New Blood – Generational Diversity to Step Change

LA Services understands that to improve and move forward sometimes needs a fresh approach, but retention of heritage knowledge and skills is also essential to ensure operational integrity, client trust and longevity of engineering services.

Confronted with the challenge of widening the purpose of our engineering function, LA Services decided this step change required two elements, new blood and a return to first principles that would underpin the application of digital in the engineering design arena.

Raaid Allam a recent Mechanical Engineering Graduate from Macquarie University joined the LA Services team in March 2018 as an intern working on one of our innovation projects. Impressed by his agility to adapt between digital and mechanical he was hired on graduation to lead our push into computer aided engineering.

To ensure Raaid acquired the principle knowledge and skills to design ‘practically engineering’ pressure equipment we needed a weekly focus on design. So, a mentor routine was setup up with legacy designer Allan Bruce and one of our existing younger engineers Hassan Syed. The program is stepping these young engineers through the application of mechanical engineering in the context safe pressure equipment design.

Attention then turned to front loading projects with engineered knowledge, requiring improved project planning and embedding engineering in our tender process. Once again Macquarie University introduced the right resource, Antonio Zanin an Engineer from Italy who was on an exchange, Master of Engineering Management program. Antonio brings a practical background in fabrication, skills across project portfolio management and the application of Microsoft Business Intelligence. Antonio is now working in modelling our project portfolio and supporting tenders.

Together this new blood combine with new digital tools and legacy knowledge is beginning to re-shape the engineering face of LA Services. We look forward to supporting our engineers in developing their craft and in turn they are enhancing our capabilities by helping to advance ‘how we make it’, a necessity in strengthening Australian manufacturing.

ANU Interviews LA Services – Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Activity

On the 21st of November 2018 Jihye Yeo a PhD candidate at the Research School of Management, Australian National University (ANU) visited LA Services to get some insight from the coal face about innovation activity in the Australian advanced manufacturing space.

ihye and her supervisor Dr Alex Eapen (also from the Research School of Management, ANU) are conducting a research project to investigate the drivers of innovation in the Australian Advanced Manufacturing sector. Their research examines cases of manufacturing firms that have successfully transformed themselves into providers of innovative products and services. As adopters of innovative technologies (including but not limited to additive manufacturing, industry 4.0, etc) and new business models, these businesses symbolise the future of Australian manufacturing. Jihye’s research seeks to understand the strategies that have enabled innovation in these firms as well as the catalytic role played by innovation intermediaries in the sector. As such, her research will yield important insights for Australian manufacturing firms that will enable them to improve their innovation processes and outcomes.

Jihye sat down with LA Services’ General Manager David Fox to discuss the various R&D projects currently being pursued across their digital strategy and its industry / education engagement business model, a project that is helping to bring fresh new thinking to how the business approaches both its linear (process improvement) and non-linear (the next curve) innovation activities.

We would like to thank Jihye for taking time to visit our facility and hear firsthand about the experiences and challengers of navigating both Advanced Manufacturing and innovation, and its place in the fabrication and welding landscape.

Liverpool Boys High Student / LA Services Intern wins Scholarship

On Monday the 19th Nov 2018 David Phan a student from Liverpool Boys High (LBH) who is also a student intern with LA Services’ investigating software design & IoT succeeded in securing a scholarship from the Australian Business and Community Network which in part relates to the opportunities LA Services and Kirk Duncan from The Mobile Apps Man is providing to David through his internship.

The scholarship will begin January 2019 and will continue for 3 years (Yr 11, 12 & first year of uni), providing him with financial assistance ($7000) and linking him with a professional mentor that will guide him in setting and achieving goals.  There were only 30 successful students out of 300 applicants.

Access to David’s passion-based learning environment, which includes a long-term internship with LA Services, is due to David’s commitment to learn, the outstanding leadership of Liverpool Boys High and their teaching staff that have all embraced the Big Picture Education program, making it possible to build a meaningful bridge between the classroom and industry for students from year 9 onward. The synergy of this relationship is allowing David to stretch his intellectual capacity beyond what might be possible in a traditional school setting and in the process developing skills to deal with real world challenges in preparation for his chosen career path (software engineer).

LA Services congratulate David and his Big Picture advisors for their efforts in this achievement.

A focus on project management with a global lens – Introducing Antonio

With a growing appetite to challenging past thinking LA Services started to ask itself ‘how might we’ test new project duration cases before award in a project portfolio framework that is integrate with live operational constraints to deliver an innovative organisational project modelling tool.

To help develop a solution to this problem Macquarie University introduced Antonio Zanin to LA Services. Antonio is a recently graduated mechanical engineer from Italy who is on an international exchange program with the University of Udine in Northern Italy where he is currently studying a masters in engineering management. Apart from his professional training he also has what turned out to be great experience in the fabrication and welding game, care of the family business back in Italy. This unusual combination of a practical heritage and theory made Antonio an obvious candidate for LA Services’ second intern placement from Macquarie University in 2018.

