Profile: Pryda Aust. – Connections with Directions

Pryda, now fully owned by ITW Australia, is much more than a manufacturer of timber connectors and post anchors. In this article we take a closer look at Pryda and its future directions…

Pryda Australia, purchased by ITW in February 2004, is a multi-faceted business and major manufacturer of high-quality timber connectors, distributed to the retail and trade hardware market by ITW Proline from July 1 this year.AHJProfile01July05

Pryda’s main business is with frame and truss manufacturers, providing software and manufacturing systems for prefabrication, and the timber connector design technology is incorporated in their wide range of products for construction applications. Pryda plays a fundamental role in the nation’s building and hardware industries and retains close ties with trade and DIY markets through its website and comprehensive software design packages (distributed free of charge to the public). In other words, there is more to Pryda than bare nailplates and brackets!

Pryda Australia’s Basic “Framework”
Company HQ Melbourne, Victoria
Manufacturing Facilities Australia, NZ
Employees 250
Total SKUs 750 approx.
Material Sourcing Australia
R&D In-house Engineering, Product Development Teams
Core Business Activities • Provision of Software & Manufacturing Systems to Licensed Frame & Truss Fabricators
• Supply of Timber Connector Hardware to Retailers
• Supply of Comprehensive Timber Connector Ranges to Trade Outlets
• Supply of Software & Timber Connector Products to Individual Builders, Architects, DIYers, etc

Frame & Truss, No Fuss
Pryda’s core business relates to its exclusive licensing agreements with over 100 frame and truss manufacturers throughout Australia, representing close to a third of the national market. Under the licensing terms, Pryda helps each member set up its manufacturing system and also provides advanced computer software packages for building frame design. This software, which is continually updated in accordance with Building Code amendments and additions, is used to create optimal frame and truss designs based on simple input specifications for each job. When you consider the complexity of permitted loads, preferred material types and acceptable design configurations, the value of such an automated design program is obvious.

Retail Connections
One of the main reasons for Pryda’s strong retail popularity is its unique ability to support top-end sales. A store needs a good selection of timber connector products to satisfy the major project requirements of both Trade and DIY clients – the alternative is to settle for customers whose ambitions don’t go beyond building picture frames and hobby horses.

AHJProfile02July05Even though Pryda has up to 750 SKUs in stock at any one time, General Manager Maurie Anglin says retailers of all sizes can certainly benefit from the display of smaller core ranges. “For example, we have ready-made merchandising bins – Trade and Retail – with the smallest containing just nine items to cover the basic needs of customers,” Maurie explains. “This is one area where our new ITW Proline distribution arrangements will be immediately beneficial, because ITW has nearly 100 reps who are regularly visiting urban and retail outlets nationally. In the past our products have been targeted mainly at larger group retailers, but we are very keen to increase our representation to smaller independents as well.”

Larger trade outlets are also in line to experience greater levels of support under the new arrangements, with an emphasis on closer contacts and more streamlined ordering procedures through the ITW accounts system.

Future Directions
“At any one time we have some 750 products in our warehouse, but there are always new items being added and others being deleted,” Maurie says. “This happens in response to innovations on our part as well as imposed changes from the Building Codes.” An internal product assessment and evaluation checklist has been developed to systematise the release of new products, and inspiration is never in short supply. “For example, the fixing of windows is always a problem, particularly on a windy day, so we’re developing a special jamb fixing to remove the problem,” he says. “Another device is bracing used when erecting roof trusses with markings for the truss spacing, and we’re also looking at a new cyclone tie-down rod for the Queensland market. We have about 10 different new product projects in various stages of development at the moment.”

The main priority, however, is to make sure the newly implemented ITW distribution process is smooth and straightforward.AHJProfile03July05

According to Ian Johns, General Manager – Marketing at ITW Proline, “Our first priority is to ensure smooth supply of product to customers through the transference of Pryda to ITW Proline. Our second priority is to ensure a consistently high supply rate on an ongoing basis, and we are confident that both of these goals will be achieved.

“Retailers are now able to order Pryda in the same way as they order other products from the ITW Proline range, and they can expect the same level of service performance. Our sales and customer service teams have undertaken a detailed training program to ensure they are ready and able to provide customers with the service they require with Pryda.

“We are very excited to add Pryda, Australia’s leading brand of timber connectors and post anchors, to our range of DIY and trade fastening brands – Ramset, Buildex and Zenith – and we believe our customers will benefit through superior sales and merchandising support, national warehousing and consistently high fill rates.”

AHJProfile04July05Pryda’s products are constantly subject to high-level internal scrutiny, not only to make sure each line meets Building Code standards, but also to ensure that resellers are not bothered by recalls or returns. Only the highest-quality Australian steels are used during product manufacture, and periodic upgrades to the production plant over coming years will offer even greater quality integrity.

In addition, storage and display mechanisms have already been greatly improved with the introduction of two standard product carton sizes, designed for quick removal and replacement from display shelves. Easy-to-read labels, including product descriptions and suggested applications, have also added greatly to the accessibility of different ranges.

With ITW Proline overseeing all distribution and promotion of Pryda’s range, Maurie says the company, while supporting Proline, will be able to concentrate on its core activities and continue producing premium timber connectors for diverse national markets.

For more information on Pryda’s ranges, software innovations and price lists, visit www.pryda.com.au

By John Power