Streamlining your business

On a mission: aviation suits take flight 

It’s awe-inspiring to envisage how a pattern maker working for 10 years in men’s suit manufacturing has stepped outside the mould to craft specialty clothing, bringing in sales revenue that would surprise you. 

Based on the outskirts of Newcastle in NSW, Matt Sisley began his family business Sisley Clothing Australia when he identified an opportunity to provide the aviation industry with custom-designed flight suits. Since it’s conception, the business has expanded its products and now also manufactures hi-vis and hazard protection workwear for the resources, tactical and rescue sectors. 

The business had already achieved success on a few fronts: accreditation through Ethical Clothing Australia, being ISO standards certified (ISO9001:2015) as a manufacturer of flight suits and workwear, and most importantly, being an Australian-owned business with an on-shore operation. But Matt had bigger aspirations and wanted to take the business to new heights.

Designing entrepreneurship

Turning to the federal Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme, Matt worked with growth facilitator Peter Davies stitching together a roadmap to promote stringent growth. It was established that the business would need to continuously invest in new machinery, connected technology and training for sustainable growth. Moving forward, the team was well placed for a future-state vision, with action plans in the pipeline for success.

Like any good business, our backbone comes from the people that ‘work in the engine’ right through to the end customer relationships

Besides onshore manufacturing, customisation of quality, protective apparel is a unique selling proposition of the company, however offering a customised product requires multiple sources of information. Peter recommended implementing measures to track performance to pinpoint where productivity could be optimised.

By thoroughly mapping existing systems, technological solutions could be considered. Improving and streamlining operations has cut double handling of administrative processes and minimised the potential for any errors, resulting in better customer experiences.

With a $20k financial boost from a Growth grant, the business has enjoyed dynamic levels of connecting with external providers. This has led to improved workflow, new measurement systems and productivity visualisation with Sisley adopting innovative technology to help lift the business’s overall performance.

The changes made possible with the assistance of the grant has allowed the company to reinvest into its operation with upgraded machinery to improve output. During the roadmap phase, business growth skyrocketed – sales revenue by 38%, export revenue by 200% and EBIT margin by 20%.

Cutting technology

The new technology is benefiting Sisley’s customers with enhancements to the made-to-measure, customised-style experience. The team ‘in the engine room’, can focus on cloud technology – a 3D style configurator tool for the website, and the piece de resistance, a specialty body-scanning app that is conveniently used from a smart-phone to provide the cutting room with accurate measurements.

Sisley also maintains a large database of records so historical sizing information is available when employees move between organisations. Innovative approaches will ensure the business enjoys continuous efficiency with improvement to the customer experience. 

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme is an Australian Government initiative and funded by the Australian Government. Business Australia works in partnership with the Australian Government to deliver the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. 

Jenny Dikranian

Content Writer, Business Australia

Jenny Dikranian is a content writer passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation in inspiring business success.

Are you looking for practical support to drive business growth? 

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme delivers advice and grants to enable high-potential businesses and businesses impacted by the summer bushfires to strengthen, grow, innovate and
commercialise nationally and globally. 

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