Chained Up

Chained Up

Member Peter Nuttall had this recent article published in NETT Magazine.

Small beginnings are often the very best kind… just ask Peter Nuttall from RUD Chains. From a humble family business that started under a house in suburban Brisbane, Peter is now driving a multi-million dollar company with offices in Australia, NZ and the South Pacific.

What’s the name of your company?
My business is RUD Chains, and we import and wholesale mining and industrial related products and have recently started fabrication and manufacturing of complete systems.

How long have you been in business?
We are currently a subsidiary of a family business called RUD Ketten Fabrik GMBH, a German company that was started in 1875 and is now on their fifth generation. We are the Australian arm of the company.
My father started the business in 1984 from under our house in Macgregor here in Brisbane, and in 1986 he doubled the size of the workforce (to two people) when he hired me. From there, we have built the company up into a multi-national and multi-million dollar company with a turnover of $30 million annually and operated in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

What were you doing before you started this business?
Prior to working with my father, I held a role for 5.5 years with Southern Cross Machinery in a sales and marketing position.

How did the idea for your business come about?
My father was involved in earthmoving tyres for another company and RUD approached him to take on the business selling Tyre Protection chains for front end loaders. We started with one product selling throughout Australia / New Zealand and South Pacific, then introduced the lifting chains, mining chains and associated products in the following years.

What has been the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Creating a long-term, sustainable business through understanding and developing our niche and demonstrating value to our customers as our product is the most expensive in the market, due to highest German quality, technical support, innovative design and service. When you don’t have any brand recognition in the market, which we didn’t back then, it’s a long hard road (yet rewarding) to build to being the most respected in our field today.

What has been the most effective form of advertising for your business?
Our dedication to building relationships through face to face contact with our customers and prospects and getting our products specified in to drawings. Everything else is important (website, brochures, social engagement), although each is just one small part of the process – the big jigsaw puzzle which makes up the brand, differentiation and value.

How important is social media to your business?
Our industry is probably slower to take up some aspects of social media, however we have been working hard on our LinkedIN profiles for our team and also our business. We are also using YouTube for short clips on our business and products and developing new animation for industry training.

What do you think the Federal or State Government could do to help make it easier for small business?
Remove the red tape of doing business in Australia and standardising requirements and documentation between states and territories. We have our head office in Queensland, and brand offices in Perth and also Newcastle and the amount of duplication is killing our productivity and discouraging growth.

What are your plans to expand business?
We have seen an opportunity in the market to start providing complete solutions, rather than just products, and have purchased a new 6000m square facility with production capabilities. Although the government is not supporting manufacturing, which seems to be a dirty word, we see opportunities for our high quality solutions of special one-off requirements.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Part of the business growth and success achieved has been due to my involvement in EO (Entrepreneurs Organisation) over the last eight years, in which time our business has tripled in revenue.

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