The high-performance camera systems from Shotover are truly world-leading. The precision parts that Contour produce for them are part of the puzzle. Together, the two companies produce camera systems and UAVs that leave their competitors in their dust.

Shotover Cameras are the best of the best. Acknowledged worldwide as producing the ultimate in camera systems, they supply their products to broadcast, film, surveillance and commercial markets. They make a range of gimbal platform products including a gyro-stabilised camera system and UAVs (drones). Their products have been used to help create hundreds of blockbuster movies.

Their ‘B1’ recently won the 2019 Award of Excellence from ProductionHub. Weighing less than 20kg, the B1 gyro-stabilised camera system can be used on a number of different helicopters, cable cams, tracks and watercraft too. It uses 6-axis stabilisation technology that gives huge flexibility and scope for creativity that film-makers love.

Their gyro-stabilised camera platforms are the best because they got Contour Engineering to create the parts.

The problem

To create the best camera systems, there has to be an unprecedented level of control and stability to produce the perfect shots. However, there are many things that confound that—weather, wind, weighty systems and rough motor controls.

So Shotover went to Contour with a series of tricky and hard-to-make parts, and Contour made them.

Contour took on the challenge

It’s been a six-year journey together. Starting with in-depth research to understand what Shotover needed, Contour created their parts, perfectly to spec. Then, with constant refinement and improvement, they made those parts better. Those continual production refinements meant that the parts could be produced faster and with lower overheads, but still with no flaws.

The unconventionally shaped parts have meant that Contour has had to push the limits of their manufacturing processes, finding innovative ways to create the parts. And then once the parts were created, they needed to be made lighter and thinner. As the parts became sleeker and more sophisticated, the product followed.

The nature of the Shotover products means that these parts need to be perfect; no flaws, highly durable and fitting seamlessly within the wider unit. The outcome of a faulty part could damage delicate camera gear or ruin a million-dollar shot. This is where Contour’s focus on quality and zero defects really made an impact. Their ‘zero’ level of product defects is a testament to their systems which is backed up by their ISO 9001 certification.

“Contour Engineering has provided us with quality products, on spec and on time – every time. I have never returned a part to Roland for re-work and his attention to detail and open feedback ensures we get product fit for purpose and within budget.” Shotover

Future plans for amazing technology

Their partnership with Shotover works well because they have the same focus on quality, but also on relentless improvement. This is the sweet spot for both companies. Never content with the status quo, there is a continual focus on making things better. When one part changes, it sets off a chain of transformations to their designs, creating an end product that is always at the head of the market.

So, where to from here, for Shotover and Contour? The future is taking off. Shotover’s camera systems are at the top of the game, and that’s where they want to stay. The partnership between these two world-leading companies is set to stay, creating beautiful machinery together.

“Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily cracked, and never well mended,” legendary US inventor and thinker Benjamin Franklin, once said.

To us at Contour Engineering, this concept of reputation is at the heart of building a high-performing precision manufacturing culture. It’s something that should be at the heart of any Kiwi manufacturer wanting to be world class.

How you and your business conduct themselves is what your reputation is built on. Focusing your entire business on the customer, from the conversations held within the workshop, right through to the solutions you offer, is key to ensuring a strong reputation. A good way to achieve this focus is building a culture that observes the ‘golden rule’ i.e. “do unto others as they would do to you.”………..

That means everyone, from shopfloor to front office, treats the customer (and in some cases their customers) in the same way they would like to be treated.

Achieving this sort of culture is not easy and takes regular and consistent communication, discipline and structure around the way the business operates.

For New Zealand manufacturers, there are two sides to this coin. The first is to build a reputation such that you can attract premium pricing for your products in your market, as Contour Engineering’s customers like Shotover Camera Systems or Enztec have achieved. The other side is finding suppliers whom you can trust to deliver what you want, on time, and at a high quality.

Achieving a great reputation and becoming the preferred option for customers requires manufacturers to implement the golden rule throughout their organisation. Deadlines need to be met, and the equipment needs to be exactly as described. Being near the top means that there are high expectations of you and any deviation from that will have people second guessing if they can rely on you. As Franklin says, reputation is easily broken and hard to repair so every action counts.

Which is why it is so important to find suppliers who can make sure you can deliver to these expectations. As your customers expect the best from you, so should you expect the same from your suppliers. If there are delays in getting parts to you, or if there are faults and errors, this can throw off your timelines and getting your orders away. You need to be able to rely on the goods being on time, and with zero defects.

Having the golden rule for yourself and your suppliers make for a more efficient workplace where solutions are delivered faster and on budget. It also produces better results for the customer who in turn are more satisfied with the engagement, producing more repeat business and word of mouth spread.

For more information contact us.

THE PROMISE: ‘On time Zero defects’. In the field of precision engineering and hi-tech manufacturing, there are many out there that are easily able to say the words, ‘on time with zero defects’; fewer follow through. Those that dare to utter such phrases deliver – such as is the case of Christchurch-based Contour Engineering – or are quickly found out.

The challenge, according to company owner Roland Auret is not just adhering to the aforementioned, but doing it while simultaneously providing professional customer service.

The absolute underlying factor of high precision CNC machining encompasses hi-tech manufacturing, streamlined, manufacturing processes, good design for manufacture, and hiring quality people.

“I started Contour with an ambitious vision,” says Mr Auret. “I wanted to support New Zealand companies that were manufacturing high-value products via a precision engineering service. And I wanted to deliver that precision engineering service not just once but every single time.”

To Mr Auret and the rest of the Contour team, delivering the ‘On time Zero defects’ promise is the result, the rest is an absolutely necessary process requiring the whole team to be ‘A-players’ and to live and breathe the company’s core values every day.

Contour specialises in a variety of fields that require nothing short of exact precision: medical and surgical, aerospace, military and defence, aviation and avionics, carbon fibre mould tooling, digital navigation, automation work cell building and automated equipment.

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