Steber International: exporting to the world

2013-10-02 17.08.36

Robert Dane from Ocius and Alan Steber with the SSS Bluebottle prior to sea trials.

With almost 70 years of boat manufacturing behind them, you can’t help but recognise Steber International are operating under a great business model.

Established in 1946 in Sydney building clinker style runabouts, the family owned company now operates from a modern, four acre factory complex in Taree with export success built around customisation.

Over 40 vessels have been exported to date with customers coming from Dubai, Singapore, Seychelles, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Oman.

“We are also in the process of establishing a distributorship in Shanghai to tap into the growing Chinese market” says managing director, Alan Steber.

“Steber manufacture fibreglass commercial and recreational boats ranging in size from 20ft to 65ft, offering an almost endless variety of custom fit-out options reflecting the company’s ‘can do’ attitude”, he said.

“We also refurbish and re-power existing craft, have diversified into manufacturing a wide range of fibreglass components to client requirements and also carry out survey work and valuation reports for insurance companies”.

As an example of Steber’s “can do” attitude over the past 12 months the company has:

.    completed five navy vessels as well as various refit services

.    provided Thales with a 34ft drone-towing and retrieving vessel proposal and solution for the Australian Department of Defence

.    worked with Solar Sailor/OCIUS to complete SSS Bluebottle (unmanned surface vessel) models for tank testing

.    completed market research scale models

.    manufactured, tested and delivered a hydrographic survey vessel for the Port of Melbourne Corporation

.    built and delivered a 38ft marine rescue vessel based at Forster

.    built and delivered a 38ft research vessel for the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

.    repairs and refits included yachts, 46ft fishing vessel, 38ft charter cruiser, horse floats, mobile homes and caravans

.    assist designer in manufacturing of a vertical wind turbine prototype

.    assist designer with tooling to manufacture concrete blocks for coastal erosion protection

.    manufacture playground and pool equipment

Innovation through research and development has helped the business re-invent itself over the years, ensuring continued growth in a crowded and competitive market space.

Examples include: the move from timber to fibreglass boats in the late 1950s, upgrading from small to large vessels in the 1970s and switching focus from recreational to commercial boats in the early 1980s and expanding into the international export market.

The installation of a CNC router and establishment of an in-house design team has led to numerous design improvements for rudders and new hull tunnels have created lower shaft angles providing better fuel efficiency and greater thrust.

The SSS Bluebottle project, an unmanned surface vessel with huge security and scientific potential, has been the major beneficiary of the R and D push.

Steber is committed to sustainability and have developed business systems and operational practices that support waste minimisation, reduce energy consumption and reduce effects on the environment. These initiatives have been recognised by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water by being announced a Silver Partner in the Sustainability Advantage Program.

The Steber name is well respected in the marine industry in Australia, with growing recognition across various world markets. Alan’s advise is much sought-after, being a director and life member of the Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX), member of the Boating Industry Association (BIA) and various regional and local business associations.

Overseas doors will continue to open with this energetic and vibrant company called Steber International.

2014-05-29 10.34.14

Forster-Tuncurry Marine Rescue’s “Cape Hawke” undergoing sea trials.