Business Review Australia & Asia - July 2016

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JULY 2016



DIGITAL Healthcaresolutions Company Profile




H E L L O A N D W E L C O M E T O the July

issue of Business Review Australia & Asia, Economies across the world are wrestling with the fallout from the commodity price downturn and the clarion call for economic diversification grows louder by the day. In light of this, we feature a contribution that explores how Vietnam is growing into the next big supply chain hub in South East Asia and how, even in more developed markets, the business imperative is changing. Australia’s Spotless Group being a prime example of this. We also take a look at the fastest growing Asian technology companies and the factors that have contributed this unheard of growth. In a similar vein, our cover story on Allscripts explores how the company is revolutionising its digital processes, bringing together a number of stakeholders in the Australian healthcare space to deliver advanced healthcare solutions.

Nye Longman Editor 3



6 Leadership

12 Technology

22 Top 6



30 Charter Hall

128 Vision Australia

46 True IDC Co.,Ltd

146 Siam Winery

ENERGY 56 UASG/AES (Spotless Group) 80 Asplundh

TRANSPORT 92 Gold Coast Cabs

HEALTHCARE 106 Allscripts


July 2016

158 Mon Logistics Group

CONSTRUCTION 170 Delta Group

EDUCATION 184 Open Colleges


30 Charter Hall 92 Gold Coast Cabs




UASG/AES (Spotless Group)



Siam Winery

128 Vision Australia



Talking through


Stephen Ellich is the CEO of Spotless Group’s utilities in asset management unit UASG. Together with its partne was faced with the task of restructuring and refocusing climate change and energy efficiency


nfrastructure and er A E Smith (AES), g the businesses on

LEADERSHIP WITH A SUCCESSFUL track record of leading large organisations through transformational change to deliver sustainable growth, profitability and strong operating cash flow, Stephen Ellich took to the refocus with enthusiasm. We asked him to reveal some of his secrets. His biggest challenge, he says was integrating the disparate businesses into a very large corporation. “Both had come out of private ownership. The cultural differences transferring from a private company to a large Stock Exchange listed company


July 2016

have been significant to overcome. To ensure business runs as cost effectively as possible is also part of the journey.” He sees his management style as one of bringing people along on the journey. “I try to give the team a vision and a direction. Something they can believe in and follow. Though integration challenges look large and complicated, the prize at the end for everyone is worth a little inconvenience.” What about the natural inertia? “Everyone handles change differently.


Usually they can get through that initial tentativeness. I find the best thing is to have open communication with people about what is going on – to explain why we are doing it, being upfront about potential impacts and giving them the opportunity to participate in the change journey. “I have been involved in many change programmes and we get better at it the more we do.” He adds realistically: “Not everyone will be happy, I can guarantee that! But the vast majority can be persuaded by a sound business case based on

sound values.” In fact he relishes working with mavericks, and meets fortnightly with his Innovations and Emerging Markets group. “You cannot tell people to be creative or set a KPI on how many ideas they have a month! I like to ask them just a few basic questions: ‘Does this work help solve a customer problem? Is the customer willing to pay for the solution if you find it? Does it have the potential to be scalable so it will be commercially viable? Have you thought through the regulatory and legal requirements?’ If they meet those



criteria, keep on innovating!” Communication is a big thing with him, and the key, he thinks, to wider societal issues. Asked what changes he’d suggest to benefit his industry in Australia, he replies: “While there are interactions between the various entities from time to time, these are usually once off or ad hoc type of events. There is very little industrywide collaboration on matters where there would be a non-commercial


July 2016

common benefit. One area where I feel that collaboration could help improve the industry is safety. Accordingly, it would be good if contractors and utilities had an annual forum collaborating on safety initiatives to address the root causes of common incidents.” That response is a clue to what really inspires Stephen Ellich. He is ever looking for the opportunity to help people along, and has served on


the boards of the YMCA, with which he maintains a deep involvement, Edmund Rice Camps (a not-forprofit [NFP] organisation, provides camps for disadvantaged, refugee and indigenous children and families) and is on the NFP advisory board of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Nobody is perfect. Stephen has an obsession with punctuality. “I hate to be late for anything, in my professional

life anyway. At home I frequently have to take a more relaxed attitude!” Happily married for 25 years and with two teenagers, he regards that as his most successful venture of all – though somehow it comes as no surprise to learn he also sits on the board of his boys’ school, St Kevin’s College in Melbourne.





Jeff Stryker, partner, Heidrick & Struggles explores the implications for supply chain managers as Asia-Pacific countries develop their manufacturing operations to compete with China WRITTEN BY: JEFF STRYKER, PARTNER, HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES EDITED BY: NYE LONGMAN


INDUSTRY TRENDS AND TALENT IMPLICATIONS ‘Factory Asia’ is the catchy name given to the concentrated manufacturing and supply chain hub in the Asia Pacific region. For years, China had the undisputed monopoly of Asia’s manufacturing sector, literally putting its ‘Made in China’ stamp on a vast

14 July 2016

array of products. However, other players in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, India, Malaysia and Indonesia, are stepping up their game to become attractive alternative manufacturing centres. In the challenging business environment, there are greater demands on supply chain


professionals and also increased competition for supply chain talent. The challenge is finding talent with the ability to work seamlessly across multiple geographies, with the relevant knowledge, language skills and overseas experience. Staff retention can also be difficult, as star players may have numerous attractive offers

due to the talent shortage.

CHINA – THE CHALLENGE TO STAY ON TOP Due to its low-cost labour, efficient supply chains and relatively lenient regulatory system, China earned itself the title of ‘the world’s factory’. However, the global financial crisis,



rising labour costs and environmental concerns have all contributed to slowing manufacturing growth in the country, with year-on-year growth of 12.1 percent in 2010 dropping to about 6.0 percent in 2015. With labour and production costs on the rise, many businesses have moved their manufacturing bases out of China to Southeast Asia. Another factor that has affected China’s dominant position in the global supply chain is the stricter 16 July 2016

regulatory environment amidst the push to ensure companies are accountable for the quality of their products, standards, and possibly most importantly, the well-being of their workers and the environment. In tandem with these increased regulations, China’s President Xi Jinping started an anti-corruption campaign in 2012, with the aim of rooting out corruption in government and business. While worker productivity in


China remains high, many supply chain executives are increasingly concerned about geopolitical turmoil, and are “de-risking their supply chain platforms” by seeking other countries that can offer an attractive manufacturing base. Although Thailand and Malaysia were often seen as alternatives in Asia Pacific, Vietnam has truly become the darling of supply chain executives looking for such diversification.

