Digitalisation of the workforce was one of the many shifts that made us reconsider the nature of our industry as the need for a different type of worker became more apparent. The expectations of an employee have also changed, where cross skilling is now a common practice of the workplace regardless of industry and company. Not only is cross skilling a wise financial decision for a business, it also allows for employees to venture out and gain new skills that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do. These opportunities only rise with exposure to the different industries and people, where these learned lessons are then invested back into the business, which emphasises the beneficial longevity in cross skilling.

Adapting to change

With the workplace becoming more digitalised, it is important for a traditional industry like ours to adapt to the changing needs and capabilities of both our clients and employees. There has been a definitive shift in the workforce where employees are no longer required to specialise in one role, as knowledge, and to a lesser extent, skills, are viewed as a commodity as a result of the internet and connectivity. This results in workers now needing to be able to differentiate themselves from competitors who might complete a task more efficiently and hence for cheaper. Expectations have changed where workers now need to diversify their skill set and achieve a myriad of different tasks despite being hired for a specific role. Typical expectations of a role may change drastically within the next few years and we could see a major overhaul compared to where we are at today. Whether good or bad, it marks the start of a changing workforce and the need for workers to adapt accordingly.

The Benefits of Cross-Skilling


Cross skilling is becoming essential to the workforce as it teaches employees skills which they can apply to future projects. And with the inevitable start of I4.0, it reaffirms the need for us to update our current workplace structures to provide opportunities for our workers to cross skills. This is recognised within our own R&D team. As a data scientist accustomed to dealing with the expected responsibilities of data, Ming Zhao was able to find stimulation in a new role that required him to learn about the practical aspects of manufacturing and data acquisition rather than just the pure technical aspects of data science. It changed his perspective on the role and broadened his subset of skills as he gradually learned what it meant to be hands-on – an experience he did not have with previous roles. Similarly, as a mechanical engineer, Antonio Zanin would not have expected his role to intertwine with those of a data scientist. Yet, the collaboration between these two R&D focused employees emphasises the multifaceted growth that individuals can have as they branch out into different professional areas.

Cross skilling is not just beneficial to a business. It can also be the perfect work structure for those who are looking to expand their work repertoire and skills.

The collaboration between Ming and Antonio was inevitable from a business perspective as our processes started to become more digitised as we moved further into I4.0. By providing an opportunity for the two different industry-based employees to collaborate, we gained two redefined employees by learning different industry skill requirements. This opportunity emphasises our position as industry leaders as we pave the way in redefining traditional roles in a manufacturing field to encapsulate both conventional and modern techniques.

The Importance of Cross-Skilling

As a conservative industry, it is vital for us to understand who is willing to cross skill and take the next step in advancing themselves as a worker and for the company. As an ‘older’ industry, it is expected we have workers who may lack current digital knowledge possessed by the younger generation. Hence, cross skilling provides an opportunity for these workers to learn vital skills that last for life, especially with digital skills that can be used both in a professional and personal sphere. It is also important for both the older and younger generation to be open to this chance of improvement as it helps to bridge the gap between individuals and generations. To those who are planning to stay in the same role in the next five years, 40% of the core skills are expected to change (World Economic Forum, 2020), which supplements the need for workers to move forward according to expectations. These advancements are not purely limited to the manufacturing industry as it is applicable to every role, employee, business, and industry.

Teaching Cross-Skilling to Individuals

Every employee is a different individual and we must understand the workings of these people to know who can be cross skilled and who cannot. This shift also allows employers to differentiate between those who are looking to upskill and diversify their current capabilities versus those who lean towards complacency. “Employee performance can be manifested in improvement in production, easiness in using the new technology, highly motivated workers” (Vasanthi, 2008). However, how do we get these types of workers in the first place? Not only do we need to provide employees access to these technologies, but we also require those who are looking to further themselves as an important part of the business.


Cross skilling is not only beneficial to the individual worker but also vastly improves team coordination and dynamic. Cross skilling targets ‘single points of failure’ (Vasanthi, 2017) and reduces the chance of failure in complex tasks as it ensures that every person on the team is capable of completing a job and is not solely reliant on the specialised individual. This prepares the company for all types of scenarios, as well as saving time and resources as there is no need to bring in external workers.

