From humble beginnings in a shed in Western Sydney, to having multiple branches, warehouses and testing facilities across Australia and a staff of nearly 600, Alspec is a true Australian success story which has adapted over the years and is now stronger than ever. National Business Development and Special Projects Manager Richard Harrison has seen the aluminium system supplier diversify their offering in order to stay at the top of their game.
“We saw a lot of offshore pressure within the local market. A lot of builders in high rise projects particularly were going direct to China for products, and we just couldn't compete,” says Richard. “So we decided we needed to be a one stop shop and offer the complete package. Not just aluminium extrusion, but the hardware to go with it. Then we invested heavily in an R&D testing facility here in Queensland, and we have 10 to 12 fully trained specification managers around the country who are dealing directly with architects and get Alspec systems specified into the market.”
The strategy paid dividends - Alspec now offers a diversified range of products from security doors to shower screens, and continues to prioritise product innovation. “We don't want to just stay with the status quo of what's happening today. We want to create a future where our products are in every space. And to that end we've created architectural systems and high end residential window and commercial systems, sliding doors, stackers and bifold doors for dining rooms, front and back doors, security systems with three point locking systems, front and back, wardrobes and shower screens. We design something and then we reevaluate it in six months time, or 12 months time. We just don't stand still.”
Alspec is also investing in technology and bringing innovative new services to its customers. “We introduced an intelligent quoting system called Alspec AIQ which is an estimation software solution that allows customers to punch in numbers, and actually visualise what they want to build,” explains Richard. “It connects to our warehouse, it sends out quotes to customers, it sends purchase orders to us - it’s an incredibly valuable tool for our customers.”
But despite this frenetic pace of innovation and development, Alspec continues to find time to prioritise sustainability, refining its processes and reducing its environmental impact. “We’re really looking at waste differently,” says Richard. “We separate all our waste - from plastics, to extrusion, to timber, to any rubbers - and dispose of it all appropriately. We’ve installed movement-activated LEDs across our facilities to ensure we’re minimising energy wastage, and we work closely with our vendors and suppliers - as well as our own teams - to ensure our packaging methods are the most economical they can be.”
The company is clearly driven by passion and remains firmly future focused, opting for a strategy of constant renewal rather than trying to shape the market to its will. “The markets are constantly changing,” says Richard. “And it's a massive challenge for us to keep delivering in line with those changing expectations. We don't want to just stay with the status quo of what's happening today. We’re all one big family, and that’s the greatest thing about us, is that we believe in what we do.”
This article is a short summary of the Talking Architecture & Design Podcast episode 68. Listen to the full Podcast Episode with Richard Harrison here.