VIETNAM – THE SUPPLY CHAIN DARLING OF SOUTHEAST ASIA The world’s largest emerging economies – including Russia, Brazil and China – have been stumbling. At the same time, Vietnam’s economic growth was 6.7 percent in 2015, making it among the fastest growing markets globally and one of the hottest markets in Southeast Asia – particularly its burgeoning manufacturing platform. Vietnam has a young and vibrant workforce with a strong educational footprint that will allow the country’s labour force to grow by more than 1 million people per year. This is in stark contrast to other Southeast Asian

countries which are experiencing shrinking labour pools. In addition, Vietnam is part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led trade deal which is proving quite attractive for foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam. The treaty will cut some 18,000 tariffs in 12 countries, helping Vietnam increase exports of locally made products and find new markets. Exports of manufactured products in Vietnam will continue to expand, given that 66 percent of disbursed FDI in the first nine months of 2015 was directed into manufacturing. Yet, although companies are anticipating double-digit growth for the foreseeable future, most




are aware that there are still some pitfalls. “Logistics costs are one of our major concerns. We just don’t get the economy of scale pricing when shipping products from our factories out of Vietnam versus China,” stated a consumer supply chain executive. “We expect the cost curve to come down over time, but currently we are disadvantaged in this key logistics metric.” The Vietnam supply chain narrative

looks strong going forward. However, companies are not looking at Vietnam in a singular vacuum, but rather as part of an overall Asia Pacific supply chain diversification strategy that is driven by their end-customers.

ENHANCING THE SUPPLY CHAIN MODEL While it is challenging to find top executives in general, most companies specifically struggle to 19


find the right people at the supervisor, manager and director level. Reasons include organisations not having a talent pipeline in place, or that more experienced workers in mature markets may not be willing to move or may not be familiar with the work culture in Asia Pacific. These days, many search projects are regional and even global. Companies have had to compromise 20 July 2016

– looking for candidates outside their industry, or easing requirements for in-country experience – sometimes sacrificing sector/product knowledge in favour of cultural fit.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? The factory of the future will likely look at centralising supply chain functions, and limiting the number of locations to areas


where talent supplies are abundant, rather than having multiple supply chain points physically close to the factories. This can help address many of today’s pressing concerns, including talent, costs and risk mitigation. The reality is that it can be hard to find candidates with the right hard skills to run a supply chain effectively, and the soft skills to navigate business in the Asia Pacific region. However, by being

innovative, organisations can address the issues and still come out on top. Next-generation supply chains need to be agile and responsive, and must be able to compete in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. At the end of the day, talent is at the core – and to succeed, organisations need to create a new talent paradigm that aligns with their corporate strategy. 21






Business Review Australia & Asia takes a look at some of APAC’s fastest growing tech companies and explores why they will be the ones to watch this year Written by: Nye Longman 23


Characterised by high-growth percentages, technology companies are not only at the forefront of innovation but are leading a new trend of businesses that have very few bricks-and-mortar locations yet often rake in billions in profits. Business Review Australia & Asia uses data from last year’s Deloitte annual Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific (APAC) study, which takes a broad look at technology companies, from such diverse fields as life sciences, media, communications, and software.



iDreamSky is Chain’s largest mobile game publisher and works with a number of leading mobile game developers from across the globe in order to localise their games to appeal to the massive Chinese mobile market. The company boasts over 98 million monthly active users and has a number of high profile partnerships with companies that include Disney, Tecent, and China Telecom. Country: China Product: Software 2015 Growth: 4,979 percent WWW.IDREAMSKY.COM 24

July 2016




Chongqing Yijifu Technology (or ‘Yiji’) offers international customers seeking entry into Chinese markets a comprehensive online cross boarder payment service (PSP) which covers payment, financial services and credit information. The platform offers accessibility, ease of use and security, as well as compliance with China’s internal

banking regulations. Since its foundation in 2006, Yiji has grown to become the largest PSP in Midwest China. Country: China Product: Communications 2015 Growth: 5,024 percent WWW.YIJI.COM





Australia-based Cirrus Networks’ IT tailored solutions integration package covers every step of an infrastructure project – from design to building and management. The company is also able to offer a range of security solutions, as well as advice on regulatory issues. The company’s 1H FY16 results


July 2016

have shown that the company has continued to grow since last year’s report and has now branched out into offering cloud technology and associated services and has acquired a rival IT company called L7 Solutions. Country: Australia Product: Hardware 2015 Growth: 5,571 percent WWW.CIRRUSNETWORKS.COM.AU




Prospa supports small Australian businesses by providing them with small loans. Its online platform is proprietary and provides businesses with simplified applications process –the company can turn around a small loan in as little as 24 hours. The winner of last year’s Deloitte Australia’s Tech Fast 50, the company offers unsecured online small business loans, from of $5,000 to $250,000. Its website

offers an interesting insight into its successful philosophy: “Prospa focuses on the health of a business to determine creditworthiness, not the personal score of the owner’s”. Country: Australia Product: Software 2015 Growth: 6,971 percent WWW.PROSPA.COM





Keen to keep up with the growth of smart technology and the Internet of Things, Wuhan hi-target provides a range of cutting-edge hardware solutions. With the ability to cater to a range of different sectors and applications, the company’s hardware centres on precision 3D scanning technology. The company’s remit covers surveying geographic information, industrial measurement and fulfilling requirements for smart cities. Country: China Product: Hardware 2015 Growth: 7,100 percent WWW.HI-CLOUD.COM.CN


July 2016




Located in Seoul’s trendy Gangnam district, Devsisters focuses on entertainment, particularly on developing and servicing games for mobile devices. The company’s products have spread across the globe and are present in as many as 20 different markets. What makes this company stand out is

its attention to developing original game content that will get users engaged and more likely to play, share and engage. Country: South Korea Product: Software 2015 Growth: 8,516 percent WWW.DEVSISTERS.COM