How it benefits our business

As a business, we should redefine the role of an employee and promote an innate sense of learning by emphasising the benefits of cross skilling as a way to further an individual’s own capabilities. Facilitating the newfound passion to learn will also act as a dual means to share organisational values and stimulate a company culture of collective unity towards objectives (Gawali, 2009). This inherent desire to learn will only benefit the company as it stimulates a genuine passion to better both the individual and company, which will only translate into the offered products and services.


Therefore, we can see that cross skilling is an important part for any business and its employees to develop and further itself in a changing workforce. Though it may be difficult due to the need to cater to certain individuals, this should not detract from the immense benefits it will have on both the individual and the employer as it emphasises the need for growth on both ends. It is important for us to show the potential in employees as similarly we reap the benefits in these learned lessons.

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The Industry Internship

Developing talent and skills for the future of work requires work-integrated learning environments that encourage curiosity and problem solving; a different kind of ‘common knowledge’ to the past, but critical for organisations working at the intersection of I4.0 and traditional manufacturing. But why would a ‘technology disruption’ demand a deliberate shift away from traditional ways of working and learning? One primary reason is ‘connectivity’. Technology and data management combined with cross generational knowhow will be what powers valuable products and services in the future.

Embracing the shift in ways of working

Manufacturing is on its way to understanding success is no longer defined by a B2B product focus alone but emotional connections between “people, planet and prosperity” (the 3Ps). Coupled with technology development and adoption, a cultural shift towards divergent thinking can reposition the workforce to embrace ideals of the new ways of working. 

Through extended internships, the manufacturing industry and education can agree on the needed skills and knowledge for future manufacturers and provide opportunities to explore applied knowledge and learning as the new norm. We talked about this idea in a post back in July 2019 proposing that learning and work need to converge to prepare workers for the continuous and rapidly changing work of the digital future.

So how does industry and education get on the same page about the skills and knowledge for tomorrow’s manufacturing? One way is through extended internships that provide opportunities to explore applied knowledge and learning as the new norm.

While internships are well established at the higher education level, there are a number of hurdles to overcome for a school student to participate in such a program, the most obvious one is a school system that provides curriculum flexibility to support alternative learning plans. It then needs to match a business and capable mentors with a student to deliver a meaningful learning environment. And to have widespread impact all this needs to be scalable. Developing such a system is doable, but will require a long transition to change mindset, infrastructure and governance, however that should not stop early adopters from paving the way and testing ideas to support change.

Introduction to Big Picture Education Australia

Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) is one key vehicle in school based industry-education engagement becoming a reality, by setting an adaptive curriculum framework that enables a school interested in providing an alternative pedagogy. 


Big Picture focus on providing the students with the relevant technology and information that allows them to explore the independent work in their preferred industry and create their own projects to be showcased later on to other students/industry professionals. This creates the perfect opportunity for students to build a portfolio from a young age as the program adds value to the student’s education to create a definitive edge in a competitive job market. It is also a great reflection of their tangible growth in technical and practical skills, which can be shown to future employers and universities. 

Liverpool Boys High is one of approximately 40 schools across Australia providing BPEA opportunities, LA Services is fortunate to be located near this school and has the necessary mindset and capacity to provide internship support. So, after three years of internship participation what has been learnt about this alternative learning pathway and what benefits have come from this participation?

Internship History at LA Services

To date LA Services has provided industry support for three formal school internships through Liverpool Boys High School and four university internships with Macquarie University and University of New South Wales, and each one has had a different style to suit varying student needs. 

The need to tailor each internship to the individual came to light particularly with Jacky’s case. Jacky, a student of Liverpool Boys, was one of those students who was unsure of his passion and joined LA Services after high praise from a fellow intern. Shortly along the way, we noticed a lapse in expectation but continued to explore the different paths until we found one that suited Jacky’s creative mindset. As we started to focus on Jacky’s passion in games, he showed fantastic progress under the mentorship of LA Services’ UTS placed data science researcher (Ming Zhao), gaining a deeper understanding of game development than achievable in the school environment.

