Mark Thompson began as a sheet metal apprentice at Orange Precision Metal Craft in 1980. 38 years later he’s the Managing Director of the company after buying the business from his boss in 2005.
“It’s changed dramatically since I started. I think there were six employees including me, and we just serviced local builders making sheet metal products for them. Now we don’t do anything for builders, we do industrial engineering,”
said Mark Thompson.
The Orange based company has grown to 32 employees and its clients come from all over the world and include multi-nationals such as Nestle and Simplot.
“I’ve established a very good client base that support us quite well to the point that they ring me and say, ‘What do I need to do here, how do I get around that?’ So we solve their problems for them, we don’t make any one specific item, we try and make sure that we give clients what they want.”
As well as solving problems, Mark is also very good at making money. Before he took over the business, the former owner came to him asking if he would consider taking a sales job within the company. He did, and within 12 months Mark had more than doubled its turnover of $450,000 to $1.3 million. While Mark enjoyed taking risks to achieve that goal, now years later as the owner of the business, he feels a whole new level of responsibility.
“It was ok to take calculated risks with somebody else’s money but now that it’s mine – this is a whole different story. Just as we’re always looking at ways to do things better for our customers, I’m always looking at ways to do business better here, particularly how to reduce costs."
That’s why Mark jumped at the Australian Business’s offer to help him reduce his electricity bill.
“Energy costs have been horrific. We moved into these premises four years ago, I signed a document with one of the big electricity retailers that should have brought our energy down to 21 cents a kilowatt hour, but the prices then started to go through the roof, and the next minute we are paying 36 cents a kilowatt hour."
Last year Orange Precision Metal Craft’s energy bill was just over $22,500. Under the new deal he’s just arranged through the energy program, his bill will almost be cut in half.
“This year we’re expecting a bill of about $13,800. So we’ve come essentially from 39 cents a kilowatt hour back down to 24 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s a saving of about $8,700 and that’s pure profit,”
This article originally appeared on NSW Business Chamber.