Cool idea, hot delivery
Monday, November 19, 2007/
See the video of Frank Seeley of Seeley International, maker of evaporative coolers and heating units, including Breezair, Braemar, Coolair and Convair.
Frank Seeley of Seeley International started his business making evaporative coolers from his Adelaide backyard garage in 1972. But it wasn’t just another cooling machine that Frank came up with, as he developed the first fully portable plastic evaporative air cooler.
After four steady years of slowly increasing orders, the company suffered the big setback of a fire in its main factory. Although Seeley was back into production in a week, the company suffered another setback barely six weeks later – another fire, but in another factory. Again, production was up again in a week.
Getting into the export market was made a lot easier through simplifying the product, as Frank had latched on to the idea that reducing costs could be most effectively be done by manufacturing less individual parts, and in this case that meant reducing the parts required to make each cooler. With that in mind, the design of the next model reduced the machine’s parts from around 390 to about 56. The costs were taken right down.
Out-of-the-blue, an order came about because of a unit left by mistake in Iraq, which then resulted in an order for 40,000. The same source ordered about 100,000 units the very next year.
Sunday 8.30am Channel 9: Australia’s longest running growth business show. Practical business advice from Australia’s leading entrepreneurs applied to real-life businesses.