Antonio’s internship has two focus areas, his academic work is to review and analyse the current practices used to plan resources and manage the business’ project portfolio to operations interface. The aim of his research is to develop an innovative yet practical global scheduling system that can be adopted by the project and production teams to improve their project portfolio management maturity and delivery predictability. His other role is to immerse himself in the front-end engineering and design services required in tenders, these positions provides a win-win for Antonio and LA Services by exposing Antonio to the Australia business culture while allowing LA Services to test project management theories the concept of integrating engineering services into its business development and pre-award activities. Antonio’s future aspirations are to work in mechanical engineering design while bringing a practical approach to the project management processes required to deliver engineered-to-order projects.

Some of the things Antonio is enjoying about LA Services since he joined the team at the end of October is that “you are not just a number” and feels very welcome by everyone from the Managing Director right down to the production coordinator and trades personnel. From the start, he has been interested in learning as much as possible about the Australian working culture and feels very encouraged to get involved. Antonio also has a passion for projects and making an actual difference to the way we might work in the future. He enjoys how the learning via problem solving is build around teams so everyone gains knowledge and can made a difference to project outcomes. Antonio believes LA Services’ strength is in its passion to get the job done, he appreciates and acknowledges the opportunities given to employees and is also impressed by its openness to improve at every level in the company.

He believes that the future of the industry is exciting and greater success will come as small businesses come together through collaboration and forge partnership that increase their overall capability to service the customer. His advice for anyone wanting to join the industry is; be flexible, try to understand customer expectations and the end goals in any situation. Stay practical and stay connected to clients, suppliers and the people that service the wider business landscape around advanced manufacturing.

When he isn’t looking into solving complex problems, his is keen to spend his spare time sailing and taking in Sydney Harbour.

Supply Chain Value – Up and Downstream

The value in supply chains can sometimes be lost, particularly as the relationship matures or the focus resides around commodities. To uncover latent opportunities, it is sometimes as simple as hoping in the car and visiting your supplier’s facility.

LA Services, like all organisations, has a significant number of suppliers up and down stream of our manufacturing activities that we rely on to support our projects. One of our long-term suppliers critical to our product’s material integrity is Southern Steel Group.

We recently decided to visit their Milperra operation to get an insight into what sort of services they provide in addition to their quality plate and sections range. We also used the tour to introduce our latest engineering team members Raaid Allam (MQU Graduate) and Antonio Zanin (a post grad. Intern from Italy) So they could learn a bit about the processing of the material they include in their designs.

Jay Knaggs (Sales) and Greg Peat (State processing manager) were kind enough to give us a detailed tour of the processing section and also the extensive stock they hold. It was fantastic to see the size and scale of the operation and the processing capacity was a real eye opener in particular their large processing stations, structural section stock and the profiling possibilities of their 9-axis plasma cutting machine.

Supplier visits like this assist everyone from strengthening person to person relationship, educating employees so they have a better understanding of supply chain capability to service our client’s needs.

In our busy day to day lives it can be refreshing to take some time out to meet with suppliers and clients so there is a better understanding of the value each party brings to the table, doing this helps everyone improve the way we can integrate and ultimately it will improve the way Australian manufacturing can perform in the global market.

An Alternative Education Model – Also helping to ‘Advance Manufacturing’

When innovation is included in a conversation it can conjure up all sorts of thoughts from ‘just a buzz word’ to a cool tech product everyone wants. However genuine innovation, the kind that takes a leap to the next curve, can also be achieved in conservative industries when a Big Picture view is taken across complex social challenge.

This week Good Weekend covered an alternative learning model delivering an engaging high school education approach for students who found the traditional classroom model was not delivering the learning engagement they needed to reach their potential. The Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) intern model discussed in this article was picked up by LA Services in Spring 2017 in partnership with Liverpool Boys High (LBH)

and has over the last 12 months provided a unique opportunity to integrate advanced manufacturing research with high school education. LA Services’ current LBH intern spends his industry days working alongside our App Developer partner Kirk Duncan (The Mobile Apps Man) and our graduate engineering Raaid Allam from Macquarie University exploring the business opportunities and STEM behind IoT, sensor communication and the development of an industrial asset software interface.

The scope of learning for both this year 10 intern and LA Services extends beyond the technical space, his design work is captured with the support of LA Services’ General Manager in a Thesis that will form part of his ‘graduate portfolio’ as entry into university.

While debate continues about Project Based

Learning verses standardised education , the other benefits to BPEA’s innovation approach is how

how ongoing industry engagement opportunities can prepare students for the future of work, while from an industry perspective, it also delivers truly innovative thinking across the work place by having fresh young minds looking at problems from a different generation. Perhaps more importantly in the wider context of Australia’s competitive future the engagement process is starting a conversation around the dinner table about advanced manufacturing as a career path.

BPEA is yet to achieve mainstream support from authorities, so it relies on large organisations such as Origin Energy through their Origin Foundation to provide essential funding. It then requires industry education engagement with SMEs like LA Services at the school level to provide access to vital internship opportunities for these passionate students, so they can gain the experiences they require to fuel their curiosity about the world around them and in doing so establish critical lifelong learning skills.

