Facility set to boost Kelly

EXPANDING: Shane Kelly, managing director with CEO, Calvin Stead.
EXPANDING: Shane Kelly, managing director with CEO, Calvin Stead.

Kelly Engineering, from Booleroo Centre have experienced a rapid demand in business for their tillage system and will be spending close to $1 million on a new research and development facility, which is expected to create a pipeline of new products over the next decade. 

The family owned company have recognised that they have changed direction and want to invest in research and development in order to provide better facilities and capabilities; especially in regards to their engineering. 

Managing Director, Shane Kelly says rather than just focusing on being a manufacturing company, they want the dual focus of development and manufacturing. 

“We have been very good and focused in production to meet demand and we have recognised that we have changed direction a little to invest in research and development, to deliberately provide better facilities and capabilities in that area.”

“With the focus on R&D, we want to be a supply chain, R&D product development company, rather than just a manufacturing company, we need both capabilities.”

The works are expected to take up to a year, and will see a re-purposing of their current facilities to reflect that of a R&D facility. 

“When anybody including the staff walk into the business, it looks like an R&D facility. They can see and be apart of what we are working on with new product and that can then transition directly into the production facility.”

“The two different areas don’t naturally gel really well. They are different mindsets and different processes and to be able to provide this R&D capability with an ability to get the guys from production in and use their expertise and experience in developing new production ready products, it is really important to us.” 

Kelly Engineering have a simple principal of improving soil health now, for generations to come and they hope this new facility will be the starting point to the next 15 years of products. 

The company’s growth is exponential, and in 2006 they entered the overseas market, starting with the United States and they have since grown to 20 overseas countries, including signing to marketing and promotions in South Africa. 

Mr Kelly says the business has goals of driving growth to significant levels, and although they probably will not experience the growth they had when they first entered the international market, they do expect a reasonable amount of growth. 

“We would like to double the size of the business over the next three to five years and that informs the decisions we make in investments now, the staffing that we need, the direction we are taking and which markets we are trying to access and it keeps us really focused on the product that we have got.”

As the company continues to expand, they have not forgotten where it all started and with many local students employed under apprenticeships, they will still continue to provide sustainable and continuous employment in Booleroo Centre, something highly valued by the family.

“It is really important for us as a family to provide opportunities here and we are really proud that we continue to do that. We have also had to balance that with the growth within the business has meant new skills like engineering, management and finance, and other areas that we are not necessarily able to find locally.”

The team now have a hybrid mix where they have staff working in Adelaide and also locally, in addition to creating a workforce around the world to support their marketing.