ADI will restructure operations in Bendigo due to the completion of a number of key defence contracts.
The business outlook for ADI's Bendigo facility has been exacerbated by the low level of activity in the heavy engineering sector. Further, the situation has been complicated by future uncertainties associated with the Department of Defence capital equipment budget and a focus on future equipment that is outside of Bendigo's supply capabilities.
Given the downturn in traditional business, the time to bring to production new products and the change in the nature of work performed, management has advised staff and unions that 44 positions are to be made redundant.
Historically, the Bendigo facility has produced complex mechanical defence equipment, building up a comprehensive in-house capability with sufficient projects in hand to provide a reasonably stable level of activity.
The last ten years have seen an erosion of defence work continuity and the facility has had to face numerous peaks and troughs in demand. To counter this cyclical workload, the facility has entered into a long-term agreement with GE for the supply of the LM2500 marine module, development of the Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicle and the High Speed Engineering Vehicle for Army. The ADI facility has also produced the FireKing - a specialist fire fighting, crew safe vehicle.
Manufacture and supply of the GE LM2500 marine module is now part of regular production, with the High Speed Engineering Vehicle and Bushmaster vehicles presently being tooled up for production. The first production High Speed Engineering Vehicle will be delivered in September of this year and Bushmaster deliveries will commence from mid 2001.
The introduction of new products has seen a change in the nature of work undertaken at the Bendigo facility from labour intensive to material dominance and logistics.
To manage work peaks in the future, the facility proposes to develop a network of local sub-contractors and will be holding a workshop with local businesses to build a supplier database and awareness of partnering opportunities.
ADI will continue to train and develop young people through apprenticeships and traineeships to meet the changing needs of the business.