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Case Study

Smart Factory Consulting at Rowland Metalworks


Making Manufacturing efficient, agile and resilient through Innovations

In today’s competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever to be efficient and productive in your operations. Equipment manufacturers recognise this and are offering more and more complex solutions to support the needs of the market. It seems there is a solution for every possible scenario, but this also creates a bewildering array of choice for you to assess.

Headland Technology is dedicated to helping our clients evaluate their current business and identify areas for improvement. If you are looking to support the growth of your business, improve your production efficiencies, or if you just need to understand your current effectiveness, the Headland team can support you. We can help you to drive business value and stay ahead of your competition.

What is Smart Factory Consulting?

The key focus of Smart Factory consulting can be described in the four main steps of the process:

Assess the Current Business Status: We take the time to study your existing direct and indirect processes and listen to the key people in your organisation. This enables us to understand your business and recognise both its strengths and the challenges it faces

Understand the Business Objectives: Knowledge of the short-term and long-term goals of the business is key to defining a ‘future state’ and the steps to achieving this

Short Term Improvements (‘Quick Wins’): Immediate and measurable improvements can often be achieved through minor process alterations, such as changes in material flow or minor factory layout modifications. These ‘quick wins’ provide the team with positive feedback and create momentum to help drive more significant change.

Future Investments: Implementation of new technologies (equipment, software and/or systems) that will help maximise the potential of your business and drive it toward your long-term goals. We focus on finding the right solutions for your business, based on data gathering and analysis.

Headland Technology has a team of Smart Factory experts with a strong practical background, having worked previously in various manufacturing businesses. They understand and can relate to the challenges being faced by modern manufacturing facilities.

The team also has a deep knowledge of the latest available manufacturing technologies, through access to our broad supplier base and from witnessing these technologies in use at production facilities locally and globally.

This combination of knowledge and experience, along with access to additional expertise in our supplier network, enables the team to provide a broad range of solutions to the challenges they encounter when assessing your business.

About Rowland Metalworks

Rowlands Metalworks is a well established South Australian business, having been in operation since 1956. They are a dynamic, fully integrated sheet metal company, with cutting, folding, welding, coating and assembly processes. In 2009 Rowlands moved into a new purpose-built factory of 2500m2 and they have since invested significantly in modern equipment (including TRUMPF laser, punch and folding equipment) and technologies such as CAD/CAM software. With their current skills and capabilities, they service customers in a diverse range of industries, including Automotive & Transport, Building & Construction, Defence, Electronics & Communication, Agriculture, Medical & Health, Mining and Energy. With a combination of skilled employees, robust processes and sophisticated equipment, Rowlands has developed into a highly successful business with a reputation for quality products, cost effectiveness and timely delivery.


Having driven significant growth in the business over the past 10 years, Rowlands MD Cameron Johnston is now considering how to evolve his business to drive and manage further growth, whilst retaining the key elements of Rowlands that have made it successful. He recognises that further growth is achievable with the existing facilities by driving business efficiency and effectiveness and was looking for the support of an external partner to identify the specific areas of improvement in order to realise this objective. He invited the Headland team to spend a week embedded in the business, to help him identify the areas of the business that will most benefit from change.


Detailed analyses of the Rowlands processes provided a number of insights into material flows, information management and equipment utilisation. The Headland team were able to measure the performance of these aspects of the business and quantify the levels of improvement that can be achieved.

Over the course of three days, data was gathered through various methods, including swim lane analyses, spaghetti diagrams of material and information flow, multi-moment studies, material usage and equipment utilisation. A detailed report was generated, capturing the information that was gathered, the inputs from the Rowlands team, data analysis, and recommendations.


The recommendations can be grouped into short-term changes (quick wins) and longer-term improvements:

Quick wins included

  • Raw material storage changes, to improve access and increase inventory utilisation
  • Remnant storage and usage changes
  • Part separation and material handling improvements, to increase laser cutting uptime

Longer term improvements will include:

  • Factory layout changes (cutting and folding area) to enable larger material buffer zones and improved equipment access
  • Introduction of one new piece of capital equipment, to eliminate a production bottleneck
  • Implementation of MES software, to interface with the ERP system and drive higher production planning capacity across the whole factory

While some investment in new technologies has been recommended, this has been minimised through increased utilisation of existing assets and improvements in material flow. In addition, implementation of the quick wins will realise immediate benefits to the business, and the longer term investments will enable the business to support the future growth envisaged by Mr Johnston.

“We have engaged Headland as a manufacturing partner, to support us in delivering our growth objectives. The approach of the Headland team, in developing a deep understanding of our business and offering solutions that align with our needs, is exactly what we have been looking for.” “With the Headland team leading Rowlands Metalworks they will take us from good to great”. (Managing Director Cameron Johnston)

If you want to improve your business’s efficiencies, contact Headland today to see how we can help you streamline your operations and get ahead of the competition.

Our Experts

Matthew Malatt

Matthew Malatt

Business Unit Leader - Sheet Metal Division

1300 138 285