Reflecting on the outcomes of this and other internships, we have pinned the critical requirements from an industry partner in this kind of an arrangement :

Provide a very focused and playful learning experience to opened up a student’s world view and make some specific connections between learning threads and their use in real world outcomes, raising awareness about education value

Provide opportunity to build technology awareness by engagement with multiple professionals across different technology domains. This broad exposure allows a student to identify areas of interest and derive a learning pathway that delivers the specific learning needs to pursue a career in that interest

Play a support role, providing specific teaching of skills to supplement an existing area of interest setting the student up with a broader knowledge base for their chosen post school pathway

Provide a hands on experience that brings theory and existing knowledge into action, and puts the realities of doing into perspective to shift perceptions and support career planning and choices

Reaping the benefits

So what benefits have internships brought to LA Services and its need for a divergent thinking cross generational workforce? An initial benefit comes via the need to pivot from the outcomes plan over the internship period which builds organisational comfort in flexibility, adaptation and change. Regardless of the internship type, there is a need for “disciplined creativity(Great by Choice, Collins & Hansen. 2011). What we have found is, existing employees involved in mentoring see a need to upskill or simply widen their own world view by investigating new threads that come from the ‘de-shackled thinking’ and freeform internship conversations.


This self reflecting process driven by cross generational dialogue is the very culture shift that is needed to A) capitalise on the potential opportunities across I4.0 and B) to shift the perception of the industry in the next generation of manufacturers.

This time is right to shift away from ‘rule following’ and a ‘this is how it is done’ mantra.

This may seem like it devalues seasoned knowledge and expertise, but it needs to be remembered, context is everything in business. Meaning past views and ways of working, that are held fast when a business environment has moved on, can hold back progress. A principle that has high relevance in the dynamic world of I4.0.


Internships, if embraced as part of the change mechanism, are a means of disrupting a business’ status quo, challenge ideals and encourage personal growth. The future of manufacturing work needs a blend of foundational experience and knowledge channeled through new technologies and to combine these there must be cross generation input and an inclusive mindset : attributes internships deliver.

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Hiring the Right People

On September 14th 2020, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) launched a report “Ten Ways to Succeed in Australian Manufacturing” with an aim to support the transformation of Australia’s manufacturing through research. As the name suggests, the report explores ten ways for Australian manufacturers to overcome common obstacles and to ensure they remain competitive in the future.

This report draws on three major studies completed by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) in 2019. The first of these involved conducting more than 30 focus groups, roundtable discussions and interviews with individuals within 93 manufacturing companies, industry bodies, government agencies, and universities across Australia. The industry bodies represented approximately 370 manufacturers located around the country, large and small, urban and rural. The second study was a survey of 1,000 members of the Australian public about their perceptions of manufacturing. The third included a survey of 1,000 students and focus groups to learn what they thought about manufacturing and whether it was a potential career path for them.

LA Services was one of the surveyed manufacturers and was also featured in a case study in the report circling around the “Way 8” of success in manufacturing – Hiring the Right People.


The partnership between AMGC and LA Services goes way back, led by Kelly Godeau from AMGC and David Fox, GM of LA Services who first met in 2016 at the Western Sydney University Launch Pad. The partnership is focused on enabling educational institutions and industry partners to benefit from one another by providing on the job training for students.

Industry partners benefit from the fresh approach and enthusiasm brought by young talent, while educational institutions ensure their graduates leave with the right skills required in the job market.

The aim is to provide a practice based support system for secondary school students through work experience and internships that help students see a connection between education content and its application in manufacturing and engineering. In other words, it enables students to experience manufacturing in their own backyard, and then take that conversation back to the school yard or dinner table to challenge the status quo on manufacturing.

Manufacturers particularly struggle when it comes to finding and retaining new talent due to several factors like competition from other more “advanced” industries, gaps in skills as well as a lack of internship programs providing practice-based learning in schools.

Internships are particularly critical since they can expose young Australians to industrial work environments and the required skills to succeed in this field.

“The first step to getting students engaged with the industry is for the industry to engage with students and influencers. The website remains important once knowledge or interest is aroused.”


This is one area where LA Services have constantly strived to work with schools and universities over the years to bridge the gap between education and industry. In 2016, LA Services began to realise that a significant portion of its workforce was edging toward retirement and attracting the next generation of employees was a major issue. Initially, LA Services focused on trade apprenticeships to fill in the gaps, but quickly found this approach just wasn’t enough. Instead, LA Services undertook an industry-education engagement experiment with nearby Liverpool Boys High School. “Liverpool Boys High School utilises industry placements and passion-based project learning facilitated by the Big Picture Education Australia organisation, rather than relying solely on the curriculum. So we decided to collaborate with the school,” explained David Fox, General Manager.