LA Services – Liverpool Girls High – ‘What it is like to be an engineer’

Bathsheba Suri is an enthusiastic and bright year 12 student from Liverpool Girls High who has an ambition to become a civil engineer. Before she started the HSC and then committed to university she was keen to get some insight into ‘what it is like to be an engineer’.

She heard about LA Services and its innovating approach to engaging with schools through students from Liverpool Boys High School (our school-based student internship partner). So, Bathsheba decided to contact our General Manager (David Fox) to ask if she could spend a few days with our engineers, following a brief introduction meeting and workshop tour Bathsheba agreed to spend two full days on our

site to expand her understanding of engineering and how it fits into heavy manufacturing.

Over the course of her first day Bathsheba spent some time with the David where they discussed the role of a modern engineer in society drawing on some well know problems and projects from around the global that have significant engineering influences and lesson learnt, this conversation was later rounded out with a workshop tour to illustrate first hand some of the engineering used in pressure equipment manufacture. David also provided Bathsheba with several inspiring articles and case studies featuring women in engineering across everything from drones in agriculture, to the subways of New York and the recent developments in timber buildings. LA Services’ Macquarie University Graduate engineer Raaid Allam then took over, walking Bathsheba through design processes and how problems are approach, they then put this into practice by designing and modelling a phone case. They also spent quite a bit of time talking about the different engineering disciplines and exploring her reasons for choosing civil and Raaid’s for mechanical.

Day two took a closer look at LA Services and how the different engineers its employees contribute to delivering its products and services. Bathsheba was introduced to everyone and given a brief overview of how projects are transformed from an enquiry to the finished product. Raaid also explained different steel manufacturing methods from heavy forging and how they are used in pressure equipment to how the future might look using

3D metal printing, augmented reality and machine learning. Taking Bathsheba through the various processes used in manufacturing and the engineering behind these such as supply chain & material integrity, project management, design and data visualisation helped her to understand the diversity of an engineering career, the required team work in problem solving and how engineering disciplines are crossing over as technology blurs the lines between industries, products and services.

Over the course of the two days Bathsheba impressed everyone at LA Services with her questions and curiosity about the world around her. Raaid summed up his time with her through the following quote “Bathsheba is she is driven and ambitious, I can see her going to university to study either structural or civil engineering. I think the future looks bright for Bathsheba, and I wish her the very best with her travels.”

LA Services would like to also wish Bathsheba all the best in her upcoming HSC and securing her dream of becoming an engineer. We are also grateful to Liverpool Girls High for supporting our ambition to assist the next generation of employees by allowing them to experience engineered-to-order manufacturing to help them make informed decision about their future careers.

Key Industry Education Partners, Big Picture Education Australia & Skills of Australia.

Recently one of LA Services’ key industry education partners Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) arranged a meeting with PwC’s Sara Caplan, CEO – Skills of Australia to discuss BPEA’s project based learning and internship model. Viv White & John Hogan (BPEA founders) invited LA Services’ GM David Fox along with two Year 10 Liverpool Boys High School (LBHS) students, including David Phan LA Services’ intern, the deputy principal of LBHS Mel Gorman and two year 12 students and their advisor from Cook Hill Campus, an annex to Newcastle High School.

The meeting was held in PwC’s Barangaroo Tower corporate office, and was quite the experience for all the attendees. During the meeting Sara Caplan spend time listening to all the students talk about their BPEA internships and the benefits they gained from this innovative learning platform. It is hope BPEA will be able to gain some form of funding to assist their scaling efforts to bring this learning concept to more students and willing business.

For LA Services the flexibility of BPEA internship platform is allowing us to integrate students into our innovation projects bringing fresh thinking to new problem and in the process exposing the next generation to what advanced manufacturing is and what it might look like as a career option.

LA Services – Partners with education sector to inspire jobs for future generations

Australia Manufacturing Growth Centre – AMGC, recently interviewed LA Services’ General Manager, David Fox regarding the company’s industry-education engagement activities. The high school & university collaboration effort is focused on creating an image around manufacturing and the inspiring jobs it will offer future generations, and in parallel, establishing a ‘skills building platform’ for the company to support its trade growth and I4.0 capability ambitions.

LA Services – ABC – Interview staff skills shortage – David Fox

Businesses worried they’ll be left behind due to staff skills shortage:

Click to Play

Australian businesses are racing to upskill their employees a mid fears of becoming obsolete or left behind in the digital and AI revolution.

A survey by the Australian Industry Group found that 75 per cent of employers are experiencing a skills shortage, particularly in science and technology, business automation and artificial intelligence.

And the pressure is now on vocational trainers to ensure graduates are trained up and ready for the future workforce.

Duration: 3min 4sec Broadcast: Wed 12 Sep 2018, 8:21am


Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group
David Fox, general manager of LA Services
Toby Walsh, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW