Dixon Manufacturing Ltd is a key example of how our members are actively diversifying their business model to react to local market conditions.
For over 30 years Dixon Manufacturing’s focus has been on the supply of stainless steel solutions for the transport infrastructure industry in marine related solutions. Providing a range of ladders, handrails and believe it or not…toasters – to the market. But ten years ago it all changed when they delved into the manufacturing side of the operation in a move that now allows them to better control their future pipeline and custom product development.
A global downturn in marine product sales didn’t see them sit still – actively diversifying into other industries such as dairy, construction and low volume vehicle components and other areas to successfully drive their business opportunities and reduce their reliance on any one sector.
With such a strong track record for proven quality in products and expertise, it’s no surprise they were approached to be a part of the Westhaven Marina project through Panuku Development Auckland to supply marine grade 316 stainless steel ladders for upgrade works.
What makes this story particularly unique is Dixon Manufacturing’s ability to think outside the box. Recognising that their expertise and machinery could offer more to the project than just ladders – they were able to offer smarter solutions for the repair of other marina infrastructure, suggesting new products and designs to better meet client needs.
The result – flexible, bespoke services that truly strengthen New Zealand’s reputation for quality products and specialist expertise in the stainless steel fabrication sector.
Case study: Westhaven Marina
Member: Dixon Manufacturing
Client: Panuku Development Auckland
Duration: Jan 2016 – Ongoing (maintenance)
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Project value: NZD$500K per year
Dixon Manufacturing provided cost effective and innovative redesign solutions for the repair of Auckland’s iconic Westhaven Marina – overall, improving the durability and lifespan of their clients existing infrastructure.
The largest marina in the southern hemisphere, Westhaven forms an iconic part of not only the Hauraki Gulf, but Auckland’s ‘City of Sails’ culture – as the home to over 2000 boats and a vibrant marine industry in the heart of the city.
Earmarked as an integral part of Panuku Development Auckland’s Westhaven Plan to improve facilities for boat owners and the way water space is utilised – ensuring the marina’s existing infrastructure was safe and able to cope with predicted increases in load and demand was imperative. However, after being in operation for more than 70 years, finding cost effective and suitable material replacements able to withstand the elements and heavy duty use was a must.
As a busy boating facility, works also had to be delivered in a live environment with as little disruption to users as possible – following a gradual upgrade program over time.
Traditionally the marina utilised galvanised steel in its structures due to its protective coating of zinc making it corrosion resistant when exposed to moisture. Dixons were able to demonstrate stainless steel was a much better option due to its chromium make up ensuring a protective layer is always in place, in comparison to galvanized steels coating which eventually wears away – providing a stronger, longer lasting and cost effective material substitute, supported by detailed cost comparisons for the client.
Dixon’s consultation during the pre-production stage led to simple redesign elements that made a real difference, such as slotting frames instead of bolting them. This not only made the marinas frames more adaptive, but reduced installation time by avoiding the need to re-drill bolt holes – minimising disruption to the public and allowing Dixon to effectively meet project deadlines through a phased delivery approach.
Dixon Manufacturing’s strong consultation engagement has led to the delivery of several project improvements – providing valuable cost savings across the life of the project with robust material use and clever design.
So far their contributions to Westhavens promenade, Y and Z pier and pile mooring development will help their clients achieve plans to ensure the marina can support future growth over the next 30 years – with their success now seeing them extend services to other marinas throughout New Zealand under the endorsement of the Marina Operators Association.