All in all, Industry must have a place in the education system. Manufacturers need to understand how the next generation of workers thinks, so they can better engage. Students need to understand what it is we do, so manufacturing becomes a viable career choice. Concepts like SBAT have the potential to enable this, but there is presently a disconnect, in that this sort of training is not recognised by the ‘school system’ as a worthy education module,

illustrated by its exclusion from the higher school certificate. The school system needs to better understand industry skill requirements today, and more importantly what is coming down the pipeline tomorrow.

The best way to forge ahead together is for manufacturers to engage directly with schools and students which is what LA Services have been doing for the last 4 years. “The key to success is learning from one other, spanning different generations and technologies. I’ve learnt just as much from the students and the school, as they have from LA Services” Fox said.


Pressure Equipment Procurement & Compliance

Purchasing pressure equipment and related services places a responsibility on the buyer, asset owner and the supplier to ensure equipment and services provided comply with the numerous requirements set out by the standard and specification associated with the enquiry. Partnering with an experienced manufacturer who is confident and upfront about the applied cost model, schedule topology and manufacturing plan can make the buying process less onerous and reduce the risk profile for the overall project.

Consideration in Buying Pressure Equipment & Services

The decision to purchase pressure equipment or related services is typically driven by the need to change the processing status of an operation. This can be driven by an array of factors such as; safety, profit, demand, technology or unforeseen events causing damage. As with pressure equipment manufacturing, the buying process should be concerned with a holistic view of the desired outcome and the factors that influence the risk of not achieving them.

A good way to develop your buying profile and hence gauge what really matters to the outcome is to ask some questions about the project:

  • How critical is this asset to my operation and hence revenue?
  • What is driving this decision; time, production, safety or integrity?
  • How much effort do I want to put into this buying process myself?
  • If something goes wrong, how robust was my decision making process?
  • Am I just seeking a transaction, or looking for a partnership?

The list of considerations can become extensive using this process, to help prioritise it is useful to speak with suppliers early on in the bid development process so the right supplier can be identified, and then help to shape your project to align with the driving factors and desired outcomes.

Manufacturing History, Past, Present and Future Context

What is meant by manufacturing history and how does it matter?

For LA Services this term is growing in significance and scope, presently the Manufacturing Data Report (MDR) was a punch list dictated by the relevant standards, simply put it is a ‘compliance directive’ focused on:

  • Material certification
  • Welding procedure and qualification records
  • Non-destructive hydro and FAT testing

The focus of these attributes is all about the OEM and underwriters world. But this only represents a slice of the asset’s lifecycle, and has its roots in past Industry 1.0 requirements – being about the ‘product in hand’ only.

But what about the installation, maintenance, modification / life extension and decommissioning slices? And thinking further afield how does your corporate social responsibilities tie into what is being supplied. These questions are driving LA Services’ to re-think manufacturing history, coupling this with I4.0 it offers a future paradigm for the term, and has the potential to add significant value to these assets and the supply chains that underpins them.

Supply Chain – Raw Material Flexibility

Project requirements largely drive material supply, from time frames to exotic element blends they all effect where raw materials might need to come from. Over a number of years LA Services observed the increasing flexibility required in material supply necessary to meet the diversity across our client base. This has led us to build up a global material supply chain and logistic network that enables us to switch between local and offshore purchasing and movement of break-bulk freight when necessary.

We support the local steel industry through the purchase of boiler plates when AS grades are designed into products, we typically purchase heavy forgings, tubes and ASTM grades through South Korea, Europe and America when project demands require alternatives to be included in the manufacturing plan.

Material quality and traceability is an essential variable in the construction of pressure equipment, and while different hazards levels do scale the risk the supply chain and manufacturing history connected to pressure equipment procurement will always play a key role in managing liabilities.

How important is scheduling at Tendering Stage?

Forecasting a project’s realistic completion should be a priority at tender for both the buyer and seller. Due to the high level of requirements across the pressure equipment manufacturing process, the modelling methods chosen are critical to the duration forecast. And in most cases delivery of an asset or service directly impacts production planning and hence revenues at the end of the day for both the buyer and seller.

