Black Duck is Australia’s largest supplier of canvas seat covers for the rural, mining and construction industries in Australia and New Zealand. More than 450 seat patterns are available for four-wheel drives, light commercial vehicles, trucks, minibuses, utes, agricultural machinery as well as vehicles used in surface and underground mines, exploration projects and construction sites. The company has been manufacturing seat covers for more than 25 years, and is known for its comfortable, hardwearing and practical products.

Project statistics

Project challenge

As the demand for Black Duck products was rapidly increasing, the company was challenged with increasing production capacity.


Melbourne, Victoria


Black Duck wanted to establish best practice production and operational processes in its new greenfield site in Wangaratta, Victoria with Lean methodology and tools to achieve optimal capacity.


Vative recommended a collaborative, cross-functional approach between its Lean Masters and Black Duck operational staff and management in Wangaratta and Perth. The Black Duck Lean project began with observation and documentation of processes and operations at the Perth factory to identify inefficiencies, blocks to production flow and other areas of waste. After evaluating the findings, a new value stream design was developed followed by the factory layout design and new processes to put in place.


The best practice processes established at Black Duck’s new Wangaratta factory delivered significant improvements on its Perth production lines and overall capacity. A single production line at Wangaratta achieved increases of between 30 and 40 per cent compared to Perth, manufacturing fast-moving products which contribute 90 per cent of the company’s sales turnover. Black Duck improved its potential to increase overall capacity up to 150 per cent.


Tim Richardson, Black Duck’s Eastern Australia Operations Manager, contracted Vative because of his experience with the consultancy in a previous management role. The Black Duck team realised the Lean approach was an absolute must for their manufacturing business to become more efficient or otherwise they could risk losing business to China.

“I like Lean because it’s very simple, the tools are provided, and it’s explained in a way staff can understand. Vative are very easy to work with.” – Tim Richardson, Eastern Australia Operations Manager, Black Duck