You are invited to connect at The Victorian Vernier Society monthly meeting is on Thursday the 13th of June at Kooyong Tennis Club:
Ben Schultz, co-founder & managing director of Bastion Cycles.
Ben is a mechanical engineer with experience in advanced automotive development.
He has developed a custom engineered high performance bike.
The Bastion cycles are manufactured in Melbourne and exported to Europe, USA, Canada and Asia.
Bastion is driven by a passion for quality and the pursuit of excellence.
REVIEW OF VERNIER SOCIETY JUNE SPEAKER
Bastion Cycles aim to lead the peloton with 3 Aussie advantages
It was a worry for the organisers when one of the two speakers planned for Vernier’s June meeting spotlighting ‘boutique businesses’ dropped out at the last minute but an emerging Melbourne SME “Bastion Cycles” took the lead and the deserved podium prize in front of admiring spectators at Kooyong Tennis Club! Co-Founder Ben Schultz took his audience for an exciting ride explaining how a passion when blended with solid business tools is driving this emerging Australian business to be a global tour de force.
In 2015, when Toyota announced the last of the Automotive closure trifecta, many saw it as the end for Australian manufacturing but 3 young, bright Toyota engineers, armed with their generous severances, saw it as a real opportunity. Four years down the track, Bastion Cycles have just taken order number 180 and now export bespoke road cycles into 16 countries!
With strategies that epitomise the message for Australian businesses emerging or reinventing themselves after the decline of the traditional industries; Schultz explained how Bastion built its business model on 3 frame points:
Operate in a niche of the market. In this case Schultz and co. cleverly tied this to a perceived Australian advantage – sporting prowess – streamlined to their passion for cycling. This would ease the entry perception into a global market. Yet while Australia can boast of cyclists per capita, their real attraction for volume traction had to be the US and Europe.
Implement advanced manufacturing techniques as a differentiator. Through their Toyota experiences they understood the possibilities of non-traditional materials, such as carbon fibre and additive manufacturing and now have a racing machine that differentiates itself through the extensive use and promotion of these materials.
The pride in being ‘Australia Made’ reflected in their branding message “its time to talk reshoring”. With the high cost of labour in this country, manufacturing had not only to be advanced but automated and additive manufacturing added traction to controlling production costs. Initially, Bastion sourced off-shore from NZ with their early adopter 3D metal manufacturers. Then this year, when the resources were right, Bastion purchased their own machine from UK company, ‘Renishaw’; whose technology, local subsidiary technical knowledge and support were decisive factors and have allowed Renishaw to be a major force in the Australasian 3D market.
The bespoke performance bicycle is a niche but growing market globally, so another of Bastion’s challenges was how to gain brand traction internationally and for this Bastion had two interrelated tactics; the use of globalised ‘social media’ as a very cost effective marketing vehicle and the careful choice of international outlets already operating in this niche. These 16 global retailers reach 26 countries and are essential not only ensuring the bespoke customisation but in reflecting the technical differentiation of the brand.
Schultz’s presentation left the Vernier audience with much to admire about this expanding boutique business and his handling of an extended victory lap of Q&A was well appreciated. One of the most penetrative and somewhat surprising facts provided was Bastion’s biggest potential market – Asia! It seems that, as occurred in Australia, cycling is eclipsing golf as the ubiquitous pastime for business people who can afford the high point prices. While Asian roads appear more like gladiatorial race tracks to the uninitiated, Schultz pointed out that riding is safer because it demands 100% concentration from the cyclist! It is this 100% concentration on the road ahead that will continue to make Bastion a winner!
The Vernier Promise!
At Vernier you will:
• Connect and Network with business leaders
• Associate with people who share your interests
• Gain insights and knowledge from authoritive keynote speakers
• Develop and grow your leadership and business prospects
• Promote the sustainability of the Australian manufacturing industry