BIG change Opening up the world of big data within its property portfolio has been a game-changer for Charter Hall

Written by: Sarah Megginson Produced by: David Kulowitch



idan Coleman, a business technology executive with more than two decades of diverse international experience, joined Charter Hall in 2014 fresh from a three-year stint delivering technology transformation at Stockland. “Charter Hall came to a realisation around three years ago that it needed to take a more strategic view of technology, and how it could be better utilised to both grow the business and to scale the business,” Coleman says. “Property is interesting because it’s one of those industries that is a bit of a laggard when it comes to technology. IT is certainly a huge


July 2016

focus for property businesses now and at Charter Hall we’re in a really good position. IT has now firmly got a seat at the executive table and we’ve started to deliver on the strong pipeline of solutions for improved services for our people and customers.” As a property investment and funds management business focused on office, retail, and industrial property sectors, Charter Hall has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, a factor that was contributing to their immature IT strategy of three years ago. It was Coleman’s task, as the incoming Chief Technology Officer, to establish a clearer strategy and


Key people

Aidan Coleman Chief Technology Officer

identify opportunities for improvement, putting in place the capabilities underneath to make it happen. “The immediate focus was really to establish the capability within the IT team, based on shifting from what was very much an operations focus. Charter Hall had grown its IT function organically to include a team of really dedicated, talented people who have primarily come out of the project infrastructure space,” Coleman explains. “While the team was very proficient in this space, when it came to process improvement, project delivery and applications development we recognised that we needed to bring in new skills and capability to lead the business to achieves its strategic goals.” And while Coleman will admit that there is no end date to the continuous improvement

Aidan is a key member of the executive team at Charter Hall, providing leadership and direction for all strategic & operational technology activities. Aidan is a technology thought leader and ‘implementer’ who focuses on how process, information and technology-enabled change can contribute directly to sustainable business growth. With over 20 years in IT, the last 5 in Property and funds management, Aidan brings with him great experience in people leadership, strategic planning, program delivery, operations and innovation across a range of other industries including Commercial Software, Retail, Media, FMCG, Management Consulting, Insurance, Banking and Telco. Aidan is also an active participant in the Tech startup scene in Sydney, Australia and currently Chairs the Advisory Board for a stage 2 start-up ‘NuaMedia’, who deliver innovative multichannel Customer Experience Management solutions to enterprises.



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initiatives that the Group is planning, he is making significant progress. At this month’s RealComm conference in Silicon Valley, the Australian property funds management group was the only Australian nominee for a prestigious Digie Award. “This nomination reflects the success of our strategy and recognises the depth of the skills and talent of our team and our ability to create a culture of innovation in order to deliver greater efficiency into our business processes.”

we’ve completed our first launch of major projects, which have been quite varied,” he says. “These include a range of initiatives to really simplify and streamline how we undertake our financial processes internally. For instance, we’ve just put in a new solution in terms of how we process tax, financial reconciliation and our transactional banking process.” Charter Hall has also been doing a lot of work in the customer space, developing a customer strategy A three-stage process of that is focused on understanding change what their customers needs are With a wide range of objectives to and turning those needs into great tackle, the IT team at Charter Hall customer experiences. has been implementing a three-year This has been no small transformation program aligned with undertaking, with Coleman the business objectives. collaborating with leadership from “It’s been a very interesting couple the property sector and marketing of years. We’re about a year-and-a- teams internally to develop more half into the Enterprise journey and user-friendly customer portals, and

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Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Founded in 2005, Workday delivers financial management and human capital management to more than 1,100 customers ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises. In Australia and New Zealand, customers include Atlassian, CBA, Charter Hall, Diageo, Fletcher Building, HP, Salmat and Thomson Reuters. Workday is supporting helping transform the roles finance and HR departments play in their organisations and also changing the way people experience their interactions with these business functions. Workday’s enterprise applications are intuitive and simple to use, and allow users to easily collect and use financial and people data so they can make decisions based on up-to-date data. Workday Human Capital Management helps you organise staff and develop your workforce whether it’s local or

global. Workday gives you the insight and data to attract, engage and retain employees. Workday automates common HR functions, and helps you know who to hire, identifies where you have talent gaps, and gives insights on how to retain top performers. Workday Human Capital Management answers all your people-related questions. Workday Financial Management goes beyond the basics of accounting and focuses on speed, agility, cost, and insights. This unified application includes a full range of finance and accounting capabilities, real-time business insights, and fully auditable process management. Workday Financial Management gives the tools and insights to make the decisions that drive your business forward. Workday is focused on customer satisfaction and has a 98% customer satisfaction rating Workday’s unified finance and HR system will help you transform your business.

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automate traditional B2B functions, like service request management. He’s also worked closely with Charter Hall’s Head of People, Brand and Community, Natalie Devlin, to implement a new HR platform, Workday, which aims to support a broader talent strategy. “We launched Workday in April of this year; it was a big piece of work which focused on enabling a smarter employee experience so we


can better manage and enable talent mobility across the orgnisation. We realised that there was a great opportunity to connect our people and create better efficiency in our systems and processes in HR.” Harnessing ‘Big Data’ for big results Charter Hall is redefining its relationship with information technology both within the business

“Charter Hall came to a realisation around three years ago that it needed to take a more strategic view of technology, and how it could be better utilised to both grow the business and to scale the business” – Aidan Coleman, Chief Technology Officer

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and externally. Opening up the world of big data within its property portfolio and at a retail level has been a game-changer, Coleman confirms, particularly in terms of gaining a competitive edge. “We’ve been embracing new datacapture technologies across our retail platforms, where we’re rolling out WiFi, for instance,” he explains. “It’s great for our shoppers and retailers in the centres, but it’s also giving us a whole world of data around people: everything from how people enjoy our shopping centres, to how our marketing campaigns are impacting our foot traffic.” Charter Hall has been working with some third parties to integrate that data into areas like basket analysis, so it can gain a greater understanding around not just how people are using the retail centres, but also what they are buying, when, and why.


