When he acquired Infastech Engineered Fastening in 2017, Glenn Heffernan saw real opportunity in niche areas of Australia’s manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. Two years on, he reflects on the growth of the company, and what it can offer the rail sector.
Glenn Heffernan joined Infastech Australia as its financial controller in 2003, and became managing director in 2011. US multinational Stanley Black & Decker bought the Infastech group of companies in 2013.
Heffernan acquired Infastech Australia through a management buyout in September 2017. 18 months on, he’s very happy with the move.
“I saw a brighter future for the company, and a great opportunity to service the manufacturing industry in Australia,” Heffernan tells Rail Express. “When everyone else was looking at doom and gloom for the Australian manufacturing industry, I saw an excellent opportunity in niche markets and decided to focus my energy on servicing them.”
Among those markets, Heffernan saw rail and rollingstock manufacturing as key opportunities for a company like Infastech.
“We saw the expansion of the rail industry around Australia with the growing population,” he recalls. “And for us that was very broad: the construction of track and overhead infrastructure, railway stations, carriages, really the whole range.”
Heffernan’s outlook for rail has stayed positive since originally making that prediction. “I think as the population continues to grow there will be a lot more money spent by governments on passenger rail,” he says. “Over the last decade it was all about regional and freight rail construction, but as our population grows and our roads get more choked up, there’s a huge opportunity for public transport in general, trains in particular.”
Heffernan’s thoughts on the manufacturing sector are positive as well.
“Manufacturing over the last couple of years has had a bit of growth in Australia,” he says. “It definitely hasn’t deteriorated, or shrunk any further. The outflux of manufacturing we had going to other countries has slowed down from what I’ve seen, and local manufacturers are using their knowledge and expertise to do things a little differently, and I’m proud to be supporting them.”
As the exclusive distributor for Stanley Engineered Fastening (part of Stanley Black & Decker) covering Australia and New Zealand, Infastech Engineered Fastening offers a range of fastening solutions that are ideal for both the manufacturing and maintenance of wagons and rollingstock, as well as numerous track applications, such as turnouts and transoms.
Another of Infastech’s key points of difference is its capacity to provide tailored solutions to unique problems. Heffernan says Infastech leverages its own engineering department to directly overcome obstacles for its customers.
“We try to help customers with their problems rather than just getting them to buy from a catalogue,” he explains. “We’ll go and look at a customer’s production line, work out where their problems are, and work closely with them towards a solution We even design our own application-specific fasteners and design, build and install customised production tools. This gives our customers the flexibility to have the perfect turn-key package for their new project rather than settling for second best.”
Heffernan speaks highly of Infastech’s former owners, and maintains strong relationships with them globally. He explains, “Infastech Engineered Fastening’s new status in Australia as a local business means it can adapt to customers faster and more effectively, while still having access to the support and resources of a giant like Stanley.
“We’re no longer a global company, which makes us agile and very, very customer focused,” he says. “Sometimes at a large multinational change can be slow, but things happen very quickly around here these days.
“For us, as a local company, decisions are made locally. They’re made quickly. And they’re all to service our customers.”