Think local, act global

In September, Adelaide-based HMPS was named winner at the Impact Awards 2017, an event that recognises companies that assist with the globalisation of the South Australian economy.

The judges said the company has the capability to have a significant impact on global markets and generate high value opportunities for South Australia’s economy. They were impressed by the year-on-year growth, advancement and ambition of HMPS. They said that, as a business, it is an exceptionally well run and managed, with a leadership team who understand the market and how to add value to customers. 

The win makes this a stellar year for the company, which also took home the prize for Innovative Technology of the Year (for its HMPS5000 Wraparound Case Packer) at our own Food & Beverage Industry Awards in July. 

As Mark Emmett, executive chairman of HMPS told Food & Beverage News, the company was established back in 1980. 

“Our company started when we developed the first bag-in-box machine for the local wine industry. From there, we have grown into various other markets and types of machines such as case packers, palletisers, wraparound case packers and sleevers, carton erectors and specialised robotic packaging machinery,” he said. 

“Today, we are also part of the Aerosol Association and have packed many specialised aerosol products as well. We pack anything from dry goods and ready-made meals, to baby wipes and coffee pods. You name it, we pack it.”

Looking to the world 

There have also been other changes for the company since 1980. It now exports to South Africa, Europe and Asia; and has agents in New Zealand and the US.

Emmett explained that the company has had installations in Thailand and one of its projects engineers recently returned from an installation in the Philippines. “Pretty much we export to anywhere and we offer the customers in those areas installation, commission and service,” he said.

“We also have preferred value partner agreements with various global component suppliers and this gives us the assurance that our customers anywhere in the world will have access to spare parts and technical expertise from these providers. Mostly we like dealing with our customer directly. 

“Our service is mostly bespoke machinery so therefore we like to be involved in coming up with the solution which will ultimately give the customer the best bang for buck and future expansion options for their business. Our engineering team is also very heavily involved in the process. I suppose you could say we like solving problems.”

For Emmett, this successful global integration goes to show that businesses do not need to be based around their locality.

“I think HMPS is testament to the fact that you don’t have to live and work where you sell. You can in fact work anywhere in the world,” he said.

According to Emmett, Australia’s small population can sometimes be an advantage. 

“Australia is perhaps one of the most interesting examples of adapting and surviving. We build machines which will pack in various configurations – sometimes up to as many as 20 variations. And this is because we know one machine has to do all of it. Australian manufacturing doesn’t have the luxury of specialisation,” he said.

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He said that this is very attractive to economies [such as many in Asia] where automation is on the rise but companies don’t have the capital to buy many different machines. Being able to buy one machine that packs various configurations is an advantage for organisations that are just starting to introduce automation technologies.

Bringing success back home

When he received the Impact Award on behalf of HMPS back in September, Emmett praised his own team and said that his vision for the company was always to provide jobs and a future for the young people of South Australia. Today, the company employs 55 people from its head office and main production facility in Adelaide.

He also pointed out that HMPS provides customised packaging solutions that are based on highly advanced robotic systems for manufacturing companies who must compete globally. 

“The technology also recognises that to be truly compete against lower cost manufacturers, product quality and production line efficiency must also feature strongly. Our mission is to help manufacturing companies in high-cost economies remain competitive and indeed thrive against low-cost economies,” he said.

Pointing to an economy that is still coming to terms with – but yet to feel the full effect of – the death of the car industry, Emmett said South Australia needs to use its ingenuity and tenacious spirit to ensure its manufacturing industry survives.

“We have space. We have lower costs – when it comes to labour, property, and so on – than other states and we need to use this to our advantage. It can make us more competitive and we must leverage off this,” he said. 

“South Australia is home to some of the top universities. We need to harness the talent that is coming into the market. We need to ensure the survival and future of our economy for our children. As a father to two teenage children, I feel very passionate about doing my bit to make South Australia a manufacturing hub.”

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