The 1980s also saw another major acquisition made by Varley, and it was one of largely unfamiliar territory; a step away from the usual ‘metal bashing’ upon which the company had built its reputation.
In 1985, Varley purchased Croft and Associates, an environmental consulting business. Varley was stretching into environmental engineering, renaming the newly acquired business ‘Envirosciences’, which focussed on the environmental impact of heavy engineering, and also computer software development – highly advanced for the age.
In addition, the majority of the existing Design and Project Management team was largely focussed on BHP work; however this was slowly drying up – the result being that many of the department would become redundant. Clem Jnr wasn’t keen on losing the expert staff that he had built so effectively, and so he created a new business: Invartech, which would act as an engineering consulting operation as well as providing design and engineering services to the wider engineering industry. The name ‘Invartech’ came from the words ‘innovation’, ‘Varley’ and ‘technology’.
Soon after in 1988, Varley Shelters Pty Ltd was also established. Varley won a contract to construct 165 medium maintenance shelters for the Australian Army to use during military operations. The prototypes were tested throughout 1988, with subsequent production commencing in 1989. The construction of the shelters was complex, with strict requirements having to be met. As issues arose, it became clear to management that they had bitten of more than they could chew, but they worked hard and found the solution.
Although the process of Varley’s first Defence project didn’t run smoothly, it was still a success and opened up another avenue for Varley to pursue. As a result of the continued hard work of Varley employees, the Australian Defence Department awarded Varley with their Quality Assurance Certificate in 1991; a major coup and instrumental in the future direction of Varley…
Stay tuned for more of the incredible Varley Story.