Bruce Loxton graduated from the University of Queensland in Mechanical Engineering (Hons) in 1975. Recruited from University to model their underground ore bodies, Bruce joined Anglo American at their largest copper mine in Zambia as a management trainee. He gained his drilling and blasting licence and went on to run the diesel electric truck fleet in the open pit.
In 1979, he joined a partnership in Liberia as the country GM of the Mack Truck and Unimog distributor. He commuted from New York where the wholesale coy was based. This finished after the bloody coup-de-tat in 1980.
Honeywell Inc. recruited Bruce for mining projects in Australia in 1981. By 1990, he was General Manager of the Home and Building Control Division. He went on to be Director with responsibility for several divisions. Honeywell relocated Bruce to Los Angeles in 1992 as VP and General manager. His division implemented both large multi-million dollar energy retrofit projects that linked the “lease” payments with guaranteed energy savings as well as thousand dollar “Total Home” projects.
In 1996, ABB appointed Bruce as a Managing Director in Australia and then on to Zurich to run the Manufacturing, Consumer and Electronics Division globally (US$1.2Bn). Major customers were Ford, Nokia, and Daimler-Benz.
During this period in Europe, Bruce heard from European automotive executives of their commitment to a “design led” strategy. This aligned with more granular customers sets and required many models, short-run manufacturing lines and regular change. The result was higher profit margins. Bruce studied the unique “design led” model of “H&M” Stores, a women’s clothing manufacturer/retailer based in Sweden.
This was a turning point in seeing how “higher cost” manufacturing countries can succeed profitably. So, in 2003, Bruce returned to Australia and acquired Kimberley Kampers, a player in off-road camper trailers. Applying “design-led” strategies, Bruce added the “Karavan” Model in 2005. Then in 2013, he added the “Kruiser” line. The business grew nearly 5 fold, employing 100 people to June 2016.
Yet, design alone won’t seal a manufacturing future. Businesses also need digitization for productivity, a smart supply chain and elimination of waste through Quality processes. Supply chain management includes global sourcing of parts for the highest quality and value. Bruce led the development of high quality suppliers in China.
Kimberley was completely digitized with production screens throughout the business. The ERP software integrates 3D design software, supply chain, manufacturing quality, and cost-to-build. Kimberley uses a lean manufacturing process with kanbans and customization at the last point of assembly. Simplifying the business included many cloud-based applications that transformed customer and dealer management.
Core to the growth achievement has been marketing. Potential customers needed online education on the benefits of “off-grid” and superior design. This was done with many “eBooks”, available after lead registration. More than 80,000 have been downloaded. “Leads” were nurtured and automatically fed to dealers. A cloud based quotation system provides good analytics on marketing and dealer performance.
Bruce has “green energy management” in his DNA, thanks to Honeywell. All of Kimberley products have serious eco-friendly features that are not present in any other global brand. The Kimberley brand is now synonymous with “authentic travel” in eco-friendly RV’s.
Innovation has created the most value in the design led strategy. Bruce implements a structured process from deep problem statements to create new products or features. He always has one “impossible task” on the books for a business breakthrough.
The Business won several awards: Telstra Best Medium Business and the AMP Innovation Award, and Australian Business’s “President’s Prize” and Excellence in Employee Development & Training.
Bruce was Non-executive Chairman of Qinetiq Aust for 6 years. A subsidiary of the London Listed Global Defence Technology provider with market cap of $1Bn.
He is an Alumnus of: Harvard Business School, University of Southern California in LA ; Edwards Demming; IMD in Lausanne; and a Council Member, Chem. Eng. Foundation, Uni of Sydney.
Bruce lives with Fiona on the water in Ballina at the “Crab Shack”. He shares his love for fishing with 4 sons. He is a member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Spending time with Bruce in your business will give you an innovative view to the questions and tasks you set for him.