rowle and his team made the move to the new facilities seamlessly. The business didn’t miss a beat. Quite an extraordinary achievement”.
During his opening speech, Mr Smaller also thanked David Rodmell, SSG Operations Manager, who project managed the construction on an extremely difficult site, left in a terrible condition by the previous owner. “David was able to very cleverly negotiate the transfer of all of the cranes in the old building to here. A requirement critical to the plants material handling and with a saving of some $2M.”
Peter Smaller then called upon Mr Peter Malinauskas to say a few words and perform the opening ceremony, “We are grateful to the Premier for officially opening our new facility today.”
During his opening speech Premier Malinauskas noted the presence of Peter, Elaine, Carin and Joanne Smaller and said “he was always heartened when he sees family involvement in business as it is something that rings true in the South Australian economy.”
He further stated that “the challenge that we have as a state and a nation is that, in a world that is becoming globally competitive, our challenge is to make sure that we continue to innovate and become increasingly skilled, increasingly innovative, increasingly productive. We need to have innovative leaders in business, people who are willing to invest their own capital, take a bit of a punt. I think we see that on hand here at Ferrocut, we see people with strong leadership take a bit of a risk, we see a highly competent, well trained, skilled workforce.”
After the opening event speeches, Peter Smaller and Peter Malinauskas unveiled the plaque and declared the Ferrocut Pooraka facility officially open. The Premier, dignitaries and guests were then led through the facility for a factory tour, showcasing the advanced processing machinery and capabilities, the processed steel as well as the skill and craftsmanship of the Ferrocut team.
At the conclusion of the event Mr Smaller noted “I hope that our significant investments in this facility will enable Ferrocut to continue on its journey. The journey of offering great service and great availability, to the South Australian steel community, of never taking an order for granted, no matter how small. Of always being humble, appreciative and customer focused.”