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SME zeros in on export opportunities

SME zeros in on export opportunities
Quickstep manufactures advanced composite parts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft

As the defence industry eagerly awaits the release of the government’s Defence Export Strategy, Defence Connect spoke with one of Australia’s most successful defence industry SMEs about its plans for the export market.

Quickstep chief executive Mark Burgess, who joined the company in May this year, said as the business enjoys the success of its growth it will seek to dominate at a local and international level, albeit with a stronger focus on exports.

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"The Australian domestic market in aerospace, or as we've seen unfortunately recently in automotive, is relatively small by global standards," explained Burgess.

"Also, sometimes [it] slips into parochialism in my experience. So, your start point has to be [that] we operate in a global market environment and we have to be globally competitive."

Burgess argued that, with this mindset, Australian defence companies will have a broader range of business opportunities, as with the case of Quickstep and Australian start-up Micro-X, a partnership that Burgess is hoping to further emulate.

"If that [globally competitive nature] drives the way you operate as a business, it opens up a range of market opportunities," said Burgess.

"Now, we've got ... Micro-X. It's an Australian start-up listed with some really quite interesting technology around portable x-ray machines. We've got a great production contract using our proprietary process technology ... we are gonna pursue more opportunities like that. There's a great breed of innovation and advanced manufacturing in this country, but typically the volumes are small. In aerospace, it's a truly global market. Australian OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], there are some major players in this market or foreign OEM local subsidiaries, with whom we have good relations and wanna build those further."

And for SMEs in the advanced manufacturing space within Australia, Burgess again reiterated the need to think globally, as Quickstep has done with much success, with the company now collaborating on the F-35 project, and Lockheed Martin's C-130J and LM-100J aircraft.

"The advice I would offer to any SMEs in the advanced manufacturing space in Australia is, first and foremost, you must consider that you operate in a global market," Burgess said. "Not an Australian market. You might be Australian domiciled, but beyond that you operate in a global market."

To hear more from the Quickstep CEO, tune in to our podcast here.

SME zeros in on export opportunities
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