As more domestic manufacturers find their products competing with imports for retail shelf space, one Queensland company is bringing business back into Australia.
Brisbane toolbox manufacturer, Thunderbox , is giving offshore competitors a run for their money by securing substantial contracts with national retail chains, Bunnings and Supercheap Auto.
Thunderbox toolboxes, used primarily for storage on utilities and trucks, are all Australian made from galvanised sheet steel and features OneSteel 8.00mm Standard Galvanised Soft Wire in the handles.
Thunderbox Managing Director, Mark Trenoweth, said that Thunderbox began manufacturing the boxes five years ago and soon won the contract with Supercheap Auto.
Trenoweth said, “Supercheap Auto had been importing toolboxes from China because they were cheaper than the local product.”
“We made an investment in researching the technology and automation necessary to compete with the overseas supplier.”
“From this, we designed and built new automated machinery which put us on a more competitive level with the Chinese manufacturers. It made it economically viable for Supercheap Auto to give us the contract and bring the business back home.”
Thunderbox, located in Kingston, Brisbane, has 15 employees and uses Australian product wherever possible.
Trenoweth said, “We use OneSteel wire in the handles of the tool boxes, it makes sense because the price is competitive, the product superior and the service local, so lead times are reasonable.”
OneSteel Market Mills Sales Manager for Manufacturing Wire in Queensland, Wayne Andrews, said that Thunderbox was a good example of how it was possible for Australian manufacturers to turn around the trend for retailers to import finished product.
He said, “It is great that Thunderbox has been able to prove Australian manufacturers can win out against cheap overseas product.”