This is creating huge insights in terms of building strong customer profiles and also in terms of evaluating the competition, Coleman says. From ad-hoc, manual processes to streamlined systems Processing data to use in forecasting and predictive models has also been really important, and the company has a focus to drive that forward. “It’s really about getting a focus on productivity and process improvement around our core focus, and trying to deliver to not only release our people internally – so they can focus on adding value to drive the business forward – but also to improve the quality of information that is flowing right through our business,” he adds. “This is all in the pursuit of streamlining our operations so

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that as a funds manager, we can make the best decisions around doing what we do best, which is managing our investors’ money.” “I think that as we succeed in this space – and a number of initiates have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented – the focus is shifting towards the customer experience. It’s a continuous program of working with the business more broadly on a range of initiatives, focused on both automating and streamlining our core processes and systems, and also delivering new capabilities, new functionality, new reporting systems, and a big focus on our customer strategy.”

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“IT is certainly a huge focus for property businesses now and at Charter Hall we’re in a really good position” – Aidan Coleman, Chief Technology Officer

Another key focus and “a key pillar” that has been recently implemented is a philosophy to create a ‘best in class’ workplace, Coleman adds. “Anyone who comes into our environment will tell you it’s quite energised and fully tech-enabled,” he says.

“We are fully embracing ‘agile’ as a way of working, not just a project methodology. The conditions are ripe for change. It’s a great workplace with low levels of bureaucracy and a huge opportunity to innovate. I’m glad to say that the changes we’ve made to date are really working.” w w w. c h a r t e r h a l l . c o m . a u


ASIAN expansion Written by: Nell Walker Produced by: James Pepper

“Our key differentiation factor is not technology; we’re not Google, and we’re never going to be the Facebook of the world. We’re going to build talent using Asian diversity. I call myself a change agent – that’s what I do. My expertise is transformation”


T R U E I D C C O . , LT D

True IDC, an off-shoot of Ascend Group, is Thailand’s leading international data centre and cloud services solution provider, priding itself on bringing global partners within reach of Southeast Asian businesses 48

July 2016


Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara na Ayudhaya, Chief Product and Technology Officer for True IDC, describes how the company has cornered the local market with an Asia-focussed business model


rue IDC, an off-shoot of Ascend Group, is Thailand’s leading international data centre and cloud services solution provider, priding itself on bringing global partners within reach of Southeast Asian businesses. Established in April 2003, the company now boasts multiple centres in Bangkok, across Thailand, and other countries in Southeast Asia. Already providing platforms for Amazon Web Services, Google Chromebook, Microsoft Office365, Huawei Simply Cloud, Beedoo, True IDC Share, and Avaya Teleconference Solutions, True IDC aims to be the leading digital economy enabler in the ASEAN Economic Community. Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara na Ayudhaya is Chief

Product and Technology Officer at True IDC. Singhara na Ayudhaya had previously been the first Thai to take on a global role at Thomson Reuters, and during that time, he was accountable for many international teams within the company. Singhara na Ayudhaya considers himself a hybrid, speaking multiple languages, and in working across various groups, he discovered the true business extent of ‘global’. “Global is no longer New York, it’s no longer London, it’s no longer Tokyo,” he says. “It’s Asia – Shanghai, Dubai, Delhi. A significant portion of the Thomson Reuters code deployed globally was based in Bangkok; a lot of people outside the company don’t know that. There’s untapped talent here. I

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T R U E I D C C O . , LT D

saw new opportunities with this knowledge, so I made the decision to move from this multinational corporation to Ascend,” he notes. Singhara na Ayudhaya’s role now is based in developing products for the local market in Thailand and Asia, increasing the speed of the technology, and evolving infrastructure platforms. The role is unique in that most companies would separate the product and technology development,

but as Singhara na Ayudhaya has the benefit of a global perspective, the company chose to merge the responsibilities. Targeting the market In addition to the Enterprise segment, True IDC develops within the local market by aiming for SMEs. He states, “We are targeting emerging markets, like Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. SMEs are the main drivers of the economy

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there. A lot of players try to capture them, but it’s difficult. Thailand is in a unique position in that its SMEs have a high adoption rate of mobile phones. It has a population of 60-70 million, and only 30 million of those are online, yet there are around 80 million mobile phones being used across the country. This gives us great opportunities. We’re in a unique position in being the only cloud service provider that’s also a telecom. Even the big cloud players like Amazon lack connectivity capability, thus empowering a mutual partnership between True IDC and Amazon, Google,

“The key for us is our leadership team, and the leadership team needs to navigate an ever-changing business climate” – Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara na Ayudhaya, Chief Product and Technology Officer for True IDC

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“The key for us is our leadership team, and the leadership team needs to navigate an ever-changing business climate”

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- Thanasorn Jaidee, General Manager, True IDC (Above left) , Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara Na Ayuthaya (Above Right)


Microsoft, and Huawei. We have the connectivity and the existing customer base to expand upon.” True IDC enjoys the advantages of having the required services in place already, ensuring that market shares are also well-positioned, despite the fact that larger companies may have more advanced technology. However, these companies do not necessarily view ASEAN as a key market in the same way. True IDC is making advancements with strategic partnerships that will drive more business to Thailand. Skill and diversity In any emerging market, Singhara na Ayudhaya says, finding the required skill level is a challenge. He adds, “The experience is out there. The skills are out there. The knowledge is out there. The key thing for us is attracting the right talent that can complete globally as the ‘digital economy’ is borderless – that’s part of the reason I was brought here. We’re looking at people with global talent who can understand the local market but communicate globally. The key for

us is our leadership team, and the leadership team needs to navigate an ever-changing business climate.” Singhara na Ayudhaya states that while Asian culture is respective to a very command-and-control approach, Western culture is more about engagement, and so True IDC tries to leverage a culture of various comforts, ensuring that what the young company lacks in experience, it makes up for by achieving its goals more quickly. One such project this mindset has allowed is the Simply Cloud Public Cloud – Thailand’s first cloud service – which allows users to manage their own data at a reasonable price. “The cloud will enable a bigger market in Thailand, and in Cambodia,” says Singhara na Ayudhaya. “We are also launching the first cloud software marketplace platform tailored for SMEs. The marketplace will be the region’s first platform connecting start-ups and SMEs. It’s key because the adoption rate of cloud services is not necessarily just going to be

