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Leading industry supplier Currie Group is celebrating 75 years of innovation and service, the business which now has a national footprint beginning life back in 1949 in Melbourne.

75 years: Currie Group
75 years: Currie Group

Currie Group today is one of the industry’s largest and most comprehensive suppliers, with an evolving portfolio of solutions that encompasses everything from digital and analogue print, finishing equipment, to sign and display solutions, software and consumables, backed by its technical support and service operation that covers every part of Australia and New Zealand.

Like many companies, however, it had humble beginning, starting life as a print engineering company, Currie & Southward, established by a young William ‘Bill’ Currie and Tom Southward back in 1949.

The two worked together as maintenance engineers with the Herald & Weekly Times, and Bill’s expertise soon had other printers requesting his assistance with servicing their machines after hours. Soon, the opportunity to strike out on their own became obvious, and the duo set up shop.

While Southward would soon move on to other things, for Bill Currie it was the start of a life-long commitment to the industry.

To understand how the fledgling business grew into the market leader we see today, one has to go back to the foundational principles on which Currie & Southward was built – chief among them, customer service.

Young Bill Currie knew that his business would only succeed if his customers succeeded. No request was too difficult, no call too late – Bill’s customers knew he could be relied upon to ‘keep the presses running’. It was a lesson he passed on to his son, David – the company’s current chair – when he joined the business in 1969.

Over the years, the print sector has been transformed – first by the advent of offset printing, followed by digital technologies which have rendered it almost unrecognisable from the industry of the 1940s. Currie Group, too, has had to evolve but service, along with innovation, people and partnerships, continues to underpin the company’s success today.

Charting the company’s evolution can be marked by a number of milestones. First, the addition of a transport service, then the supply of second-hand equipment, before moving into the supply of new presses in the 1970s.

It was in these years that David Currie’s entrepreneurial flair became evident, as he set up agreements with manufacturers in Europe, which was an established source of technology for Australian businesses, and also with Japanese companies, like Shinohara and Horizon.

It was a successful move and, as years went by, the company expanded further into finishing equipment, consumable and eventually digital technologies, culminating in his  2002 agreement to make Currie & Co exclusive channel partner in the ANZ region for HP Indigo Digital Presses.

The deal is widely seen as a pivotal moment for the company, but it another sense it was just another step on the continuing journey to make Currie Group the source of end-to-end, ‘best in class’ solutions provider.

Current CEO, Rob Mesaros, who joined the company in 2021 when David Currie stepped back from his years as CEO, sees his role as continuing the process of modernisation across three fundamental pillars: updating and expanding systems and tools, evolving service capabilities and expanding the product portfolio.

Effecting that change in a way that benefits customers, while protecting the fundamental strengths and values which have made Currie Group such a well-respected and trusted supplier, is not without its challenges, but Mesaros seems undaunted by the task.

Under his leadership, the company’s product portfolio has continued to expand, most recently with additive manufacturing, or 3D print, and a full range of sign and display solutions. And it’s clear the growth is far from over, with areas like media and robotics already under consideration.

Alongside that continued growth and innovation, the company has invested in expanding its engineering prowess, product knowledge and expertise to support its customers – harking back to the values set 75 years ago by Bill Currie which have earned the company its most valuable asset: The trust of its customers.

Those values are still in evidence today, not just at leadership level, but says the company, in the expertise, professionalism and commitment of every staff member across Australia and New Zealand, in the quality of the company’s relationships with its vendors and customers, and in its strong service infrastructure.

Having 75 years of success is a quite an achievement and, with its continued commitment to evolve and modernise its business to ensure its customers can realise their full potential, it seems that proud history is set to continue for many years to come.

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