TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
AEI left starter motors behind to drive new ideas and pioneer lighting, safety and electrical systems for the automotive, mining, OEM, transport and construction industry worldwide
Norman Haupt, the Managing Director for Auto Electrical Imports (AEI – pictured right), began his career as an auto electrician at the end of an era when American muscle cars were at their prime.
He took this experience and founded AEI in late 1987, supplying rotating parts and accessories to the auto electrical trade in Queensland.
As the industry changed and shifted towards price competition for starter motors, alternators and other components, the AEI leadership team decided to take the road less travelled.
The company recognised the potential for a niche market in lighting, safety and electrical systems. It says it focused on sourcing and supplying the highest quality products; supported by exceptional levels of customer service and technical expertise.
There were few companies in the 1990s investing in product solutions that put safety first. AEI was in a unique position to build success by designing to customers’ specifications.
In 2011 AEI launched the IONNIC brand which today is globally recognised as a leader in electrical, safety and lighting solutions.
The company expanded into diverse market segments with the support of in-house programmers and engineers and the ability to create, test and prove products before manufacturing.
This approach has taken AEI from a team of two to a company that employs close to 50 people with a combined 250 years of industry experience.
Encouraging innovation and quality service
Today, AEI specialises in designing and building innovative products and systems, customised to meet its clients’ needs.
The company can deliver a comprehensive range of heavy-duty and made-to-order products and systems explicitly tailored to the demands of the market.
Norman attributes AEI’s success to keeping people, and product innovation, top of mind.
“There’s a link between service quality and staff retention,” he said.
“We treat our people well; we value different approaches and skillsets.
“We have a flat management structure, so our team is comfortable to approach management, and mutual respect is part of our culture.
“Additionally, most of our team comes from a technical background or have worked in the industry for many years.
“What this means for our customers, is that when you call AEI, you can speak to a staff member who may have designed a piece of equipment, and they will know how to solve problems for you.
“High employee turnover can destroy a customer’s confidence in any company. When your staff arrive early to work, you know you’re doing something right.
“Having loyal staff means that we retain some of the best technical minds in the industry. Because of the expertise, culture and longevity of our team, we can respond faster and get to market sooner with solutions that meet our customers’ needs.
“We can even innovate and improve on original designs from direct market feedback. The bottom line is our people work to get the best outcomes for our customers.”
AEI says it has inhouse experts in designing and manufacturing systems, from conception to production, that are easy to understand, simple to use and which improve operational efficiency.
Simple solutions such as its latest ICS switch panel showcase the company’s technical expertise and ability to make complex products, simple.
With reduced capacity for switch provisions in vehicles, the compact ICS switch allows for eight aftermarket products such as light bars or beacons, to run – each with independent onboard current protection.
The switch panel also features three master switches that can program multiple accessories to run at the press of a button. This is the type of smart system that can get the job done quicker, says AEI.
With products built for industries where safety is paramount, AEI now designs and supplies products for emergency services vehicles around the globe.
Norman says AEI will always focus on bringing new products and systems to market that suit its customers’ unique requirements.
“If you work in a niche market, you can’t afford to be lazy. You always have to be looking for the next product and importantly, system solutions that meet your customers’ needs today, and tomorrow.”
Built tough to save time and money
AEI says it understands that its customers’ needs evolve and as such, it is always looking for new ways to help develop innovative products and customised electrical systems.
In responding to shifting market needs and technological developments, AEI explains that it partners with many of the industry’s most recognised and highly regarded global manufacturers to continually bring innovative products and technologies to market.
AEI’s flagship brand, IONNIC, encompasses safety and emergency LED lighting products, Australian built minebars, switches, control systems and wiring accessories.
A major contender in the automotive electrical market in Australia and South East Asia, AEI also represents several of the world’s leading lighting, safety and electrical equipment manufacturers, including:
• Nordic Lights: a world leader in heavy-duty LED, HID and halogen work lamps. Nordic is a line fit supplier to many of the leading mining equipment manufacturers.
• Brigade: safety products including the patented bbs-tek white sound reverse alarms, CCTV systems and digital video recorders.
• Deutsch: world leaders in wiring harness connectors for harsh environments in the mining and construction industries.
• Schlemmer: wiring harness protection components including conduit and sealed fittings for use on both above and underground equipment.
• Class 1: CAN – J1939 compliant vehicle control equipment. In house service technicians can custom design a vehicle control system with LCD engine instrument display, wiring schematics and fault diagnostic capabilities that will improve reliability and reduce maintenance and service costs.
To learn more about how AEI can help you build innovative systems and to learn more about its easy to use and fast to install products, please visit www.ionnic.com