Benchtops boom

Posted on 20 September 2019

Expansion: Edstein Creative CEO Nigel Ferguson (left) shares the plan for expansion with Belinda Donellan, Britt Homewood, Allan Davis and Sean Murray. Photo: Scott Calvin.Edstein Creative is poised to put $3 million on the table to expand its manufacturing facility in Taree. It’s big money that will see it boost its staff numbers and production of stone benchtops to around 5000 per year.

The plansarewith MidCoast Council and chief executive officer Nigel Ferguson is hoping for a quick turnaround so that construction can begin in early 2017.

More than 19,000 vehicles drive past Edstein Creative on Manning River Drive in Taree during the week-day commute to and from Taree. The building facade gives little indication as to the size and range of products manufactured on site. The warehouse holdsgranite, marble, limestone, sandstone, caesarstone,silestone andquartz and all areused by Edstein Creative to create benchtops for kitchen and bathroom areas, paving and flooring and monuments.

Nigel says current orders for the business run out 18 months in advance and Edstein Creative is seeking to captialise on a window of opportunity to expand its manufacturing capacityas the buoyant NSW building market outstripssupply. Currently 3500 benchtops are shipped from the Manning Valley to locations throughout NSW –Edstein Creative hopes to boost it to 5000 benchtops if MidCoast Council gives its development application a green light.

“The construction project will provide the region with around 40 jobs over the 12 month set-up period and when it’s up and running about 20 to 30 positions will be created to support the expanded output,” Nigel said.

Job creation is a critical issue in the Manning Valley. In June this year Manning Valley Business Chamber revealed in its economic update report that unemployment in the Manning Valley was almost twice the national rate and increasing. At that time the national rate of 5.7 per cent contrastedto the10.2 per cent unemployment rate for the region -an increase of 1.7 per cent in 12 months.

Nigel describes the region’s high unemployment rate “as a huge plus” for the expansion aspirations of Edstein Creative.

“It means there are people here who want jobs, who want to work,” Nigel said.

Access to a large pool of potential workers was one factor Edstein Creative considered when it crunched the numbers on the viability of expansion. It also looked atrelocating the business to another location, such as the central coast of NSW.

Nigel says the central coast, Sydney and the Hunter region are thegrowing markets that Edstein Creative seeks to better serve with its expansion.

“Numerous factors were considered in our assessment and in our analysis ‘business interruption’ was a significant issue. If we were to relocate to another site we estimated it would cost around $5 to $6 million to duplicate production.

“We crunched the numbers and we feel good about the decision and what it will mean for the Manning Valley.

“Ultimately people have got to realise that we can do business in the Manning Valley and we can effectively serve the growing markets in NSW.”

Nigel proudly shares that the expanded production line will house “world first” CNC Machinery that is being custom built in France and Italy.

He says innovation continues to be a pillar of the business and Edstein Creative is working with Borg Group -one of Australia’s leading companies in the kitchen building products sector -to customise a $300,000 software package toaccommodate the planned growth.

The proposed stages two and three of the expansion will see an additional 1000 square metres added to the new line and an upgraded water recycling and harvesting system. Itis also intends toexpandits range of products to include ceramics and will invest in water jet cutting technology.

The business is one of 500 in NSW taking part in the Office of Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advantage program. It aims to increase business competitiveness and bottom lines with better environmental practices and Nigel says Edstein Creative has reduced its water useby 97 per cent and energy consumption by 55 per cent.

Nigel says Edstein Creative is focused on growth and working to“deliver sustainability outcomes for the business and community”.

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