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Hydraulics brain drain

BRENDAN Casey completes his MBA next month and will then join the brain drain heading for the US.

Mr Casey’s business plan for his on-line hydraulics supermarket was considered so good it won its class in the annual Moot Corp awards, beating a business plan put together by a team of MBA students from Melbourne University.

The 34-year-old hydraulic engineer won with a business plan for his on-line e-commerce company that he gave up his full-time job to set up.

But he says that any hope of taking the concept to fruition in Australia with the state of the dot.com market is hopeless.

“The hydraulics industry worldwide is valued around US$34 billion,” he said. “Australia is worth around $60 million while the US market runs around US$13.5 billion.”

The www.hydraulicsupermarket.com concept was born out of an experience three years ago when he was state manager for the UK-based Micron Hydraulic company.

To further his career he signed up to do an MBA degree with Curtin University part-time, was exposed to e-commerce and built a web page for Micron.

“It was a cheap and cheerful creation,” he said. “But I was blown away when a Korean company emailed me and asked us to put together a $250,000 hydraulics package for them just from that web page.

“I realised that in 10 years we would be doing business in a completely different way.

“On-line trading won’t replace conventional trading, all that hype about dot.com being the only way is over the top, but it will become an important part of doing business,” he said.

In November, stage one of Hydraulics Supermarket went on the web, enabling industry to buy and sell new, second-hand, and rebuilt hydraulic equipment. “They can even design their own technical solutions using the extensive library,” he said.

Hitachi Construction America ordered a hydraulics package then its training officer, who sought access to the site’s technical library, for training Hitachi’s 135 US dealers.

“It was a terrific breakthrough for us,” Brendan said. “That has put our site in front of a major hydraulics retail chain in the US.

“But we need an injection of capital to take the company to its next level.

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