Octek opens production line

Computer manufacturer Ocean Office Automation last week flicked the switch on its new production line at Silverwater in Sydney's west.

The company, which is best known for its Octek brand of PCs and equipment, opened its $250,000 processing plant as part of its ongoing expansion in system assembly.

Ocean sales manager Alex Chan said the new production line would treble the company's capacity and help make its dealers more competitive.

"It has got to the stage over the past couple of years where we don't have sufficient resources to cater to the needs of our customers - we needed to expand," he said. "That is why we put in the production line. It gives us a bigger capacity. It also allows us to give better service."

Production capacity will reach 150 systems a day under the new system, which has been specifically designed for the company, Chan said.

"The facility is designed to be quite flexible; if there is a volume order for the same configuration, it can be an assembly line. But in our business we have to build customised orders too so it is designed in such a way that one person can also build the whole system.

"At this point a lot of dealers in the channel are competing against the big guys who are going direct. We are trying to increase production and turnaround time so that they can compete."

The new plant will allow dealers to order a system and pick it up within three days. Chan said it was all about working closely with the channel and taking on the big vendors.

"Unfortunately the trend is that a lot of vendors are going direct. They are picking off the small dealers and there is not a lot they can do. The company also pays their dealers for service work carried out on its PCs."

Services money

"We are probably one of the few remaining companies in Australia that concentrate solely on supplying the channel and with the tiny margins they make nowadays, at least resellers can get some money from services," Chan added.

Ocean has no plans to open up similar facilities in other states because of the costs associated with stock inventory and shipping. The company is in the unusual position of being both manufacturer and assembler, with strategic alliances with the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Quantum.

"In a way it is expensive to have a plant like this. But we need a production line for better control.

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