“Of course, when it comes to steel in Australia, we are very happy to be able to buy Australian.”

About 30 kms south west of the Perth CBD, the Australian Marine Complex in the suburb of Henderson is home to a huge defence force. It is obviously no ordinary suburb.

One of the major organisations with a presence in Henderson is BAE Systems, a large premier international defence, aerospace and security company. At Henderson, with a local workforce of some 400 people, BAE Systems designs, manufactures and supports upgrades to complex surface ships and combat systems. The company also provides ship repair, maintenance services for the Australian Defence Force and commercial sector.

In Australia, BAE Systems offers advanced defence technology to protect people and national security, and keeps vital information and infrastructure secure. It is a company that’s always on the lookout for new ways to provide a
competitive edge. It has long enjoyed a valuable relationship with BlueScope Distribution on the back of our ability to source a complete range of steel and aluminium products, inhouse processing capability and second to none project management solutions required to provide complete solutions to support BAE’s defence project pipeline.

Strong Australian product orientation

The Procurement Lead at BAE Systems, Brian Davis, explains that the company has a strong Australian product orientation.

The company deals mostly with government contracts and tenders for the Australian defence force and focuses their supply chain to support local and national suppliers as a priority.

At present, Brian’s work is primarily concerned with procuring everything that’s needed for the maintenance and upgrade of the Anzac-Class Frigates. “We are proud to work side by side the men and women who keep Australians safe,” says Brian Davis.

A current key project being delivered through the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA), which is an alliance between Defence, BAE Systems, Saab and NSM, is the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade. This involves upgrading all eight Anzac-Class warships for the Australian navy including the most recently completed, HMAS Warramunga.

Each of the eight warships is being equipped with new platform systems, new communication system and installation of a new long range radar that requires a new mast to be manufactured. All this work has to be completed within a tight time frame to meet the customers’ requirements.

For all this critically important work, BlueScope Distribution supplies a combination of steel and aluminium products. The aluminium is a special Grade 5083H116 product while the steel is high strength marine grade steel plate – XLERPLATE® steel and TRUSPEC® steel Grades D36 and 350G – that offers the special benefits that the warships require.

BlueScope Distribution provides steel plate plasma cutting and aluminium router processing services as per the specifications spelt out in the Request for Quote from BAE. BlueScope Distribution is also assisting BAE in the fabrication of the new Hunter-Class Frigates being manufactured in South Australia. (These will eventually take over from the AnzacClass range that have been in service since the mid-1990s).

A long-lasting relationship with BlueScope Distribution

BlueScope Distribution provides extensive project management capability to ensure BAE can source all of the steel and aluminium required for the complex projects they have to do. All elements of project management are covered including supply chain solutions and product storage. When the project management is coupled with quality products and extensive steel and aluminium custom processing, BlueScope Distribution is very much the one stop shop.

“We are lucky to have a strong and long-lasting relationship with BlueScope Distribution,” says Brian Davis, “for we are a product driven organisation and for us quality product, delivered on time, is absolutely essential. And we know we can rely on BlueScope Distribution.”

“Of course, when it comes to steel in Australia, we are very happy to be able to buy Australian. BlueScope manufactures their product in Australia and the quality speaks for itself.”

The Business Development Manager at BlueScope Distribution in Perth, Damien Corich says, “BAE Systems has very tight product tolerances and we manage a large amount of processed stock to ensure projects run smoothly. Various grades of steel plate and aluminium are cut to size, folded, drilled, etched and then transported specially for BAE Systems,” he explains.

“At BAE, we have a requirement for high quality products that meet a project deadline that is not flexible and, on this basis, we are very pleased to be able to rely on BlueScope Distribution,” says Brian Davis, who has, himself, been dealing with the BlueScope Distribution team in Perth for four years.

“As well as quality and timeliness, we also need our suppliers to be sharp about value for money,” he adds. “And on this criteria also, BlueScope Distribution is always alert to the situation and in touch with market movements.” The BAE Systems and BlueScope Distribution partnership is a winner that’s good for all parties: BAE, BlueScope Distribution, the Australian Navy and ultimately, the total Australian population.

Download Case Study: BlueScope Distribution, partnering with BAE Systems for Australia’s defence

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