Wilson Transformer Company 
Intermediate level

The power of challenges to inspire

Winning in the global economy


Practitioner Presentation
Tuesday, Oct. 10 Location Code
2:30pm-3:30pm Hynes Center, Level 3, Room 302 TS/19

Hear how Wilson Transformer Company faced competition from low labor cost countries and how it investigated having them as a partner rather than competitor.


With long-term contracts into the Australian market, hear how Wilson Transformer Company considered importing products (or major sub-assemblies) from China to help reduce cost. The pricing looked very attractive (20 percent lower than the company's cost), visits to factories in China were made, followed by requests for samples.  The results were surprising!  Hear how the products did not meet specifications and the design used much more material. After finally receiving products that were compliant, the price advantage had eroded significantly. Learn how the company’s process engineers have developed a process based on continuous flow principles enabling them to produce products in Australia that were cheaper than China. Discover how this line of sight manufacturing cell will give additional capacity and allow Wilson Transformer to compete with China.


Wilson Transformer Company has been manufacturing transformers in Australia since 1933. It has two plants in Victoria, employing 500 Australians. Its products help provide reliable electricity supply in networks across Australia and beyond. It was the first Australian company to be approved as a global supplier to Chevron. The company's awards include The Victorian Government Award for Best Business in Regional Victoria, Excellence in Manufacturing, Most Outstanding Business and Employer of Choice. www.wtc.com.au

Presenter: Jon Retford

Jon Retford has been general manager of the distribution business unit of Wilson Transformer Company since 1999. He is the past president of the Hume Lean Network and was the industry representative to the Victorian Government’s advisory committee on workforce development. Retford served as chair of the board for the North East Local Learning and Employment Network and is the chair of The Big Day Off Trust which raises funds to support Australian’s affected by spinal injuries.