LA Services considers the following parameters influence schedule accuracy and hence delivery outcomes:

  • The design sequence & material critical data
  • Material origin and logistics planning
  • Equipment build sequence
  • Resource and constraint modelling

So when considering the buying profile of your project, it is recommended to not only seek visibility on the manufacturing plan, but to look into the modelling scenarios and their relevance to the project’s risks.


Pressure Equipment Supply

the AU standard used


How an order is processed

Our Workflow Chart

Behind the scenes of Hydrogen Refueling Stations are these high-pressure storage vessels

Recently LA Services completed a hydrogen storage vessel for a renown automotive manufacturer as part of a pilot re-fueling station. The project posed design challenges that are new to the fabrication industry, but the timing is perfect for a traditional metal trade manufacturer to enter the alternative fuel cell conversation.

We thought of starting with some basics to educate our reader about hydrogen energy and provide an overview of what it means for the future of transport.

What is hydrogen energy?

Hydrogen is the most common chemical in the universe. Hydrogen has many uses as an energy source such as fuel for transport or heating, a way to store electricity, or a raw material in industrial processes.

Hydrogen energy can be stored as a gas and even delivered through existing natural gas pipelines. When converted to a liquid or another suitable material, hydrogen can also be transported on trucks and in ships. This means hydrogen can also be exported overseas, effectively making it a tradable energy commodity.

Source :

How is hydrogen produced?

Even though most of the hydrogen production infrastructure currently utilises fossil fuels in some manner emitting carbon dioxide as a byproduct, hydrogen has the potential to be a clean fuel when produced entirely from renewable energy sources.

The infrastructure to produce and distribute hydrogen is currently expensive, but research to develop more cost effective methods continues globally.

A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) offers key recommendations to help governments, companies and others to seize this chance to enable clean hydrogen to fulfil its long-term potential. One of these recommendations is supporting R&D to bring down costs.

Hydrogen powered electric vehicles

While industrial processes are the dominating consumer of hydrogen energy, transport also has the opportunity for hydrogen based fuel cells becoming competitive. Hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have been getting a lot of serious attention as a counterpart to battery powered electric vehicles, particularly because of the huge potential in producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources like wind, water and solar energy.

“It’s estimated by experts there’ll be two billion electric vehicles by 2045. Two billion. Half of these vehicles will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.”

Source :

The Hydrogen Landscape in Australia

In Australia, a $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund has been announced to primarily boost production and exports of the gas, but the government’s most significant hydrogen handout to date is available to finance any projects that align with the National Hydrogen Strategy.

The Strategy sets a path to build Australia’s hydrogen industry with a plan to accelerate the commercialisation of hydrogen, reduce technical uncertainties and build up domestic supply chains and production capabilities. A strong domestic hydrogen sector will underpin Australia’s exporting capabilities, allowing us to become a leading global hydrogen player. 

Hydrogen fuel-cell trucks are 10 months away from launch in Australia as US-based Hyzon Motors recently began its export drive of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles.

Source :

Developing a Hydrogen Refuelling Station(HRS) Pressure Vessel

One of the primary components in a hydrogen refuelling station is the pressure vessel which stores the hydrogen gas.

Recently LA Services undertook a design and manufacture project for one such pressure vessel of 18,500 litres capacity

Challenges posed by a new technology 

Since hydrogen is a tiny molecule, it is prone to leak through poor joints and between poorly selected materials. Also, thorough understanding of the storage tank’s operating conditions is necessary during the design stage. 

The team of engineers behind LA services dealt with several additional design and safety factors during this project. “A pressure vessel servicing refuelling will subject the vessel to daily pressure fluctuations” says Raaid Allam, a former project engineer at LA Services.

“The volume of hydrogen leaving the vessel while refueling and then re-entering while re-filling the vessel will generate daily pressure cycles. Due to the cyclic service and the presence of Hydrogen, it was essential to perform multiple design assessments and to prove a high level of safety. To satisfy our concerns, a combination of fatigue analysis, fracture mechanics assessments and crack propagation assessments were carried out.”

Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and while taking into account the previously mentioned assessments, the team was able to come up with the optimum design. 

A new generation solution to a new problem

While projects like this pose new challenges for LA Services, they are an opportunity to transfer established pressure equipment design and ‘manufacturing knowhow’. Fresh young talent are an important addition to the fabrication and welding space ensuring this manufacturing industry will be sustained. Capability growth across the engineering and trades that underpin the industry helps to secure an Australian based pressure equipment supply chain capable of servicing the future needs of energy production as it transitions towards a sustainable future. 

