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Irizar excels early with order book fulfilment

As it looks to overcome supply chain issues, Irizar Asia Pacific managed to get ahead of the game with its 2023 order book. After a successful start to the year, Irizar is now preparing for larger journeys.

For Irizar Asia Pacific, prior preparation played a major part when it came to sales made at the end of last year.

The importer and bus and coach bodybuilder cast its focus over a range of sectors in the second half of 2022 to ensure it had a busy 2023 lined up.

The hard work paid off when Irizar achieved its budget for orders in 2023 within the first month of this year.

“We’re very confident in the 2023 market and what it has in store for us,” Irizar Asia Pacific managing director Steve Heanes told ABC. “Our order bank is incredibly strong as we see a good recovery in the charter and coach sector, as well as in the mining sector.

“We had a strong focus on all three sectors. We initially thought we were on track for a good recovery, but this will exceed that.”

It’s an impressively quick return for Irizar.

Following COVID-19 lockdowns and ongoing supply chain issues over the past couple of years, the bodybuilder had to adapt.

Heanes says Irizar kept a balanced approach in order to see sales surge once again. This meant keeping an eye on a wide range of markets, starting with school charter businesses and continuing to the mining and coach industries.

At the end of 2022, the proof was in the pudding as Irizar closed the year with more than 120 orders to fulfil in 2023.

Heanes says the result gives Irizar great confidence that it’s heading on an exhilarating trajectory in 2023 and beyond.

“We started seeing this upturn in sales in the final quarter of last year,” Heanes says. “We started receiving really strong enquiries that allowed us to have some great conversations.

“We really kicked some goals and won key businesses.”

This varied focus means Irizar has a wealth of industries to target moving forward.

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Heanes says strong enquiries in all coach, school, mining and charter areas keeps plenty of doors open, while the return of inbound cruise ships offers Irizar the opportunity to sell to customers who have renewed confidence in purchasing quality vehicles.

The high demand will allow Irizar to change where and how it operates.

Currently the bodybuilder is based in the Victorian suburb of Hallam. Throughout 2023, Irizar will leave those premises and establish itself in Pakenham’s South-East Business Park, where it will move into a purpose-built facility.

“Currently there are too many inefficiencies in the building we’re in as it’s not suited to a factory flow of producing vehicles in a timely manner,” Heanes says. “This new site will allow us to double the size of our parts warehouse, which is a major bonus for us.”

Irizar Asia Pacific aims to move from a 1000 sqm facility to a 3500 sqm factory that will allow for the single preparation of up to 12 vehicles at a time and the opportunity to construct a factory flow with stations around the premises.

Alongside these bonuses will be a dedicated seat fitment area and a contractors’ region to make operations run smoother than ever before.

“Currently we have two sites running,” Heanes says. “We can now consolidate it into one, which will allow us to store between 30 and 40 buses in stock undercover.”

Heanes has also worked hard to invest in staff and engineering managers to make the build and delivery process even smoother when Irizar moves into its new space.

It’s a positive for Heanes, who is still trying to overcome the inbound shipping and supply chain delays that are extending lead times for body builds.

Heanes says he is now experiencing extended delays when ships are forced to wait at sea for up to a week before they’re allowed to dock on Australian shores.

“Our focus will be to deliver all of our order bank this year and optimising the supply chain is a major part of this,” Heanes says.


“We have a close working relationship with shipping agents and contractors, so we can forward order lots of components to ensure they’re here in advance.

“We’ll continue making sure that we order one to two months in advance than what we normally would to ensure parts are here in time to meet arriving vehicles.”

Although a lot of Irizar’s major ordering work is already done, 2023 promises to be a busy year for Heanes and his team as they set about delivering the ordered vehicles as efficiently as possible before making the move to Pakenham.

The factory move is not the only news on the horizon for Irizar.

There are also strong rumours a new Irizar model, the i6S Efficient coach, will be arriving in Australia from Europe in the near future. This model offers another 12 to 13 per cent increase in fuel efficiency due to its aerodynamics, weight reduction and design.

Alongside this potential release, Heanes is excited about continuing to grow the Irizar brand in what is expected to be a boom year for the bodybuilder.

“This year is a mix of both fulfilling our large order book and expanding the brand further,” Heanes says. “It’ll be a fun mission for the year and we can’t wait to see how we go.”

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