Indigenous Innovators in Western Sydney
Indigenous-owned DCL Engineering can attribute part of its long-standing growth and success to the decision to move its headquarters to Western Sydney.
This article was written by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
DCL Engineering is a 100% Indigenous-owned business that has been in operation for over 60 years. Ben Green, representing the third generation of his family to come up through the ranks of the business, says his father Greg Green’s decision to move the headquarters to Western Sydney is one of the key elements in its longstanding success.
DCL started as DC&L Engineering, a dry cleaning and laundry products and machinery repair operation, in Camperdown in 1959. Ben’s grandfather Bill was at the helm and his grandmother Mae looked after the books and accountancy work, working seven days a week. Over time, the business transitioned into machining and fabrication, while continuing with its trusted breakdown repairs, for the essential service industry in inner-city and country areas of NSW. Today, DCL enjoys an enviable reputation for servicing the industry in mechanical breakdown repairs and engineering all over Australia and overseas. Now with three branches, six divisions and 60 staff, its headquarters are in Fairfield East.
Recently, DCL was named as a finalist in the manufacturing category of the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence (WSABE).
Industries they service include construction, mining, infrastructure operations, steel manufacturing, cement, power generation, building maintenance industries and all of their sub industries. Ben says 80% are repeat customers across Australia.
“The relocation of the main business base to Fairfield East was really the big move in the early ’90s, along with renaming of the business to DCL Engineering,” Ben says. “We had to move to focus on mechanical engineering breakdowns to support our clients, as the industry was also moving to Western Sydney. This was a stepping stone, a physical move to enable us to further grow.”
“DCL was able to secure a big block in an area that had obvious potential, being located centrally in an industrial area just south of Parramatta, that could allow for easy access to all areas for the future of the business. It certainly met our needs allowing DCL to expand. Thirty years later, it is still the case, maybe even more so, with more and more customers basing themselves in Western Sydney.”
Ben says it’s an honour to be among the WSABE finalists, especially knowing how many innovative, hard-working and successful businesses are operating in the Western Sydney region.
“We’re proud of what DCL has achieved and delighted to be recognised.”
In the past year, DCL has created the Asset Integrity & Maintenance Support (AIMS) division in the business, which utilises the latest laser alignment technologies, mobile dynamic balancing, and on-site vibration analysis. The AIMS division is headed up by a respected DCL Engineering operator with 30+ years’ of experience in his field.
“We’ve also increased the number of apprentices and cadets across all three divisions to future-proof as we face growing demand and focused investment into customer site servicing capabilities, and to build a succession plan. DCL’s asset growth includes the acquisition of a new 8T Isuzu truck and eight new dedicated site service utility vehicles, two new forklifts including a 16-tonne machine, wire cutting CNC machinery, and Schenck Dynamic balancing machinery.”
In addition to its on-site capabilities, DCL’s extensive workshop capability sets it apart from many other businesses in NSW, because teams can bring projects back to the workshop, where they can work around the clock often to fix, instead of replace, expensive plant assets and equipment, including critical transmission equipment.
DCL has developed metal spraying technologies from its DCL Surface Engineering Department over the last 30 years.
“If we can use an arc spray, HVOF or PTA to restore damaged or worn components to their original dimensions, minimising replacement costs for our clients, as well as improving the lead time for the repairs, it’s a great result for our clients. It is a practical solution, rather than the inconvenience of long delays due to items being imported. Importantly, it fits with the sustainability goals of many of our clients, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of a replacement item.”
There aren’t many businesses like DCL that can provide transmission solutions in-house and on-site, so DCL is seen as a specialised operation solving its clients’ problems and keeping them operational during difficult breakdown situations.
As DCL has the capacity to take on repair and breakdown transmissions and machinery from start to finish, and maintain control in-house with its own company divisions, it can be efficient and cost effective in ways others can’t.
Ben says being a proud Wiradjuri man and part of an Indigenous business is a source of great pride. “We value our culture, and we value our people, and that includes everyone who works for us. We have people on our team who have been part of our long history for over 45 years. DCL is a family business, and everyone employed at DCL is treated like family. It’s a nice place to work – that’s important to us.”
It’s also important to the business to have trust-based relationships with advisers, including their bank. DCL Engineering has been with CommBank since 1958, when Bill Green worked with the Camperdown branch. Ben says the combination of the resources of a big bank and the personal touch of a dedicated banker is has been critical to the strong relationship and support.
“Even though we have had different bankers over the years, we have always had an excellent relationship where we felt like we were dealing with a person, not an institution. Knowing that you have someone on your side, who really understands business, can really lighten the load. Starting new divisions, increasing cash flow from increased turnover, opening new factories, increasing headcount – they are all big steps. Knowing you have that person from the Bank who already gets your business, that’s one less thing to worry about.”
DCL Engineering fell into the ‘essential service’ category during Covid-19, but even so, Ben is looking forward to what comes next, including continuing to take on local staff and building capability through mechanical engineering apprenticeships, traineeships for undergraduate engineers and other workplace training programs.
“DCL has trained over 100 apprentices over our 60 years, and we also take on graduate engineers from local universities and offer work placements when we can. It’s good for us because it allows us to build the pool of skilled trades that we need, but it’s also about contributing to this region. We’re very proud that the heart of our business is in Western Sydney, and we are excited to grow along with the region.”
This article was written by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The original article can be found here.