In the early 1990s, Varley’s management aimed to distance the company from its ‘metal bashing’ history by moving into areas such as aerospace and electronics.
By late 1990, work has started on what would be one of the longest ongoing contracts in Varley’s history – the design, manufacture and fit-out of rugged, lightweight military maintenance shelters for the Australian Army. The project lasted 4 years and offered a $12 million income.
Although this contract was a major coup and an important learning curve for the company, much of the diversification was too distant from existing expertise and the business struggled through this period. A portion of the Carrington facilities and also the Envirosciences arm of the company were sold to finance the expansion, and funds were loaned to assist. In short, Varley’s management team were looking into the future and thinking big, but in doing so were also contracting the company’s bottom line welfare in the meantime.
Staff turnover was relatively high at the time, meaning that some important crew members were moving on elsewhere. As a result, however, new employees entered the Varley scene to replace them – one of which was a young engineer by the name of Jeff Phillips…
Stay tuned for more of the incredible Varley Story.