Like all the great Australian businesses with humble beginnings, (think iiNet and Showpo) Robert Alexander started Xanderware: CNC Laser and Router Cutting from a single car garage in 2004.
Ever the entrepreneur, Robert began working with only a small laser whilst sub-contracting his skills as a fabricator and welder to support himself as he grew the business. Sixteen years on Robert is able to work full time at Xanderware in a dedicated workshop on Chapel Street in Glenorchy; he even employs a small group of full-time staff to help him with the workload.
Xanderware provide a laser cutting and fabrication service which is completely customizable. With a multifaceted skill set the business mainly engages steady work through the tourism and event industries as well as festivals and art installations.
With a steady hand at the helm, Xanderware was gearing up for a profitable 2020 ahead. Even with the first hints of issues in China, Robert happily embraced a new contract to produce the trophies and medallions for the Cricket Twenty20 matches when the original order got stuck overseas. There were even discussions around upcoming national contracts to produce medallions in Australia for other sporting events.
However, Robert and the Xanderware team could not escape the crippling COVID-19 effect. With the pandemic causing the fall in local tourism; the cancellation of every major event in Tasmania and Australia, scheduled contracts were stopped in an instant leaving Xanderware with a very empty job list. Robert remembers being faced with some difficult decisions,
“I had to keep the business alive during difficult times, we had to think outside the square to pivot our business decisions and adapt to the effects of COVID-19”
Robert thought outside the square in arguably the best way possible; the Xanderware team began to use their skills to produce vital Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), medical face shields and ‘sneeze guards’ in an unexpected pivot to combat the COVID-19 crisis head on. All of a sudden, the job requests started coming in from their existing clients and new sectors they hadn’t worked with before; Xanderware was at the forefront of the fight against a global pandemic. To date they have manufactured medical shields through the University of Tasmania and installed custom built screens across Hobart and Glenorchy businesses including McDonalds, Metro and the Glenorchy City Council. Using their expertise they have allowed other local businesses to keep operating safely and staff to return to work.
Robert is optimistic about the future of manufacturing in Tasmania. He has demonstrated through his own story that the skills, passion and forward thinking are right here in Glenorchy. He is hopeful that as we emerge from the pandemic, we can appreciate the value in supporting local business,
“I hope to see a higher demand in locally made products and less of a reliance on off-shore supply chains”
Xanderware: CNC laser and Router cutting are still located in Chapel Street. You can find them on Facebook, check out their website www.xanderware.com.au or phone 03 6273 7457.
Activity City is proud to share these stories, please check out the other great businesses on our Story page who share their experiences as a local Glenorchy business.