LA Services Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak

16th March 2020 : Our response to the escalating COVID-19 situation has been focused on creating an agile internal ‘action plan’ to support our decision making through this evolving social and business situation.

As we all try to make sense of an ever changing health pandemic landscape, LA Services is guided by two principles; ensuring the health and wellbeing of our people, our clients and our community as our first priority, while minimising the disruption to our operations and employment continuity. We are doing this by ensuring our approach is always based on the expert medical advice of Australian Authorities.

Our COVID-19 Response Position

LA Services Operations and Personnel

  • We do not plan to shut down except for Easter (Fri 10th Apr. returning Wed 15th April)
  • Employees arriving in Aust. from “midnight 15th March 2020 or think they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus are required to self-isolate for 14 days” as advised by the Aust. Gov. Department of Health¹. If they returned before this date, their case will be managed based on previous advice, and suitable preventative measures   
  • Employees who have respiratory, cold or flu symptoms are requested to stay at home
  • We ask all employees to apply social distancing and good hygiene practices at all times

Travel and offsite activities, we request

  • Personnel limit face to face offsite business meetings, by utilising phone or video conferencing if possible
  • Any face to face networking or business event / conference be re-considered
  • Utilise private transport if possible, if not support social distancing by travelling outside peak public transport times and apply good hygiene practices, such as hand washing upon arrival at your destination, before commencing work or meeting with others
  • International business travel be postponed, and re-consider any national travel
  • Employees and supporting contractors to notify management if they intent to travel internationally, so the self-isolation period can be included in leave planning

Visitors, Contractors and Inspectors, we request

  • Any individual who has returned from overseas or has been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus abide by the current self-isolation requirements
  • Meetings be arranged by phone or video conference for people who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms or generally feel un-well
  • All visitors, contractors and Inspectors exercise social distancing² and good hygiene practices where possible when on site for the benefit of both parties

¹ ‘Isolation guidance’ details are outlined in the Australian Government, Department of Health fact sheet, available online at: [accessed Mar 16, 2020]  
² Keeping approx. 1.5 metres of distance between yourself and other people where possible, avoiding shaking hands, hugging or kissing. (reference: AU Gov. Dept. of Health, available at: [accessed: Mar 16, 2020])
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Is Australian Manufacturing Capable of Sustaining Our Oil & Gas Infrastructure?

How capable are Australia’s manufacturers in delivering sustainment services to Oil & Gas infrastructure? This investment is so vital to our export economy and our way of life.

A recent road trip and several conversations with major Oil & Gas companies about plant sustainment and equipment supply highlighted several issues. A common theme was the importance of maintaining local capability, and more generally, the limited knowledge of what can be serviced by the Australian supply chain. These conversations inspired our Managing Director Louie Chouaifaity to reflect on the sector’s landscape and how much it has changed over the last 35 plus years since LA Services began working in this sector.

Reduction in Capability Awareness

There are perhaps two aspects as to why capability awareness has reduced:

1. The industry’s SMEs are generally not outward-facing and hence fail to provide a market presence that delivers compelling stories about capabilities, workforce skills and in-house knowledge that could improve awareness.
2. The very real decline in capacity (being the number of businesses servicing this specialised infrastructure segment) is potentially perceived as a decline in capability too.
Both factors, further compounded with changing procurement strategies over time, seems to have eroded knowledge of the local supply chain.

The Future Strategy

Acknowledging that individual manufacturers need to address their modernisation strategies, the Oil & Gas sector also needs to be thinking about local capability (workshops & personnel) that are available to supply, maintain, modify and repair industrial pressure equipment. Both capacity and capability should perhaps be mapped against the scale and geography of Oil & Gas investments and considered as a sovereign capability or contingency plan for facility owners. Consistently supporting the Australian supply chain would ultimately improve performance, capacity and develop capability, and in doing so deliver assurance that our critical Oil & Gas infrastructure can be supported quickly and effectively if the unexpected happens.


Adding Manufacturing to The Smith Family Work Inspiration Program

The Smith Family is an organisation that may not come to mind when thinking about a manufacturing organisation, but then again in today’s business environment, collaboration can present unexpected synergies.

