Case Study

Automotive Diversification grant helps Sonnex grow

A Tier 1 supplier of services to Holden, Elizabeth-based manufacturer Sonnex Pty Ltd received a $417,500 state-government grant as part of the Automotive Supplier Diversification Program (ASDP) to reposition and help grow the business.

Sonnex Managing Director Jano Tuchnya said the grant has been used towards business coaching and mentoring, international quality management certification and new laser cutting and robotic handling equipment for loading and unloading – a first for a South Australian company.

“With help from the ASDP, we purchased the Amada cutting machine. We needed another machine with loading and unloading automation and this machine can operate overnight, which has led to an increased turnover of about $150,000 to $200,000 per month for us”.

Jano said while the company is now operating seven days a week and bursting at the seams with work, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

“Three years ago my business was at its lowest point – we had gone from having 45 employees, down to 15,” he said.

“Even with my planning for automotive diversification and doing the best I could, my business was struggling and I didn’t know where the next dollar would come from.

“I was visited by the automotive transformation taskforce about 18 months ago, and they spent significant time helping me with my plans for diversification.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt heard. Every person who came and spoke to me spent hours talking and I could tell they wanted me to succeed”.

Sonnex are now looking to invest more in machinery, and have acquired land across the road from the Holden site at Elizabeth to build a new factory, which we they are hoping will be ready by the end of the year.

“We now are back up to 25 employees, most from northern suburbs, and we hope once the new facility is up and running we can hire even more staff,” Jano said.

“I love it here in the north – there is something about the underdog. People here stick together; they are humble and hard working.

“The automotive industry is a breeding ground for brilliance and something is going to come out of this area. I believe this place is going up”.

Sonnex is a South Australian owned family business specialising in equipment installation, plate processing, structural fabrication, special purpose machinery manufacturing and sheet metal.

For more information visit the Automotive Supplier Diversification Program