Interview with 2014 Premier's NSW Export Awards Category Winner WEARX
Photo to the right is, from left to right: Jack Murland, Business Development Manager; Jerry Hoslin, International Development Manager; and Gary Newman, WEARX CEO.
In October 2014 Austmine member WEARX were the well-deserving winners of the 2014 NSW Premier's Export Award for ‘Minerals, Energy and Related Services’. We caught up with WEARX to find out more about their win, how they edged out the competition and why other METS companies should be looking to their export strategies in these challenging times.
First of all, can you tell us a little about WEARX?
WEARX is a mining services company with a difference. We are a ‘solutions’ based company with our business operating across three fundamental areas namely; after-market solutions, OEM and site services. We are a globally operating organisation specialising in cost-effective, innovative and quality whole-of-mine wear solutions.
WEARX differentiates its product and service offering through a targeted approach to wear management, focusing on safety, maintainability and availability. WEARX examine mining operations around the globe, and create innovative solutions that improve wear systems performance that save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Why is it so important for Australian METS companies to be looking at export opportunities right now?
METS companies should be looking into export opportunities right now for two main reasons:
First, in terms of cost recovery, the current market climate is poor. This can be strengthened by diversification of METS companies’ revenue streams through accessing global markets.
Second, the reduction in the Australian dollar against foreign currency means that the Australian market is more attractive to offshore investment.
What are some of the challenges with exporting mining solutions? Are there any particularly tough regions to deal with?
Cultural differences and language barriers pose challenges for both generating export opportunities and for administrative staff managing the export process. While this is an ongoing challenge the WEARX team have reduced implications through the services of translators/facilitators with short-term assistance currently being outsourced.
A lack of developed information technology infrastructure and access to reliable logistics in overseas target areas provide challenges for communication and ensuring materials are delivered to clients on time.
The risk of intellectual property theft of patented and registered designs can also cause challenges when communicating with potential clients and taking on business opportunities
These challenges are present when dealing with Africa and South America. In particular, Indonesia is a tough region to engage with as a result of civil unrest posing safety risks to international development staff.
What do you think made you stand out in your category of "Minerals, Energy and Related Services"? What gave you the edge?
Targeting remote and emerging mining operations and investing in human resources were key to providing WEARX with a competitive edge in the category of Minerals, Energy and Related Services.
WEARX’s strategy for increasing export sales relied on the ability to provide holistic services that deliver efficiency gains to remote and emerging mining operations. While other METS companies may avoid these regions due to challenges with infrastructure and logistics, WEARX sees this as a mutually beneficial export opportunity.
Opening close-to-market offices showed a commitment to maintaining a permanent presence in key export regions. This allowed the WEARX team to put the right people in targeted regions for local relationship building to generate export opportunities.
Where to next? Does WEARX have any plans to expand the exporting strategy into any new regions?
WEARX’s International Development Manager Mr Jerry Hoslin explained plans for expanding the export strategy in 2014/2015.
‘In 2014/2015 we are working on strengthening our presence and business relationships in South America, along with concluding feasibility studies on duplicating the Lima business model for Africa, whilst growing existing export arrangements in the Asia/Pacific region’, Mr Hoslin said.