Our best hires have been some people we've known through contacts.
We have some big customers and repeat customers, and they drive our businesses. Also, we have a number of customers that only ever buy one machine. Trade shows give you exposure to both people.
At times we've been slow to react to quality issues. We've tended to focus on technology and innovation and, as a company, have not been as focused on quality and reliability. This has caused our customers probably a level of unnecessary pain.
Keeping on the pace of innovation is an absolute treadmill. We spend a lot of money in research and development of a product and innovation, but it's a race you can't afford to relax in or suddenly you're running at the back of the field.
China? The scale of investment in manufacturing and capital goods in China has just been utterly unprecedented in world history. That's just been a continuous trend that's been going up and up both in terms of the degree of sophistication and the Chinese customers we're looking for, plus the scale of investment. But now the slowdown in China is one of the big issues. I think there is likely, in some segments, to be a significant flattening for a number of years.
The Apple supply chain and the scale of investment which has taken place in the supply chain is unbelievable. In the Apple products, there's an incredible amount of precision machining. If you take an iPhone – there's an enormous amount of precision machining that takes place in producing what is really a work of art.
We keep our head office in Australia because we're already here. We've got a very good infrastructure, we've got very good staff, and although it's expensive, it just makes sense to stay here.
The Australian government, by policy, gives absolutely no preference to Australian-owned firms, which is actually pretty unique in the world. Most countries will actually favour locally-owned companies as opposed to companies coming in from offshore. Having local companies with their head offices and their roots in Australia, I think, brings more significant benefits to the community than a fairly footloose branch office.
We are a private company with two owners, which is somewhat unusual. We've been in business together for close to 40 years. I’m from the background of a fairly academic type engineer, and my business partner has the trade background. So we've got quite complementary skills.