Based in Dandenong South, Melbourne, Silvan Australia has been a pioneer in the development and manufacture of agricultural machinery since its establishment in 1962. It has Silvan brand leading in horticulture sprayers and related machinery, Selecta brand rural-focused merchandise and Sherlock brand in wheelbarrows/carts/hand tools. Further, it distributes Nobili mulchers, Breviglieri tillage and Sitrex hay-rakes. The engineering manufacturing plant at Wantirna and assembly operations in South Dandenong is supported by a team of five in Research & Development who design all of its spraying equipment. The business is in a dynamic stage of improvements occurring in the past three years with efforts of the Managing Director, second generation of his family along with his team.
The company’s involvement with the Entrepreneurs’ Programme began with a series of meetings between AMTIL business adviser Vineet Ahuja, and Silvan’s CEO Michael J Tricarico, its CFO David Young, and General Manager Frank Scotta. Through detailed discussions, data collection and site visits, Vineet developed a further understanding of Silvan.
“Vineet certainly understands companies like us,” says David. “I assume he’s had a lot of exposure to privately owned and operated businesses. He could see a lot of things we were doing right, and where we could improve.”
A Business Evaluation was submitted in August 2015, containing the Winning Measures benchmarking analysis for Silvan. David believes Vineet’s perspective as an outsider provided valuable insight into the company.
“The business has evolved from a full manufacturer to doing assembly, light manufacture, and sourcing products from overseas, while maintaining a strong R&D focus,” says David. “Any company that’s evolved from manufacture to import distribution is going to require different skill-sets, and a changing mindset. There were a couple of things in the supply-chain and logistical side of things that stood out, where a little bit of improvement could have a significant outcome.”
The Silvan team has set about implementing the Business Evaluation action plans suggested. Key recommendations included the adoption of new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, as well as measures to streamline assembly processes for the Sherlock wheelbarrow it exclusively supplies to Bunnings Warehouse. The company has taken on Innovation Connections assistance, a Business Growth Grant to support its ERP implementation.
Silvan’s engagement in the Entrepreneurs’ Programme continues with a Growth Services Plan. However, David is confident of the benefits it will bring.
“If anything, this has forced us to look at some obvious areas for improvement,” he says. “And maybe they’re not obvious to people here because you can’t see the forest for the trees. Sometimes you need that external set of eyes, and Vineet certainly showed patience and flexibility in helping us through this process.”
To find out what the Entrepreneurs’ Programme can do for you, call 13 28 46 or visit www.business.gov.au/EP, or contact Greg Chalker 03 9800 3666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.silvan.com.au