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T R U E I D C C O . , LT D

“Diversity is about connecting the change together to generate opportunities, and to make intelligent bets in the region” – Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara na Ayudhaya

the infrastructure in the service space, although there’s a higher mobile penetration in Asia than in Europe or the US. Our play is that we provide a scalable platform that connects emerging start-ups with SMEs in the region. Capturing the market is fundamentally a KPI, as well as being able to offer the right services on tap.” True IDC has entered into a joint venture with SUPERNAP, a tier four data centre. Next year, Thailand’s own branch of SUPERNAP will open, which is the first outside the US. Singhara na Ayudhaya points out, “Now what this does is lay the foundation. It guarantees 100 percent uptime data centre service within the region and will support growth across Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and of course Thailand. From a connectivity standpoint, it puts us in a strategic position. We have to be reliable, and to be reliable we have to guarantee SUPERNAP 100 percent uptime asset running. Banks have already signed up to these services.” Expansion Just two years ago, True IDC was only in Bangkok; now, it is based in Myanmar and Cambodia as well as Vietnam, and the company is exploring other markets such as Indonesia. Each country has its own multimarket strategy depending on local demand. In Myanmar, political instability has made


July 2016


people hesitant about data centre and cloud business, but it is a good place to invest in. Cambodia lacks the business traction of Thailand but is maturing all the time, and in Vietnam, the focus is on the marketplace rather than the infrastructure. “The key lesson is how do you get the ability to connect the dots,” Singhara na Ayudhaya says. “Our key differentiation factor is not technology; we’re not Google, and we’re never going to be the

Facebook of the world. We’re going to build talent using Asian diversity. I call myself a change agent – that’s what I do. My expertise is transformation. We make things happen. For us to compete, it’s about diversity. We provide a very insightful perspective. Technology is about change, but diversity is about connecting the change together to generate opportunities, and to make intelligent bets in the region is something I am personally driving towards.”

Just two years ago, True IDC was only in Bangkok; now, it is based in Myanmar and Cambodia as well as Vietnam, and the company is exploring other markets such as Indonesia

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Climate change targets apa facilities can save millions o and cutting waste: Spotless business unit to hel

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art, businesses, utilities and on energy by buying smart s Group has put together a lp them do just that

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isted on the ASX, Spotless is one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest and most diverse services groups with interests in facility management, catering and hospitality, cleaning, security, asset management, maintenance, HVAC, mechanical and electrical and utility support services. It started in 1946 with a single dry cleaning store in Melbourne and now employs more than 36,000 people. UASG delivers tailored utility and telecommunications service solutions across all sectors including government and large corporations, employing around 2,000 people. Over the last couple of years it made a decisive move into the field of contracted-out services when it put together the recently acquired entities Utility Asset Management (UAM), Skilltech (a meter reading company) and Fieldforce (a long established energy efficiency specialist) under the leadership of Stephen Ellich, a seasoned CEO with long experience in the telecommunications sector. Ellich heads up the Infrastructure, Telecommunications and Utilities 58

July 2016

group sector within Spotless, and is CEO both of UASG and of the technical and engineering services contracting company AE Smith (AES). Acquired by Spotless in 2015, AES has built a great reputation in mechanical, electrical, energy, fire, hydraulics, plumbing and refrigeration work since it was founded in 1898. It was a considered a particularly good fit alongside


UASG, he explains: “Many customers of Spotless have faced challenges with understanding and curtailing their energy spend, and also finding sustainability options around water consumption. Most of the public debate around energy conservation, including solar, wind and battery power, has been conducted at the consumer level, but there has been far less within the medium to large commercial and industrial sector.�

Key People

Stephen Ellich CEO of UASG & AES Stephen is a senior executive with a 20+ year proven track record of success in leading large, complex, national organisations through establishment, development and transformational change to deliver sustainable growth, profitability and strong operating cash flow. His business expertise has a strong focus on sustainable growth through innovation, combined with astute financial acumen, international experience and the maturity of a senior executive with Board experience, positions him to contribute at all levels.


Energy: the hidden cost Spotless plays its part in that sector as a large facilities manager. Within the group, UASG has been able to identify a need and create a unique customer value 60

July 2016

proposition, he continues. “We believe we can deal effectively with ‘managing down’ a customer’s energy consumption and in doing so provide an immediate and long term economic benefit to those


customers.” Strategically, this involves moving the company’s mindset away from the proposition that it would carry out project tasks for an agreed sum and then walk away. Instead consider the

problem holistically, auditing the customer’s energy usage, identify the root causes and then engineer an end-to-end solution. In cases where the customer prefers not to fund the capital outlay involved, the w w w. u a s g . c o m . a u


Smart metering: effective way to reduce cost of energy



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With our experience of deploying smart meters: Great Britain (1million) and Australia (1.4 million), Secure can provide retailers in Australia with a solution that allows them to offer a high quality service to their customers. This solution can help consumers save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Secure Australasia Pty Ltd 258 Darebin Road, Fairfield VIC 3078, Australia | t: +61 3 9485 6000 | f: +61 3 9485 6099 |


Employees: 2500+ (globally), 40+ (Australia) Established: 1987 (globally), 2004 (Australia) Industry: Energy metering Services: Electricity metering and data services Secure Australasia is part of a group focused on developing, manufacturing and deploying products and solutions for energy measurement and monitoring. Secure works across the entire energy chain, including utilities, energy retailers, commercial and homes. While we work at the frontiers of technology enabling ‘smart’ energy control and management, we believe in focusing on customer and consumer needs. A 500 strong R&D team focuses on better smart grid and energy management solutions. A reflection of our commitment to our customers, our participation in the design and specification of products for the Australian market has culminated in a range of meters that meet all electronic metering requirements of standards and approvals specific to the region. The Melbourne site hosts a fully accredited NATA 17025 laboratory, delivering metering support services. Secure has over 1,400,000 smart meters deployed in Australia to date. As the energy optimisation and climate change debate intensifies, our group has been developing products and solutions, together with like-minded strategic partners to offer relevant and innovative

solutions to our customers. The Secure UASG-Skilltech partnership is a reflection of this thinking. UASG-Skilltech have worked with Secure as the solution provider to deliver integrated and appropriate metering services to their customers, including: • manually read electronic meters • embedded network; point-to-multi point; metering systems • full end-to-end smart metering solutions. A recent project being undertaken through the partnership is for the upgrade of Secure’s 3 phase manually read meters at a 500+ apartment building complex. These meters will be upgraded to deliver data remotely through a pointto-multipoint RS485/3G solution. This will remove the need to manually read meters and provide tenants with more timely and accurate billing. Going forward, Secure is embracing reforms under the Power of Choice where metering will become contestable in turn promoting innovation leading to greater choice for customers.

