Attention to detail and personalised customer service are the key drivers of James Taylor’s business.
ENERGETIC businessman James Taylor is a firm believer in ‘people capital’, citing it as a driving force behind his successful Port Hedland engineering services company.
The managing director of 10-year-old Inline Engineering Services is especially proud of his company’s investment in its highly trained workforce and the fast-growing Port Hedland community.
“I have a responsibility to help people better themselves in my company and not just look at my bank balance,” Mr Taylor said.
“We have a rule here, we don’t let anyone leave unless they are doing so as a better person, with more skills.”
Inline, which mainly rebuilds, services and supplies industrial-sized gearboxes, counts BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto among its growing list of resources clients.
Mr Taylor has built a valuable reputation among his clients, both big and small, on providing a quality service, often engineering critical parts that are immediately unavailable, and making sure the job is done quickly and efficiently.
He believes this on-the-ground approach has put him well ahead of some of his bigger, national rivals, who cannot always give the same attention to detail and personalised customer service. He hopes this will help him expand the business from its well-established base in Port Hedland.
Inline is particularly known in the industry for its ability to respond quickly to a breakdown of machinery in the field and make the repairs with its skilled trades team. Mr Taylor has spent some time recently improving the company’s site operations to this purpose.
Inline Engineering Services is experiencing its best year for sales since being started by Mr Taylor in 2001, when the company he was working for collapsed and he started Inline.
The company, which employs about 30 people, has just taken delivery of a gearbox built by a supplier in China for an Australian client, opening up a new source of supply and capability for the business.
As part of Inline’s investment in its people, Mr Taylor said the company had invested about $10 million in buying 12 houses for its workers and managers. This was driven by the very tight property market in Port Hedland and a need to ensure his company could recruit and retain quality and skilled workers.
“We have just paid $1.1 million for an ordinary four-bedroom home for one of our managers,” Mr Taylor said, adding that the company did not charge the staff market rents, which have skyrocketed in the boomtown.
Wife and business partner Penny manages the property portfolio, which, he said, was certainly a busy full-time role.
Mr Taylor is actively involved in the Port Hedland community and believes the town and its services and amenities have improved significantly over the past three years.
He is a keen observer of town council policy and decisions and is involved with a number of community and sports organisations, including various schools, the cricket association, Hedland Tafe, Game Fishing Club and junior rugby.
He has organised and backed a number of events such as hosting a fundraising dinner for Christian Blind Mission (raising $15,000), hosting a Real Men conference, which supports men ‘in doing life well’, and supporting various youth events.
In his early career, he was regarded as an excellent tradesperson with outstanding expertise in power transmission, who trained under some of the best technicians in Australia in high-pressure mining environments.
Mr Taylor prides himself on the company’s can-do attitude to provide a quality service when called on. He said he was always prepared to roll-up his sleeves and do what it takes to get the job done, and he expects the same from his staff.
Mr Taylor intends to finance the expansion of the business solely from the company’s cash flow and internal reserves and not look to the banks or equity investment.
“We have never had an overdraft in the life of this business and we do not intend to start now,” he said.
Mr Taylor has three young children whom he likes to take fishing whenever he can.
“My kids are my hobby.”