Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR July-Aug 2017 Contents 32 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JULY/AUG 2017
QUICKSTEP MANAGING DIRECTOR & CEO, MARK BURGESS
Quickstep is an Australian public listed company, at
the forefront of advanced composites manufacturing
and technology development.
We are the largest independent, aerospace grade
advanced composite manufacturer in Australia,
partnering with some of the world’s largest aerospace/
defence organisations including Lockheed Martin,
Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems Thales and
Marand, supplying parts on big defence project
works such as the Joint Strike Fighter.
The Australian Government’s increased support -
including the appointment of a Defence Minister to
Cabinet – has had a demonstratively positive impact
on our business.
Australia has, for a long time, been a remarkably
good customer to the major global contractors but
a relatively insignificant supplier. The Australian
Government’s recent initiatives have improved
both our presence and scope with the global
[This success is evident through the award of
contracts totalling A$830 million to over 140 SMEs
and organisations under the Global Supply Chain
(GSC) Program. The GSC program helps Australian
SMEs overcome barriers to export markets by
ensuring they have the opportunity to compete
internationally and develop their competitiveness.
The Hon Christopher Pyne and the Hon Marisa
Payne have both been first rate in strengthening
Australia’s outreach and we look forward to their
continued and accelerated efforts.
We would welcome more structured export
promotion and coordinated advocacy effort between
government, industry and Defence, “Team Australia” if
you like. Quickstep operates in market segments that
are truly globalised – composites, aerospace, defence,
advanced manufacturing. To compete globally, it’s
best to promote open markets, which includes light
touch regulation and an open, progressive economy.
Australia’s advanced manufacturing businesses
have a huge amount of capability to bring to the
global supply chain and we look forward to the
Government’s ongoing support with these global
partnerships at a time when global defence spend is
predicted to reach an all-time high.
We are really excited about the prospects of the
Quickstep group. With continuing business across
the C-130J and JSF programs we have a strong
order book, underpinned by high recurring revenue.
We expect significant revenue and margin growth
over the next 2-3 years.
In 2016, we invested for future growth and believe
we are now optimally positioned to service additional
clients and continue to grow the business.
Australian companies continue to prove themselves
on the global stage by successfully winning work in
the supply chains of the defence primes.
Quickstep itself is a great example of this; more
than 90% of our revenue is generated through
exports, and at the end of March 2017, our order
book stood in excess of A$115 million, underpinned
by increased orders for Quickstep’s JSF and C-130J
As well as high recurring revenue from the above
committed orders in our core business, we continue
to advance the industrialisation of both our Qure and
Quickstep Process Solution (QPS) technologies.
These patented processes offer significant value
opportunities to our aerospace customers in terms
of cost and time savings and quality enhancements.
Commonwealth expenditure in defence will spur
innovation and growth over the next decade and
create jobs for Australians.
The Australian market alone is too small to deliver
the scale the defence industry needs to succeed and
in order to capitalise on the opportunity we need to
look beyond the domestic market to leverage the
capability we can develop.
The Australian economy has a significant amount
of capacity available to sustain ADF equipment
acquisition and through life support. Most of the
skills-base exists or can be trained, there needs
to be recognition that we compete in a global
marketplace in every respect, including for skills.
I meet many Australian expats all over the world
when I travel, just as we export our skills to other
countries we should not be afraid of importing skills
from those same countries.
For our business, the likely technology flow in
future will be in the other direction. Our investment
in R&D, whilst focused on commercial market
opportunities, puts us in a great position to deliver
technology enhancements and cost-down benefits to
our defence customers. I am particularly excited by
some of the manufacturing process technology we
are developing, such as our out-of-autoclave Qure
process, and the mass production/cost reduction
benefit we will be able to offer to commercial and
defence aerospace customers utilising our QPS
Technology is at the heart of what we do.
Historically we have invested more than 10% of
sales in R&D, patenting the technology processes
we develop. In recent years, we’ve stepped up our
marketing capability to drive agility and relevance as
well as hiring world class skills to ensure we stay at
the leading edge of manufacturing technology.
Last year we decided to relocate our core Global
R&D team from Munich, Germany. They now operate
out of Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds Campus in
Victoria (supported by a long-term Strategic R&D
and Education Agreement with Deakin University)
and having them closer has brought significant
More that 90% of our revenue is generated
through exports, so, in that sense, we have always
been part of the global supply supply-chain!
Australian industry needs to stop thinking of a
“proudly Australian-made, proudly Australian-owned”
supply chain as being something different to and
incompatible with “global supply chains”.
In order to succeed, Australian industry has to
consider itself part of the global supply chain, find
our niche, our core value proposition and ensure we
remain globally relevant.
2016 was a year of significant capital expansion
for Quickstep as we prepared the business for
higher volume manufacturing of advance carbon fibre
components and assemblies. We believe we are now
well positioned for future growth against a backdrop
of favourable market conditions.
Quickstep Managing Director & CEO Mark Burgess
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