Rod Murphy, managing director of R&R Murphy at Gateshead, believes firmly in the future of manufacturing.
He is also an advocate for continual improvement and diversification, major lessons learned five years ago when exposure to a single industry, mining, threatened the viability of his business.
“The mining boom went bust and I realised the most important part of any business journey is to not rely wholely and solely on one industry,” Rod said.
“You need to diversify in order to be able to ride out those ups and downs.”
R&R Murphy famously bit the bullet, drew up a business plan and created business criteria to future-proof the business moving forward.
Rewards came on many level, not the least being named Manufacturer of the Year in 2016.
His company these day works across defence, architecture, transport maintenance, infrastructure as well as having substantial involvement in mining, manufacturing anything, from light sheet metal work up to heavy fabrication, using aluminium, stainless steel and mild steel.
This year his business is nominated in the Innovation and Global Supply Chain categories for an innovative three-wheel coffee bike Rod feels is a testament to the ingenuity of Hunter-based companies.
“It’s essentially a coffee shop on a three-wheel bike – self contained, solar powered, hot and cold water, 32-litre fridge, double coffee grinder, waste storage.
“It’s an amazing thing and I believe it has wide application across many areas, both domestically and abroad.”
The project has been 13 months in the making and required collaboration on many fronts with designers, council, and local companies like solar specialists Enerdrive and electrical business Bell Swan.
“The end result is it out there working in the Hunter and it’s turning heads,” Rod said.
“It was wide applications in the environment of renewables and sustainability.
“We recently attended a market and made 350 coffees in six hours with full load on power and only used 14 per cent of storage because it’s recharging itself.
“If there’s no sun, the system would run for approximately 8 hours. You can charge it with a generator if you want, or off mains. But it runs off the lithium battery which the solar charges up.”
Rod is a major supporter of the HMA Awards and believes they are an effective means of getting the brand out there and showing what the region has to offer.
“There so much innovation and smarts in the region, and this is a great way of promoting it beyond the Hunter,” he said.
“The difference our win in 2016 had for us in terms of credibility and exposure in the market place was amazing.”