LIGHTING THE WAY FORWARD
The family-owned LED Autolamps is a true success story of the Australian automotive aftermarket
LED Autolamps began its journey in 1987 when Tony Ottobre started the company Auto Trade Supplies which ran a mobile auto electrical parts van supplying auto electricians all across Victoria.
In the early 2000s, Tony made an overseas trip to a trade show in Taiwan to source new products and it was there he saw the latest in LED lighting. Tony began researching the market and could not believe the lack of LED representation in the Australian automotive aftermarket industry.
He then set about creating, designing and registering the first range of “interchangeable” lenses for rear tail lights (the 80 Series) with the same shape and design so that everything from small trailers to large trucks could use this product range.
At the same time, he recognised the need to be in full control from concept to market to ensure consistency and product quality while protecting his brand family; and so LED Autolamps Pty Ltd commenced business in Victoria on the 1st of July, 2002.
A small factory in Thomastown was LED Autolamps’ first base of operations, mainly employing Tony and his immediate family. Risking everything on a vision and a business plan laid out on his return trip from the Taiwan trade show, he set about building his dream.
It was not without trouble, especially when it came to locating reliable overseas manufacturers, but the tiny family-run business continued to push into the market delivering industry firsts as well as innovative product ideas and excellent value thus far not seen in the industry.
Going from strength to strength, 2005 saw LED Autolamps’ first move into a bigger factory, which was also located in Thomastown. Two rows of pallet racking, a single forklift and a small two-person pick and pack area handled the growing demand for LED Autolamps’ products while the office – situated in a steel shed within the factory – hosted two full-time office staff while there were three reps on the road.
It was here in this factory that the famous 150 Series began with a simple idea of making the best trailer light in Australia. This building also saw the design infringement court case in which Tony would defend and successfully win against pirated copycat practices towards his registered designs.
In 2008, the company experienced continued success in both OE and retail sales and the business expanded into a larger temporary factory to allow the housing of the ever-growing stock inventory. It was also in 2008 that the Europe Office was established and while this office began with only two people, today it services all of Europe and employs more than 24 sales and support staff.
At the same time, Tony wanted to ensure that even though his company was growing, that its core values remained the same with next day deliveries Australia-wide and a customer-first attitude.
In 2012, LED Autolamps developed its purpose-built contemporary Head Office located in Bundoora, Victoria, including a 1473sq metre warehouse facility and logistics room. With this new Head Office, LED Autolamps says its customers now enjoy a professional and modern welcoming environment as friendly staff meet client needs. It states that this new location makes a statement to visitors about its professionalism, with LED Autolamps General Manager, Michael Ottobre stating “first impressions always count!”
Today, LED Autolamps employs more than 26 staff servicing all of Australasia and continues to grow, improve and remain vigilant of an ever-changing marketplace while staying flexible in meeting customer needs.
“It has taken many years to fine tune and perfect our business practices,” Tony said.
“LED Autolamps has developed and registered many new products, investing in more than $3.5 million in moulds and tooling.
“A significant aspect of our success is finding the right people and building the best team of professional high achievers to thrive and promote our brand name within the industry, from the forklift driver right through to field staff and high-end managers.”
LED Autolamps’ customer base includes major retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors and the company also supports small automotive and auto electrical businesses through its distributor network.
The company says it has also spent the best part of 10 years designing and developing lighting for Military applications – namely the Hawkei PMV which was developed for the Australian Defence Force – and also actively works with customers to support private branding as well as bespoke lighting and cabling specific requirements.
LED Autolamps’ Australian and European operations are both certified to ISO9001:2015, the internationally recognised Quality Management Standard. Its main production facility is certified to IATF16949:2016 standards, which the company says provides customers a guarantee of conformity of production, exceptional service, technical expertise and dedicated after-sales care.
“We intend to maintain growth through further development of high quality, innovative and uniquely designed products, releasing up to 25+ new products every year,” Michael said.
“To maintain this expectation, we carry out thorough market research and ensure stringent product testing and development of all available new and emerging technologies and production sources.”
A range of firsts
LED Autolamps says it prides itself on changing the industry for the better and that it has worked hard to be the first with many of its achievements within Australia while improving LED automotive product affordability with savings of some 50 percent over its competitors. Company firsts include:
• Developing a lighting system of the same shape and design;
• Solely specialising in automotive LED lighting;
• Introducing a Five-Year LED warranty;
• Introducing a Seven-Year LED warranty;
• Introducing a product with a Lifetime LED warranty;
• Designing a plug-in wiring system for box and boat trailers;
• Uniquely designed a plug-in harness system for heavy vehicles; and
• Winning a copy infringement case over importers of copies of its products, setting a precedent to protect Australian designs.
Research, design, development and manufacturing
Paramount to staying ahead in the market and providing industry-leading warranties with affordable, high-quality products is LED Autolamps’ investment and dedication into research, development and manufacturing capabilities.
LED Technologies, the parent company of LED Autolamps, says it can conceptualise, design, develop and manufacture products from the ground up with expert knowledge and state of the art facilities. It also has in-house industrial designers and engineers that can bring ideas to life with professional CAD design software and 3D prototyping capacity.
LED Autolamps says its technical engineers have expert knowledge of all components and plastics as well as specialised developments with glues and sealing processes; and are also capable of photometric testing, electrical and optical engineering as well as environmental testing to ensure products can meet the market with confidence.
Further, control of the manufacturing process enables them to rapidly adapt and cater to market needs as well as the customers’ own ideas and design requirements.
The main production sites are quality assured with IATF16949 certification, which is the highest standard achievable for quality management systems to ensure conformity of production with the same condition in every product batch.
LED Autolamps says just some of its manufacturing capabilities include:
• PCB Quality Control during production
• Automated PCB Circuit Placement
• Advanced Gluing sealing
• Automated Optical Inspection
• Ultra Sonic and Vibration Welding
• Wiring Harness and Cabling
“We are tested and trusted by manufacturing companies that incorporate our LED brand into their product designs,” Michael said.
“Our clients put our auto lights through some of the harshest conditions before they are used to ensure that their customers are receiving the best product on the market that will not fail.”
The future of LED Technologies and its LED Autolamps brand lies directly with its continued development of new and unique products, pushing the boundaries in design and innovation.
“Ensuring we are directly involved with our LED products at every stage of their development guarantees there is no compromise on quality or service and also allows us the ability to adapt our designs to suit specific client needs,” Michael said.
“Continuing hard work producing market-leading retail displays will also cement our long-term presence in the Automotive aftermarket industry.
“But most importantly of all, the entire operation is still a family-owned and operated business with its people driven by passion and devotion to the company and what it stands for.”
For more on LED Autolamps, please visit www.ledautolamps.com