With sustainability a core part of Nexans Olex’s strategy, the company’s CEO Greg Stack discusses its place in the manufacturing industry today
Writer: Sean Galea-Pace | Project Manager: Thomas Turnbull
Today, leveraging a greener approach to operations is more than just optional.
Being more sustainable goes further than just helping the environment. It provides greater efficiency, improves brand reputation and even helps companies to achieve better growth.
And in the case of Nexans Olex, it goes beyond that.
“I see it as my responsibility to contribute to protecting the planet,” says Greg Stack, CEO at Nexans Olex. “Cable manufacturing (especially ours with processes starting at rod breakdown and fine wire drawing) has traditionally been big consumers of energy and water, contributing to CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions as well as producing hazardous waste as a bi-product.”
Nexans is Australia’s leading cable manufacturer and possesses over 80 years of success in delivering innovative solutions for Australian businesses. Having already outlined its intention to be carbon neutral by 2030, it is seeking greener alternatives wherever it can.
“Our environmental management strategy is designed to address this, deploying initiatives to reduce consumption and waste whilst also investing in renewable energy on both sides of the meter,” adds Stack.
“We have initiatives already underway, ranging from LED replacement to photovoltaic energy generation. Energy performance criteria has become a large a component of any purchasing decision for new equipment as is price.”
Stack has been the CEO at Nexans Olex since January 2019. Having taken inspiration from his father’s career in manufacturing, Stack began his journey in the industry working in a sales and administration role for an Australian PVC and rubber hose manufacturer.
“From there, my career took me to a global business based out of the United States, a worldwide manufacturer of motion control components across electromechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic motion systems,” he tells us.
“To me, it seemed I was destined for a career working in manufacturing. I started with Nexans 15 years ago and today I’m proud to lead the organisation as CEO of a manufacturer across three sites, Australia, New Zealand and Yanguu, with an exciting future.”
The Nexans Group worldwide maintains a long-standing reputation and excellence in delivering world-class cable design, engineering solutions and manufacturing excellency.
Operating with a rich history at its core, Nexans draws on global parentage to lead the electrical industry through technical innovation, quality and industry stewardship, while seeking to differentiate from competitors by focusing on its customer experience.
“Ultimately, I believe it comes down to our value proposition which is to create superior value creation,” insists Stack.
“We strive to innovate right throughout the value chain, extracting efficiencies and value we share with our customers. We also develop partnerships that generate tangible benefits for customers.”
Today, the Australian manufacturing facility at Lilydale, Victoria, currently manufactures up to 3,300 different types of cables to support the demand of residential, commercial and engineering construction sectors. Nexans has a strategic footprint through Australia and New Zealand, with 450 employees across two manufacturing sites and nine sales locations.
While, the firm is also a founding member of the Australian Cablemakers Association and advocates for the upholding of the highest quality and safety practices and conformance to Australian Cabling Standards.
Nexans Olex has recently completed construction of Stockyard Hill Windfarm the largest onshore windfarm in the Southern Hemisphere. Having begun in May 2018, it has 149 turbines capable of producing 530MW of electricity and has enough to power 390,000 homes and save two million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. It is thought to be one of the world’s most cost-effective wind farms, ensuring that renewable energy is an affordable source of electricity for Australian businesses and homes.
The company’s supply chain is considered dynamic and comprehensive. It consists of everything from labour, raw material and finished goods supply to service providers such as warehousing and logistics. Stack recognises how valuable partner and supplier relationships are to sustained success.
“Supply chain engagement ensures customer needs are understood and integrated into our processes and workflows,” he explains.
“This approach ensures tailored solutions for customers are possible; whether that be specialist cable design with delivery to remote locations, project planning or specialist requirements such as GPS technology ‘Connected Drums’ which can be added to product to assist with managing cable assets in remote locations.
“We’re looking to engage needs and develop solutions and can only do this with strategic partner and supplier relationships.”
Talent management is an essential component to the success of all businesses and Stack is quick to point out the contributions that staff make to ensuring Nexans’ success.
“I may be biased, but I believe our staff are among the best in the industry. We have a good mix of experience, passion, competence and diversity. Engagement is a major focus with a range of initiatives designed at empowering, recognising and rewarding.
“We have had in place for many years an Nexans Olex Performance Coaching framework that is designed to align objectives, set expectations and empower employees with the support of coaching and tailored development programmes.”
Indeed, in order to recognise the long-standing employees, Nexans strives to build a culture of longevity and has created an exclusive group for those that work for the organisation for over 25 years.
“It’s all about recognition,” he says. “We celebrate milestones every five years, but specifically for those who have achieved 25 consecutive years of employment, we welcome new inductees into this esteemed group, and create a culture that people aspire to. This group give back; experience can’t be bought, and we encourage these employees to support the development of others and impart knowledge for those at the early stages of their career with us.”
With the future in mind, Stack is optimistic about the next 12 months and is well aware of the importance of diversifying.
“I have high expectations for this year,” stresses Stack.
“Safety comes first, and we must strive to be injury free. Digitalisation and a customer-centric mindset is key and it’s important that we meet the needs of our customers through continuing to improve our value proposition which will be at the core of all priorities.
“Branding, innovation and marketing are our key value creation levers, so you can expect to see a lot of activity across these levers. Meanwhile, the environment and digitalisation will also be fundamental in our evolving strategies and expect to see some diversification in our offer.
“Our goal will be to pivot deeper into the value chain to deliver a more differentiated offer than you have seen from us in the past.”