In the last week of May, LA Services had the pleasure of working with The Smith Family and Leonie Lam from My Focus to deliver a module from their Work Inspiration Program, where students from Wiley Park Girl High and Punchbowl Boys High got a glimpse into the  career paths and jobs in the changing world of manufacturing.

The session kicked off with a presentation by LA Services General Manager David Fox reflecting on his own career pathway, sharing an insight into what industrial asset manufacturing, and its connection to the gas, water, chemicals and fuels that we all use every day. The group then experienced some of the technologies that are changing the industry such as VR Welding, Mixed Reality through devices like HoloLens and Augmented Reality. A workshop tour was also included to remind students about the importance of traditional trades such as fabrication and welding to make the ‘thing in the Internet of Thing’. The session ended with a series of interview rounds, where the students were able to ask staff questions about the roles they play in manufacturing

We would like to thank Janine Blake, the Beyond School Transition – Project Manager from The Smith Family for making the event easy to coordinate, and our staff who volunteered for the interviews and assisted in organising the morning: Debbie Hinchcliffe – Administration, Jamie Smith – QHSE, Hassan Syed – Projects, Grant Staunton – 3rd year Apprentice Fabricator, Raaid Allam – Design Engineer, Norman Chouaifaity – Operations. We would also like to thank Kirk Duncan from The Mobile Apps Man for providing and supporting the digital technologies, Lincoln Electric Australia for lending their VR welding machine, and Jessica Sarkis from The Animo Affect for her assistance with the student engagement and ongoing support for our youth programs.

Product Price and Project Cost

Is it worth paying a higher product price for something now when it is a known, or paying for an unknown project cost later?

LA Services works with clients across a number of industries, historically we have serviced the oil and gas sector, a sector with a focus on quality assurance and compliance and rightly so. The processing assets this industry uses, and manufactured by LA Services, are engineered for high risk critical environments typically containing high temperatures, pressures and corrosive or volatile fluids so quality assurance and manufacturing integrity is paramount.

Over time LA Services has witnessed occasions where asset buyers steered away from price certainty by purchasing a ‘cheaper’ product. However, this short-term product price saving can become eroded as repairs or modifications on newly installed equipment requires rectification of non-compliant workmanship. Overall project costs can also escalate when the customer needs to increase their presence in the project management or inspection processes, (to oversee that the work is being done correctly) potentially adding significantly to the original product price.

Our point is there are sometimes costs associated with the risk management of highly engineered purchases that are less likely to be present when purchasing from an experienced local supplier like LA Services.

When large corporates invest with local SMEs it provides opportunity for lasting relationships that reduce business to business costs by building mature supply chains that understand where value resides, which can bring significant project savings over time.

Investing in Australian SME manufacturing companies it also provides opportunity to build a skilled workforce adapt and capable for future maintenance, repairs and upgrades, ensuring a ‘sovereign’ capability underpins the assets and systems Australia has in place and requires to maintain its standard of living and security.

Investing in and working with forward thinking Australian businesses now will save time and money for everyone in the future.

Bridging Sectors – Educators visit Manufacturing

While the business year winds down at the end of this week, staff at Liverpool Boys High are already planning their 2019 project-based learning activities. Jessica Khoury (Community Officer) and Amy Gilchrist (Head Teacher of Science)

visited LA Services this week to discuss a collaborative environment sensor project between Ben Moir from Snepo, David Phan a Big Picture Student at Liverpool Boys High and LA Services under the direction of our graduate engineer Raaid Allam.

The project is being designed as an educational opportunity that will deliver learnings across air quality sensor kit design and manufacture, digital communication, data storage and statistical analysis of factory working conditions mapped over energy and productivity data. The project has been a background discussion with Liverpool Boys and Girls High for some time and will be LA Services first attempt at scaling our industry / education engagement into main stream subjects such as science and math. The objective of the project is to advance LA Services digital skills, deliver visibility across our energy management in the context of production and strengthen our contribution to industry-based STEAM in schools.

We are grateful to the staff at Liverpool Boys High, Ben Moir (Snepo) and Samira Bawden (Liverpool Girls High) for their input over the many months to formulate a project framework that can deliver a meaningful outcome for LA Services, while supporting the industry education bridge that will help to develop the essential skills across our community for advanced manufacturing.