By Patrick Avenell
Somewhere in the Indian Ocean is a ship loaded with Chef, Westinghouse and Electrolux ovens; en route to South Africa. These appliances were assembled in a manufacturing plant in Dudley Park, South Australia, and represent the first batch of Australian made ovens to be exported from this facility to an overseas territory.
At a ceremony to mark the occasion, Edward Lawley, general manager of Adelaide manufacturing at Electrolux Home Products, oversaw the loading of the final oven on the truck that will ship the cargo to the docks at Port Adelaide, where it will transported first to Singapore and then onto South Africa for sale to end users.
Watching on at this event were South Australia Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Tom Kenyon, a contingent of Electrolux executives from the Asia Pacific region and several hundred factory workers.
“Today is an exciting day for the factory and the people who work here and throughout Electrolux operations throughout Australia,” said Lawley. “This shipment of export ovens – the first of many more we believe will come – is a ringing endorsement of the design, features and quality of our appliances, which have been designed, engineered, manufactured and assembled in this plant.”
Lawley said there were 500 workers currently employed in the Dudley Park facility, which can produce 1,500 Chef, Westinghouse and Electrolux branded ovens per day.
Minister Kenyon said it was “wonderful” to see locally produced appliances being exported, especially at a time when several major automobile brands have announced withdrawals from Australian manufacturing.
“There is a lot of talk at the moment about manufacturing, and how [Australian] manufacturing is terrible and how manufacturing is never going to work, and that we can’t do manufacturing in Australia – well that is bollocks – of course we can do manufacturing in Australia,” Kenyon said in his address to the workers.
Having secured this export program from South Africa, Lawley announced plans to widen Electrolux’s global distribution network, which is set to expand to the Middle East.
“We have now finished quoting for Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Yemen; and the quoted prices have been accepted,” he said. “We are just working through the logistics costs of getting them to the Middle East, but I am sure that will be a successful export as well.”
Lawley and Kenyon close the doors on the truck laden with appliances bound for South Africa.