Management: Michael Guy, Managing Director Ian Levell, General Manager (Sales and Marketing) Peter Taylor, General Manager (AMI Solutions) Visit our website:

Innovative Solutions for Modern Metering

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solution might involve a financial as well as an operational solution. The contractor funds deployment over a period of up to 15 years, under a model that delivers economic benefit to the customer from day one, with that benefit growing each year thenceforward. A good example of this was Spotless’s own laundry business. The 19 sites across Australia, some of them dating from the 1950s, faced increased annual energy costs of more than A$1 million as of 2017. Doing nothing was not an option, so UASG looked at replacing old and gas or electric boilers with the latest energy efficient gas micro turbines or co-generation plant as a way to generate power at a cheaper rate. Where appropriate, solar deployment is considered as well: low energy lighting, meter reconfiguration and water recycling solutions are also considered


to improve efficiency. “We can upgrade the critical infrastructure on site to provide a reduction in energy and water consumption using technology that will be able to deliver the same functionality at a much lower cost,” he says. Though each case is unique, typically an investment of a couple of million dollars will be recovered by the customer within three years thereafter those savings go direct to that customer’s bottom line. If UASG funds deployment the savings will be seen from year one, while capital costs are recovered over a longer period. Solutions like these apply to any high

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energy use business. Laundries are one; another good example would be leisure and aquatic centres and these days few businesses can afford to stay as they are where energy use is concerned. One large not-for-profit services provider for people with disabilities undertook a comprehensive energy upgrade across its facilities: within three


months it reported that its energy usage was down by 15 percent, and that it expects to achieve annual savings of $31,000 in HVAC and lighting costs alone. It also remarked on a huge reduction in maintenance call-outs thanks to the greater reliability of the assets installed – and in this case it’s worth noting that the customer was

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RELATIONSHIPS MADE OF STEEL . BlueScope Plate Supplies is proud to be associated with UASG, providing quality steel products and supply solutions. ABOUT BLUESCOPE PLATE SUPPLIES BlueScope Plate Supplies offers a wide range of high quality Australian made steel plate products backed by our expert technical support and flexible supply. OUR PRODUCT RANGE Our range of products comprise:

Key to our offer is our ability to provide JIT delivery services and consistent quality products. With our significant stock holdings we are able to deliver on time, ensuring consistent supply and quality, providing value to key clients like Utility Asset Services Group, (UASG). OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH UASG By working closely together, we are able to ensure both businesses achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and seek out ways to improve through a culture of excellence and innovation. We are able to respond quickly to UASG needs and can accommodate adjustments to project requirements, including design and scheduling changes, without missing critical deadlines.

• TRU-SPEC® steel • XLERPLATE® steel • Weathering Steel • Boiler & Pressure Vessel Plate • Quenched & Tempered Plate • Aluminium OUR SERVICE OFFER As part of the BlueScope group of companies, we have the ability to investigate and produce specially designed steel grades outside our standard range and offer a number of third party certification options as well as non-standard test requirements. We’re committed to providing high quality processing capabilities, ranging from simple processing to more complex and precise processing work. Backed by our commitment to quality, all our products comply with Australian standards and we hold ISO 9001 Quality Management System Accreditation.

OUR INNOVATIVE STEEL EFFICIENCY REVIEW™ With our Steel Efficiency Review™ offer, we can look closely at your business operations to identify potential cost and time savings and make incremental changes which can translate into profit improvements. We have worked closely with UASG to continually improve and increase efficiency in the areas of stock, forecasting and material flow management thereby ensuring optimal supply chain and resource management.

For more information call on 1800 549 197 or visit XLERPLATE®, TRU-SPEC®, BlueScope Plate Supplies and BlueScope Brand Mark are registered trademarks of BlueScope Steel Limited.© 2016 BlueScope Steel Limited ABN 16 000 011 058. All rights reserved. Steel Efficiency Review is a trade mark of BlueScope Steel Limited. ABN 16 000 011 058



“Many customers today want to do these upgrades but don’t have the technical know-how or the capital to do it” – Stephen Ellich, CEO of UASG & AES

helped by AES to obtain a $134,000 grant from the Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP), which provides co-funding to local governing bodies and non-profit community organisations for energy efficiency projects. The combined expertise of UASG and AES is now united under a common management team, with regional general managers in each state, with the exception of large and complex construction projects requiring skilled project management, which are looked after by a national AES general

manager. The largest such contract currently on hand, worth some $100 million, is to provide HVAC and other elements for the Queensland Government’s $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital funded by Lendlease, a new public tertiary teaching hospital. The work started early in 2015 and will be completed later this year, and the hospital is due to open in 2017. A new model for BOOT “Our business has deep and broad engineering expertise,” says Ellich. “When a customer

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wants to talk about their problem these experts look at their billing and tariffs and walk through their property as a first pass to identify the potential spectrum of engineering opportunities and the savings than might be available. If that looks positive we take it to the next stage where we do a very deep audit on their physical infrastructure, then


provide them with a detailed costing and economic impact model.� This is submitted in two forms, he explains, one funded by the customer, one by UASG. The latter is the build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) model, which many readers will be familiar with applied to construction and civil engineering. It has not, however, been much used

