Stirling Group applies the “family” approach to servicing customers

The Stirling Machinery team

Stirling Group was born when, as a family of companies (Panel Tools, Accurate Australia & New Zealand, and Stirling Machinery), we realised something very important kept coming up. Individually, we’re strong, but as a united team, we can transform. As Managing Director, I often think of the adage, “two heads are better than one”. So why not more than two?

Our customers may have dealt with one or more of our divisions and met with the respective Sales Engineers over time. We started to realise that if we’re going to deliver real, deeply considered solutions for our customers, we had to bring together our combined experience and share even more knowledge throughout our business and with our customers.

Combining so much incredible experience into one overarching group has strengthened our ability to provide ways for process gains, waste reduction, improved safety, greater productivity and profitability, structured training programs, and more.

We’ve learned that our processing cycle can only benefit when we can bring together manufacturers with the continually changing industry and challenges our customers face. Putting our heads together, sharing information, keeping communication lines open, and all working towards the same goals is a winning formula. We realised that Stirling Group had the power to pool so much talent, experience, passion, and strengths across all departments of our business.

Our management sets a brilliant example in upholding our values of respect. Whether interacting with admin or factory staff, a business’s owner or their machine operators, or the general manager of an international manufacturer, the approach is the same.

Our marketing team is tasked with communicating to our industry precisely what knowledge we hold. To us, knowledge and experience are golden assets and genuinely something that sets us apart from other players in the industry. It’s important that our marketing people show others what we’re made of, and that we do have answers, sometimes to questions our customers didn’t even know they had.

In the factory, our people are dedicated, passionate, and driven. They seem to wear it like a badge of honour that they turn out such high-quality tooling, whether ‘off the rack’ or customised. The precision and attention to detail are incredible, and even the packaging is done with extreme care and pride.

The team in the factory have such great depth of skill that there’s never a question that can’t be answered or a problem that can’t be solved. Everyone on the factory team brings years of varied practical experience to the table.

We are very fortunate indeed to have our Service Manager, Pappy Halfpapp on board with Stirling Group. Combined in one person is a vast amount of experience that comes from his decades as an engineer/fitter. His knowledge has helped so many people that he’s practically a living legend at Stirling Group. And yet, even Pappy is still learning every day, and challenges the Group to be incomparable. He continues to demand better from us.

Kane Obst, our most recently recruited Wood Machining Engineer, brings huge enthusiasm and spirit into our team. He also came off the tools and everything he does is with respect and integrity. We really value his deep knowledge in how to keep machines operating. Kane also trains people up to maximise production, always making sure things are better today than they were yesterday. His desire to learn alongside Pappy and myself is a great strength of his and it flows into how Stirling Group is … a perpetual learner, educator, and demonstrator.

Similarly, the people in our sales team have gained years and years of experience on the tools, out in the field. They have learned through doing, watching, and training, and now they demonstrate, explain, and educate. Our customers always know that when one of our Sales Engineers comes to their site, there’s going to be a discussion around how we can make things better for them. No matter how small or how monumental the issue or goal, our Sales Engineers will make it their business to devise a sound solution. They will bring the challenge back to the factory and talk it over with others at Stirling Group, and the result will show the customer in real terms what the benefits will be.

Mark Shakespeare, our General Manager, welds all this magic together while seeking out new opportunities so we can continue to grow and succeed, just as we do for our customers. He strengthens our existing values as a company and weaves the wonderful values of the timber industry into our own core morals.

We know that not just one part of a business needs focus, but the entire package, and this is how Stirling Group evolved. We gather specialists in various fields and assemble them in a team of people who can make a meaningful difference. We do this step by step in the full knowledge that the trek is long and bumpy, but we focus on the very next step first.



Article published on Joiners magazine – June 2023

New Zealand’s magazine for the Joinery, Cabinetmaking, Furniture and Kitchen Manufacturing industries


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“Every step of the way, Stirling showed that they could partner with us in a meaningful way. We weren’t looking for a quick set-and-forget arrangement. We wanted a genuine collaboration that would see us through from consultancy and installation to operation and beyond.”

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“Stirling Machinery’s Planer Sander replaced the two existing sanders we had onsite. Finishing tabletops, a process that originally took two to three hours across two machines, has now been reduced to a matter of minutes in a one-pass finish. The team took the time to understand my operation, how it is run,and what we were looking for in terms of increased capacity and timber finish, and came back with a tailored solution that ticked all of the boxes.As a furniture maker of 35 years, I have been very impressed by the level of service,support and results Stirling has provided. From adding one machine, we have gained time, quality, space, output and efficiency and I couldn’t be happier.”

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A Series Moulder & Vertical Resaw

“What Craig and the rest of the team at Stirling care about is that the timber industry in Australia goes to a higher quality level. They want to see our customers getting the best product, they don’t just want to sell something. Craig is always asking the questions to make sure that whatever he sells me is going to make my product higher quality and the customer happier.”

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Managing Director of Thor's Hammer