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The transition from roofing to defence

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Direct Edge chief executive Diane Edgerton has highlighted some stepping stones along the firm’s transition from being a subsidiary of roofing contractor SERS to becoming a main Australian supplier to the defence industry.

Direct Edge chief executive Diane Edgerton has highlighted some stepping stones along the firm’s transition from being a subsidiary of roofing contractor SERS to becoming a main Australian supplier to the defence industry.

Speaking to Defence Connect, Edgerton said that next year will mark 30 years in business for Direct Edge.

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"SERS started on its path because my husband wanted a big shed," she said. "Because he wanted a big shed, I told him he wasn't getting one until it was income producing.”

Noting "all men want a big shed", Edgerton said she had been thinking of ways to ensure this elusive shed would be generating income.

"I turned it into a jobbing shop to compliment his business and to give him greater efficiencies than what he already had," she said. "So, many years down the track, that big shed just kept growing and more sheds kept getting added on.

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"We still had this SERS name, which didn't really tell people what we did and we had sort of grown out of the jobbing shop and developed into manufacturing with all the computer numerically controlled equipment and machines and everything else. That's how Direct Edge evolved."

Edgerton explained how, currently, the firm focuses on manufacturing small components for both above ground and underground mining equipment.

"[We’re also] a global supplier into the [construction and mining equipment specialist] Caterpillar supply chain,” she said. “We also manufacture ambulance walls [which sit] inside an ambulance, all the cabinetry."

"We actually make those cabinets for Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tassie. So we actually cut, fold, fabricate and powder coat those walls, send them to the assembly plant and they then get put into the ambulances."

The firm – which is also bidding on the LAND 400 contract – has also been providing sinks and cabinets for Adelaide-based Navy vessels.

"We've done frames and everything for their beds, their bunks and their desks,” she said. “We have been doing that for a while and doing stuff within the marine industry."

The transition from roofing to defence
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