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for critical infrastructure upgrades, and hardly ever before as a tool to drive down energy costs. Energy performance contracting is, then an innovative way to proceed. “We are finding that many customers today want to do these upgrades but don’t have the technical know-how or the capital to do it,” says Stephen Ellich. “When we talk to them they are often really surprised at the savings they can make by taking a more holistic view of their critical infrastructure and the amount of energy that can be saved by making use of solar, gas micro-turbines or cogen/trigen plants and by putting in more energy efficient equipment like LED lighting. When these things are done at scale, by an organisation with the engineering expertise to make them all work together, for example in large shopping centre the savings are very significant.” This is a very opportune time for UASG/AES, he declares with


conviction. Substantial reforms to the national electricity market are underway in 2017 following recommendations to the state and federal governments by the AEMC’s Power of Choice review which allows consumers to make informed choices about the way they use electricity. Ultimately, consumers will be in the best position to decide what works for them. “Ownership of the metering infrastructure changes. We will see a power shift from the distributor-led to a more retail-led business as the retailers become more hands-on with infrastructure rather than simply differentiating themselves on tariffs.” As one of the largest metering companies in Australia, UASG can partner these organisation in this industry transformation. Coming together under Spotless enabled the UASG entities and later AES to move their back office systems onto the parent group’s

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Technology that has helped us save time and run operations more efficiently


SAP infrastructure, and upgrade to its cloud-based systems, changing the business from a paper-based to a fully electronic operation. This was a painless enough migration thanks to Spotless’s top to bottom training – and it resulted, he says, in a better governed, more compliant and structured business. Charting the way forward Most of the work within the UASG


group is carried out using its own resources and personnel. Ellich likes it that way, because it makes for a close engagement with the customer both at grass roots and management level, so only around 30 percent of projects are reliant on subcontractors. The exception to that is Skilltech, the company that installs 100,000 meters a year and reads them more than 70 million times, using its own staff almost

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Mackay based Electrical Company servicing the Central Queensland region with a wide range of expertise A Family owned business with an excellent reputation for reliable quality service and safety

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exclusively. The company has installed more than 880,000 smart meters in Victoria and carries out a large network metering contracts throughout Australia. Metering is no longer a drudge for staff and customers alike, he stresses. His innovations and emerging markets team has created unique devices for saving and tracking water consumption called SmartPipe. With the backing of Spotless, UASG is developing a metering centric application called MIMTR, which is going to be able to provide all metering services from a single device under one system. “Our view of it is that it provides, uniquely, a contractor portal for field mobility and data acquisition. It provides a customer portal for the utility to get real time access to their data via an internet browser. Plus a consumer APP so if customers get an estimated reading, they can enter their own data and can put the right information direct into the utility’s system through our interface. Customers get frustrated when they receive estimated bills, but now they can enter their own data on a highly secure channel. From the utility’s point of view, sincethe

“We will see a power shift from the distributor-led to a more retailled business as the retailers become more hands-on with infrastructure” – Stephen Ellich, CEO of UASG & AES

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Company Information NAME

UASG/AES (Spotless Group) INDUSTRY

Energy services HEADQUARTERS

Head Office, 549 St Kilda Road , Melbourne, Victoria, Australia FOUNDED


APP can authenticate the information that the consumer uploads, the ability to defraud is vastly reduced.� The business case for working with UASG is compelling, as energy costs rise and technology provides the means to limit these, however environmental awareness goes well beyond this thanks partly to Australia’s National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) which measures and compares the environmental efficiency of premises. The company has its own NABERS assessors to help clients achieve the highest standards of compliance.



TREE expertise Asplundh New Zealand is the country’s leading vegetation management company, standing out from the crowd thanks to the backing of its global parent company Asplundh Tree Expert Written by: Patricia Carswell Produced by: Josef Smith



ielding a cutting device right next to a power line is just the sort of dangerous activity that calls for an experienced hand – and they don’t come more experienced than Asplundh New Zealand. It’s part of the US-based, family-owned Asplundh Tree Expert Co., which


July 2016

has been providing vegetation management since its founders started trimming trees away from power lines and telephone wires in Philadelphia in 1929. Asplundh has been providing a vegetation management services for New Zealand utilities for 27 years. This long pedigree doesn’t


allow for any complacency, though. “It’s very competitive,” says Managing Director Kevin Burt. With 29 utility networks servicing only 4.5 million people, and some of the networks providing their own services in-house, Asplundh can’t rest on its laurels. “We have to be more than just a cutting company to our clients,” says Burt. To stand out from the crowd in such a competitive environment, it helps to have the backing of a global enterprise. “One of our USPs is the ability to deliver a higher level of capability,” says Burt. “We have access to technology, we have access to systems and we have access to equipment which generally may not be cost effective for smaller operators or networks.” Equipment, that is, like the Jarraff and MiniJarraff – a fully insulated mechanical line-trimmer which allows the operators to remain on the ground or in a protective cabin, at a safe distance from the power line. The Jarraff makes the business of cutting trees next to power lines significantly safer. “Unfortunately we’ll never get to the point of

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Key people

Kevin Burt MD

”Unfortunately we’ll never get to the point of removing the physical aspect of men and equipment needing to be in close proximity to the power line but over time, as the vegetation management regimes improve here in New Zealand, those tools and devices will have a much greater impact.” 83


removing the physical aspect of men and equipment needing to be in close proximity to the power line but over time, as the vegetation management regimes improve here in New Zealand, those tools and devices will have a much greater impact.” Investment in equipment like


July 2016

the Jarraff reflects Asplundh’s commitment to safety. “Safety first, no one gets hurt” is the company’s slogan and mission statement, and according to Burt they are not just empty words. “We work in an extremely high risk environment and everything I do as a managing director and everything I


challenge our staff to deliver is very much driven by that [mission statement].” State-of-the-art equipment isn’t the sole answer to safety, of course; without good operators the best equipment, it is worthless. “We take the qualifications, skill and competency of our staff very, very

seriously,” says Burt. “We empower them to be out there operating independently and we need to make sure they’re not only technically proficient in what they’re doing but trained in the soft skills to be able to make smart decisions on the ground.” Asplundh has its own warranting

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“Unfortunately we’ll never get to the p of men and equipment needing to be in but over time, as the vegetation manag Zealand, those tools and devices will h – Kevin Burt, MD

system for its staff and works with the industry to improve standards. “We’re about whole, industry-wide safety and actively participating in utility working groups to share that information,” says Burt. Small wonder, then, that when new health and safety legislation came in this year, Asplundh was barely affected. “We have a history and culture of exceeding the


July 2016

legislation, so for us it was a very easy transition.” What Burt has seen changing is the client’s role in setting and enforcing health and safety standards. “Our clients are stepping up. They are understanding their vital role in health and safety and understanding the first principle that we have to take reasonable steps to ensure any risk to our employees is


point of removing the physical aspect n close proximity to the power line gement regimes improve here in New have a much greater impact.”

mitigated. The thinking is changing for the positive, I believe.” Asplundh singles itself out further with a vegetation asset management system, known as VAMS, which Burt championed when he arrived at the company. A former officer in the military, and armed with a degree in IT, he asked himself how the business could add value in a tight market with agile competitors.

