An electronics engineer and systems analyst walk into a bar and decide they want a career change. They’re also brothers. If you’re waiting for a punch line, there isn’t one. Eighteen years later, we’re stronger than ever.
Jim and Michael’s Dad is a builder and sparky, so they grew up digging trenches and pulling cables in the 70’s and 80’s. So when Jim got out of the corporate world and Michael sold his business, they were asked by a friend if they could source plumbing products. Why on Earth would anyone ask an electronics engineer and a systems analyst if they could source plumbing products? Well, they also had a manufacturing and distribution background. They had been involved in setting up factories around the world so they knew that whatever the product was, they could figure out a way to supply it and support it. They connected the dots and started designing and importing bathroom, kitchen and laundry products.
If in 2003, Jim and Michael been asked to supply glasses, door handles or nuts and bolts, they would have backed any of those products with the Seima supply and support capability that we’re now known for. What’s important to note is that it’s not just about the physical product. Don’t get us wrong, we can talk to you for hours (and we mean hours) about the latest colour trends, how we spin the texture onto our ceramic basins and why we choose to use natural stone over concrete – but what we do behind the scenes is what truly sets us apart.
Not every supplier can supply basins, toilets, sinks, baths and tapware to tens of thousands of Australian homes every year. And out of those that can, not all can do it consistently. We’ve been doing it every day, every week and every month – for years. Out of those who can consistently supply products, fewer can give you the support that you need if something goes wrong. Not only do we have industry leading warranties, we don’t make you jump through hoops. We’re not a phone company or a circus. Our receptionist has the authority to approve a warranty claim so the only handballs you’ll have to worry about are at your local footy stadium – or on the phone to your internet provider.
Releasing a product with questionable quality or poor function, supplying you with the wrong product, giving you a horrible customer service experience and not fixing a problem – these are the things that rogue cowboys do and we like to leave those in Westerns … with Chuck Norris.
Michael comes from a fast-moving consumer goods background where if you’re out of stock, you’re out of business. Jim supplied radio communications equipment to the UN and Red Cross who were going into potentially life-threatening situations all over the world, so if you weren’t supporting them with reliable products and customer service right out into the field, you were putting lives at risk. Experiences like those have instinctively sharpened our supply chain and service capabilities, and this do-or-die mentality underpins everything that we do.
Not coming from the plumbing industry has meant that we’ve been able to introduce a wider scope of knowledge to our business, like our fast-moving consumer goods mentality and product design and manufacturing methodologies. Innovation in the plumbing industry has been slow and stagnant for decades. There have been functional and aesthetic changes but there was nothing that had truly blown the lid off of the market. That was until we released the first Rimless Clean Flush toilet in Australia in 2015. When other suppliers later jumped on the bandwagon to offer rimless technology in their premium toilets, we decided to upgrade 95% of our toilets to Rimless Clean Flush, including our entry-level close-coupled toilet, the Select. We did this because we believe that the best technologies should be accessible for everyone, regardless of the price tag.
We also developed the Blade splash-free kitchen sink to solve a number of problems for designers, stone masons and end users, and were a finalist in the 2016 HIA Industry Innovation Awards. We were a runner up to a US Defence Force approved Infra-red system that detects termites in wall cavities. Even though we really like to win, we were happy to be beaten by a high-tech termite hunting machine when all we did was weld two bowls together. Sometimes the best ideas are right under our noses.
We don’t just pick products off the shelf from overseas factories, import them and sell them to you. When you look at our product portfolio, 80% of those products have been designed by our team. They’re not just picked out of a catalogue from another overseas factory. We design and manufacture products that truly meet the functional and aesthetic needs of Australians. That process starts with consistently asking our partners and customers for feedback, but most importantly, truly listening to what they have to say and making continuous improvements.
We’re not a big corporate and not at the will of countless shareholders. We create our own products and our own destiny. We don’t wait for someone else to do it for us.
We want this freedom for you, too.
We’re here to help you keep building.