In this exclusive Q&A, we chat to Dean Williams from Sydney-based metal products manufacturer Williams United, the 2013 My Business Award winner in the Best Medium Business category, sponsored by iiNET.
My Business: Why did you start your own business?
Dean Williams: The business is now third generation - my grandfather started it, then it was passed to my father and now me. My family never pressured me to be part of the business, but for as long as I can remember, I always had an interest in this business, and in business in general.
MB: How has your business evolved since its inception?
DW: As with many industries and aspects of life, technology has been a major contributor to the evolution of the business. The storage and flow of information has dramatically improved, which has made our processes much more efficient.
MB: What business challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
DW: The manufacturing industry is going through extremely challenging times in Australia. With the industry condensing, there are fewer customers to sell our services to, which means we constantly need to think about ways to significantly increase our market share in order to grow. Much of this relates to the impact of China. We try to overcome this by offering greater reliability to our customers. This means extremely short lead times and high quality, each and every time.
MB: What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
DW: Being an early adopter of laser cutting technology back in the 90s transformed the business and became the backbone of our organisation for many years, which catapulted us ahead of the competition. Now we are turning to additive manufacturing (AKA 3D printing) to do the same for the business in 2013.
MB: What does it mean for you to be recognised as a My Business Award winner in 2013?
DW: That Williams United is on the right track. That we are recognised as an innovative, entrepreneurial organisation that is relevant in 2013, even though we a long established company.
MB: Why did you decide to enter the 2013 My Business Awards?
DW: To provide Williams United with publicity, endorsement of its industry leadership and recognition for staff and the management team. I also thought the awards would provide opportunities for networking and learning from other businesses.
MB: How did you find the event at Marquee at The Star?DW: The event was very enjoyable. Not only was the location beautiful, but the casual format worked well to avoid the night feeling like a typical awards ceremony, which can be a bit boring due to the formalities. It was great to see other businesspeople and hear their stories.
MB: Do you have a business motto?
DW: Never stagnate. Constantly think of the next improvement that you can make to the business.
MB: Moving forward, how’s the outlook for your business?
DW: The pace of business is becoming more and more rapid, and the direction of markets more and more unpredictable. Therefore, risk mitigation is one of my aims over the next few years. One of the ways I hope to achieve this is to increase the range of services we offer and to deal with a wider range of industries. This means expanding manufacturing capabilities based on new technology, especially an expansion into 3D printing services to augment our traditional metal manufacturing operations. Existing clients are already starting to use this technology to develop new and cheaper ways to manufacture products.
MB: Would you encourage business owners to enter the My Business Awards in 2014?
DW: Yes. Even if you don’t win an award, the process of sitting down and taking the time to fill-out the application form was a great way to focus my attention on what my business stands for and what we do well. It has refined my outlook for the future of the business.
MY BUSINESS CONGRATULATES WILLIAMS UNITED ON BEING A DESERVING MY BUSINESS AWARD WINNER IN 2013.