Diversification is the key to success. This is the mantra that transformed FITT Resources from a small-scale pump supplier into a holistic distributor of mechanical engineering products and parts, offering onsite servicing throughout Australia. Established in 2008 by Directors Jason Lynch and Benn Marsh, and Managing Director Greg Fowler, over the past 10 years the company’s revenue has skyrocketed from A$6.3 million to nearly A$24 million. Its customer base has also grown significantly.
“The diversification of our industry has, in turn, pushed us to diversify,” Jason explains. “One of the most noticeable changes we’ve seen is the shift in the ratio of sales to service. Back in 2008, we had a sales to service ratio of 80:20; now it’s around 60:40. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination to grow, but we’re proud of where we sit in the market today,” notes Greg.
After working together at Chesterton, a leader in pump and valve sealing solutions, Jason, Benn and Greg seized the opportunity to procure its Australian distribution. “However, we knew that industrial sales were a changing environment and to successfully sell our product, we needed a service arm to go with it,” Jason explains. “So, we purchased a small servicing company to go with our product offering and paid a marketing company – probably too much money – to come up with the name, FITT Resources. It stems from a mechanical engineering term and it has great meaning for us because we’re a combination of three companies that, pardon the pun, make a good fit.”
With specialist experience across key industry sectors including water reduction and management, equipment servicing, product supply and training, inventory management, and procurement solutions, FITT offers much more than a simple repair service.
“Over the past decade, we’ve seen an increase in the number of cheap trade imports coming into Australia and the number of players in the market – not to mention huge advancements in technology,” Jason explains. “That’s why we’re so focused on continuous improvement and creating a quality product that’s going to last – it’s something that’s been drilled into us since our Chesterton days.”
“The same goes for our philosophy towards partnerships,” adds Greg. “Ten years ago, customers would buy our product, tire it out, and then come back to buy more. Now, there’s a total value-adding life cycle attached to the product they buy. We’re there at every stage to train their branches in the operation of equipment and maintenance, and we provide warranty and spare parts support. We can no longer rely on price reduction or price differentiation because, at the end of the day, the customer is looking for a long-term relationship built on trust and reliability.”
FITT Resources boasts an experienced team of project managers, engineers, technical and trade specialists, as well as a comprehensive workshop facility that includes a fully integrated blasting room and pump testing rig. Since day one, the business has had the same vision and mission statement: to drive quality, dependability, innovation and customer-focused outcomes throughout the business.
“We treat each other with respect, we have open and honest communication, and we empower people to take control of their own destiny. We’re also a very flat organisation – we don’t sit in our ivory tower and call the shots. To succeed in this market, you have to physically work in it,” explains Greg.
“We’re also a very flat organisation – we don’t sit in our ivory tower and call the shots.”
“We’ve always had a philosophy of surrounding ourselves with people who know more than us or have complementary skill sets,” Jason adds. “A very real challenge for us moving forward is attracting young people to our industry, because it’s not sexy like IT, marketing or sales. So, we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities, whether that might be the acquisition of a smaller company, a new distribution agreement, or even the opportunity to manufacture our own products.”
Greg explains that the management team sets business goals every three years. “Given all of the changes going on in the industry, we find it hard to look any further ahead than that. In 2014, we decided that we wanted to be a A$20 million company by 2020,” he recalls. “But we’re already at almost A$24 million this year. So, we set a new goal to reach A$50 million by 2021. We’ll achieve this through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions and manufacturing.”
Greg: “I look at the retention of resources, key people and, most importantly, work–life balance. We spend around 70% of our lives at work, so you have to make sure you’re doing something worthwhile.”
Jason: “Business success is when you start earning a respectable reputation in the industry. We have customers that have been with each of us for up to 20 years. We have a genuine wish to help our customers and we get great feedback, so we must be doing something right.”