Meet the manufacturer taking on unchartered territory

Seeing an opportunity in the market creates the foundations for a successful manufacturer yet it sometimes takes a leap of faith to help the business thrive. At Inoxpa, a small team in Victoria is taking its specialist food and dairy technology to a new stage.

For a manufacturer that already adds value to the food and dairy industries in Australia, the pumps and valves specialist Inoxpa has a business model it can count on.

The company’s general manager, John Fois, would be forgiven for resting on his laurels, especially when they have been delivering precision technology to help the market search ways to be more efficient for 20 years.

On the contrary, the company is ready to take on a different market in the manufacturing arena – a move to expand into the pharmaceutical sector in Australia where John Fois sees a wealth of opportunity.

“We deal a lot in the food, wine and dairy industries and they seem to be happy with our equipment and what we do,” John Fois said, speaking from Inoxpa’s Australian division in Mornington, Victoria.

“The pharmaceutical sector is an area we would like to look at more, however.

“It is going to take big investment and we are probably going to cop some losses but they are the sorts of risks any company needs to take if they want to move forward and try to achieve bigger things.”

Inoxpa already owns items that are certified by the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG), which works to ensure safe food processing.

Their stainless steel pumps are used Australia wide, and can be found on the factory floors at food processing companies such as Mondelez, Palmer Technologies and Fonterra.

Its RV-65 pump, designed and manufactured at Inoxpa’s global headquarters based near Girona, in northern Spain, is one of the industry’s more efficient technologies.

The design of the impeller on the machine’s centrifugal pump is designed in such a way that, while it is more expensive, it is more productive and, in turn, saves on energy.

To move into unchartered territory, John Fois is confident the company can eat into a different sector and help smaller pharmaceutical and cosmetics processors, which he believes have the capacity to invest in a motivated market.

“I would like to see pharmaceuticals become at least 30 per cent of our business here in Australia,” John Fois said of Inoxpa’s ambition.

“The equipment we are building helps companies to work more efficiently, which means you are saving on the cost of energy.

“What we are finding is that a lot of people are using our pumps and designs because they are more efficient and energy friendly.”

However, to get the right people on board, the business is seeking investment from its umbrella company, the Italian giant Interpump, to build a new showroom in Victoria to host prospective customers.      

“Businesses will usually commit to our products if they can see it in operation and know that it actually works, which is quite difficult to do here in Australia because the product is made in Europe,” John Fois said.

“Therefore, what we are trying to do ¬– and it is going to take some time – is to expand and bring some of the equipment over here into a new showroom and send invitations out to clients across Australia.

“The more people are aware of what you do, the more interested they are going to be in our products.”

And to do that, John Fois wants to market more than the company’s pumps and valves – and will introduce its skid technology, which has been adapted to create mixtures for anything from soaps and toothpastes to face creams and lipsticks.

The technology is also used to process milk and make cheeses – but it’s their ability to adapt that John Fois hopes will open new doors.

“We could have said no to all of that and continued quite happily by increasing our sales in the food sector,” he continued, “but I think we need to take the next step and this will hopefully take us to another level.”

And, like the company’s founder, the late Candi Granés, John Fois isn’t thinking small – he would like to see the company expand further still, with branches in Western Australia and Queensland in the pipeline, where he admits they have struggled to capitalise on a hungry market.

“We will also start to exhibit at events such as foodpro,” John Fois continued. “Our distributers are the ones who have been active mainly but the next step is for us to promote our own image and have a bigger presence.

“Mr Granés had a dream to expand the company all over the world because he wasn’t going to rely on his own economy.

“He was prepared to cut costs to keep people working. In Australia, we have three people on the team at the moment but, with new offices around the country, it will enable us to grow the workforce.

“There is a huge market out there and, by expanding into a new area of processing, we will soon reap the rewards for taking that leap.”

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