Otago Sheetmetal and Engineering Ltd

Investment in technology builds creativity

  • Otago Sheetmetal

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When Ian and Susan Moran bought Otago Sheetmetal and Engineering Ltd (OS&E) in 1995, they had their work cut out for them.

“Dunedin was in the doldrums at that time,” says Ian. “Many businesses were closing, there were lots of layoffs and industry was flat. OS&E was a fairly rundown business that did straightforward jobbing work like letterboxes. However, we knew that we could turn the business around and with the small client list we inherited, we had cashflow from the outset which helped us enormously,” he says.

Seventeen years later and it’s a very different business that greets people in Willis Street. Major investment in equipment and technologies has enabled the business to expand, offering a range of niche architectural services as well as conventional engineering and fabrication work. Staff numbers have increased from two to twelve and Ian is keen to stress the importance of keeping up with technology.

“Investment has been the key to our business’s success. Having a mandrel tube bender, Wiedemann Turret Punch, CNC Plasma cutter and water cutter, means we can offer a range of services that were previously not available locally,” he says.

OS&E’s impressive client list now includes the region’s leading architects, University of Otago and the Otago Museum, the latter for whom the company has a diverse brief. “We have been working with the Museum for a number of years and the jobs are always different. From simple attachment wires to major display structures – we do it all!”

For Ian, the secret of his business’ success is simple; focus on your own business, not on the competition.

“It’s something I learnt early on working for a large company. They spent a lot of time worrying about their competition, which ultimately took the focus off what they were doing.

Often that means you are not paying attention to progressing your own business. Focus on what you do and do it well is our mantra,” Ian explains.

For the past 17 years, Markhams Clarke Craw director David Russell has been working with the Morans, a relationship that began with a complimentary hour consultation.

“I took up the offer of a free advice session with David and we struck up an excellent rapport immediately,” says Ian.

“David understood our business from the beginning. He gave us excellent advice and through working together for nearly two decades, he has become part of our team.”

David does the company’s accounts and he and Ian get together during the year to discuss the company’s progress. With his portfolio of transport, industrial and construction clients, David is an invaluable asset to the business.

“David’s feedback is important as he has an overview of what is actually happening in the local business environment. When we know what’s happening locally, we can get a feel for where our business fits in. Even with the recession, we are positive we can continue to increase our offering and continue to invest in new technology. We do this by finding creative solutions to every job and not restrict ourselves, whether it’s a pipe, a staircase or a work of art.

“If you think it, we can create it.”


Published Winter 2012.

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