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Victa lawnmowers: the Australian equation

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Updated: December 5, 2013

With lawn mowing season in full swing, the manufacturing facility at Briggs & Stratton in Moorebank, NSW, is a hive of activity, pumping out up to 9,000 mowers a week. And overall, the Moorebank facility produces between 165,000 and 205,000 Victa mowers a year.

Thirty-three permanent staff and up to 50 casuals are kept busy assembling the beloved and acclaimed Victa lawn mowers in the 9,000sqm facility which adjoins the company’s head office.

“Many people think everything is manufactured in China these days, but that’s not necessarily the case with Victa mowers,” says Hiren Parekh, plant manager at Briggs & Stratton. “Victa petrol powered push mowers and the vast majority of Victa power products continue to be assembled in Australia at our facility. And the mower decks are manufactured locally and then painted in our state-of-the-art powder coating paint shop.”

In addition, Australian-made nuts and bolts and plastic components are used on the lawnmowers.

It takes about 10 minutes to assemble each mower, depending on the model, with premium mowers taking up to 102 minutes to assemble and the team is able to ramp production up or down in a matter of two to three days, from 500 mowers to 2,000 mowers per day.

“Besides the Victa mowers, we also produce up to 4,000 Victa trimmers and 2,000 vacuums for the professional range,” adds Hiren.

Production is streamlined with a palletising robot that stacks mowers on the pallets. This saves having to manually transfer the mower boxes onto pallets for storage and transport.

Caring for the environment also plays a key role in the facility’s operation, and it has agreements to use reusable baskets and bins with local suppliers to reduce packaging.

Longevity
Briggs & Stratton has many long term, loyal manufacturing employees. In fact 20 out of 33 permanent staff have been employed there for over 20 years.

One such staff member, Liz Mitreska, has been employed by Victa for an impressive 35 years. Liz works on the main mower line, assembling the mowers with up to 20 parts per mower.

“We get rotated on the line about four times a day and I work on all parts of the mower, hand assembling the wheels, flaps, springs and handles plus other parts of the mowers,” Liz explains. “I really enjoy the camaraderie. The people I work with are great; there’s a really nice culture in the manufacturing facility that keeps me happy at work.”

Duy Phuc Do is another long term employee who will soon clock up 28 years. After 21 years of working on the manufacturing line, seven years ago Duy was promoted to Quality Control Technician.

“I studied mechanical engineering which really helps me in this role,” says Duy. “I work on the end of the line checking the finished mowers and parts. If necessary, I collaborate with the engineering department to fix any issues that may occur.

“I particularly enjoy learning and growing in this position. Also, my co-workers are a friendly bunch, which makes coming to work an enjoyable experience.”