Emu Australia aims to double production and increase workforce
With international shipping times dropping from months to weeks, Emu Australia aims to double production for local and international sales.
To do this, Emu Australia’s Factory Manager, Kristie Marsh, is looking for new craftspeople, as well as other Factory positions. So far, the search has been unsuccessful.
According to Marsh, the artisan UGG boot maker is a dying trade, with many of its employees being older generation.
This means that in addition to aiming to fill current vacancies, Marsh is also facing the retirement of some of its older employees in the coming years, which will add to the stress of filling positions.
“Right now I’m branching out and looking at recruitment agencies and just trying to find the right person.
“I am happy to invest time, training and money in the right candidates. Last week I had two girls with no sewing experience started.
“It’s just about branching out and seeing who actually wants a job; who can be loyal to the company and who wants to learn to sew?
“We hope to double what we are already doing, hence why we need more machinists and more factory workers.”
Part of the training process includes a three-month trial, during which trainees can get a feel for the job and how they fit into it. Marsh hopes to bring in more artisans and machinists to help ramp up production for next year.
“It’s the time of year when we train new people and it takes them three, four or five months. And that’s fine with me.
“But obviously both parties have to be happy with the progress and how everything is going.
“But I’m a little lenient in that sense because I understand that I can’t have people with experience or training. I have to work with what I have. »
The drive to increase the EMU workforce has been spurred by the success of trade over the past two years. According to Marsh, the pandemic has been a blessing for the company.
“Everyone was working from home and wanted to wear slippers and UGG boots. Sales have therefore increased throughout these two years and are now leveling off.
“These are always good numbers and it keeps the factory very busy.
“It’s a 12 month business because six months of the year we inflate for the northern hemisphere and then the other six months we produce for Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s a lot to juggle, but it’s a great job. I feel really proud and privileged to be able to work for an Australian company that is doing so well in these times and to be able to employ people.
“It’s not just the machinist I’m looking for, it’s also the people who cut the product and attach the soles to the garments made.
“There are so many other roles within the factory.”
Supply chains and the future
Due to heavy production at the end of 2021, Marsh said the company has managed to rack up plenty of inventory for the northern hemisphere. But when Emu Australia started shipping containers this year, they were given alarming transport time estimates
“At this point, we were told that a shipping container would take three or four months to get to America.”
Predictably, this news put the company under pressure, with Marsh fearing it might not meet its deadlines.
“We were just preparing as best we could and sending out as much stock as we could to meet those deadlines.”
However, Marsh reported that supply chain disruptions and delays are easing.
“The last batch of containers we sent to Europe were standard; that’s about 45 days on the water – and then America was about a month. So yes, it’s definitely better.
“I think it’s just a domino effect around the world. If you don’t have empty containers here, you can’t fill them and the shipping companies don’t have reservations.
“It’s difficult, because you have to take that into account. And with some raw materials and such, you need to consider transit time.
“Because if you don’t get the right raw material, you can’t make the product.
“It’s a great juggling act in a way.”
According to Marsh, Emu Australia managed to ship a record number of containers to North America and Europe this year. The product had entered warehouses, where it was then distributed to customers in those countries. The larger market of the two, Marsh said, is Europe.
“Europe is more primarily the continent that we send most of our inventory to, as we also have online stores in those countries as well.
“The United States is not far behind.
In light of this production boom, Emu Australia will launch another major marketing campaign to drive demand for Australian-made products.
“We have a big conference coming up with all of our sales reps and PR agencies in November,” Marsh revealed. “It’s just about creating more styles for Australian made collections so consumers, retailers and wholesalers have more options.
“We hope to double what we are already doing, which is why we need more machinists and more factory workers.
“It’s a positive thing because a lot of people want to buy Australian products these days.
“And I’m not biased, but our quality is amazing.”