“How do you do that when your main function is cutting trees next to power lines? Well, you get into the mindset of doing that smarter, sharper, safer. In our space that’s gaining vegetation intelligence and delivering a better outcome,” he says. “To reduce our client’s network vegetation risk and deliver industry leading productivity, we capture the vegetation and cutting data, and

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effectively analyse it to ensure our programs see us sending the right people to the right job for the right outcome at the right time.” VAMS allows the business to think strategically, looking ahead to a 5-10 or even longer cycle. “Vegetation is not going to go away,” says Burt. “We have to make sure we’re not thinking short term and just going around doing the same old thing year on year.” So successful has VAMS been that it is now

“To reduce our client’s network vegetation risk and deliver industry leading productivity, we capture the vegetation and cutting data, and effectively analyse it to ensure our programs see us sending the right people to the right job for the right outcome at the right time” – Kevin Burt, MD

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being rolled out across the US. Burt is understandably gratified. “The satisfaction is driven primarily because of the skill and ability of my staff here in New Zealand who have been real leaders of the development, who have taken the time and effort to see the vision. It’s hard to test and trial and update while running business as usual, so system development is never a smooth process, but if people see

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the vision and the benefits that it can deliver they’ll push hard for it.” Utility vegetation management isn’t the only service Asplundh offers; over the years it has diversified. “To stay in a small marketplace we have to look at other revenue streams,” says Burt. A significant percentage of the business is open space management which includes services such as the maintenance of


sports fields and parks, mowing, gardening and even burial and sexton services. As for the future of Asplundh New Zealand, the main aim is to continue with what they are doing, only better. “I think there’s strong benefit in focusing on what we’re currently doing and doing it better and delivering better value for money to our clients,” says Burt. Keeping pace with rapidly-changing technology is key to this. Burt is excited by the potential of LiDAR (light detecting and ranging) – laser scanning technology that is being introduced into vegetation management to capture vegetation data around distribution and transmission lines to identify areas with clearance issues. “When harnessed correctly it is a powerful tool,” he says. He foresees an increasingly collaborative approach to vegetation management, with an online portal where members of the public can report issues and learn about risks. “They can start to take ownership.” Whatever the technology may be, Burt is positive about the next few years. “I think the future looks bright,” he says. “It’s going to be exciting to evolve the business and see how the industry evolves over the next three to five years.”

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Company Information NAME


Vegetation Management HEADQUARTERS

PO Box 14-501, Panmure, Auckland, 1741, Panmure, Auckland New Zealand, 1741 FOUNDED






Gold Coast Cabs (GC Cabs) is a public unlisted company o and by some margin the largest taxi operator in Australia’s noted for its reliability and its commitment to its customers Written by: John O’Hanlon Produced by: Vince Kielty


owned by its 135 shareholders s premier tourist region. It is s, drivers and staff



ustralia’s Gold Coast is strictly speaking a city, the country’s largest that isn’t a capital. But add the definite article and the Gold Coast is a densely populated 55 kilometre strip that runs along the Queensland coast from Ormeau in the north to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads (which are just into New South Wales), and from the famous surfing beaches in the east to the forested


July 2016

hills around Springbrook in the west. By far its largest industry is tourism, so it’s no surprise that one of the things that make it tick is its taxi service. The largest operator GC Cabs has been in business since 1937, so it has grown with the region’s popularity. Since July 2014 the company has been led by CEO Gordana Blazevic, a very experienced businesswoman whose background


in the public sector and police work gives her a deep insight into the core values of a business whose reputation stands on its ability to deliver a reliable, and even more important, a safe service to more than half a million residents and over ten million visitors each year. The business model, she explains, is a collaborative one whereby affiliated owner/operators are licensed to use the GC Cabs brand name: the company does all the booking, scheduling, training, maintenance and compliance work from its Helensvale headquarters, administered by nearly 100 direct

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Key people

Gordana Blazevic CEO of Golden Coast Cabs A self-motivated individual, Blazevic previously held senior management positions in a number of government agencies and private companies prior to successfully managing her own consulting business. Strategic and results driven, she has an ability to easily build rapport with a diverse range of people and collaborate with key internal and external stakeholders to achieve business outcomes. Blazevic originally studied and worked as a criminologist. Over time, her professional interests and skills broadened to a greater business focus. She has worked with private and public sector clients in a broad range of industries including agriculture, community services, education, energy, government, health, hospitality, finance, law enforcement, property development, security, tourism and transport.


employees and home to its driver recruitment and training centre. All the drivers however are selfemployed, either owning their own vehicle or having an agreement with an operator to drive one of their cabs and to share fare revenues, 96

July 2016

insurance costs and other overheads. A cab might be part of a small business investment or as in many cases, an individual will see investment in a taxi as a good way to spend their retirement fund and secure ongoing


financial independence. As it approaches its 80th birthday, GC Cabs is one of the Gold Coast’s institutions, says Blazevic. “When people think of the Gold Coast they think newness and transience but there are

some important stable, iconic and institutional things too, and we’re one of them! Our customers range from residents to business people and of course tourists, but a very large amount of specialised work is undertaken too, such as servicing w w w. g c c a b s . c o m . a u



special events. That’s something that will be in huge demand when the Gold Coast hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2018, she points out. In addition, the company undertakes contract work for all levels of government, private clients and the health sector. It is worth noting that of i ts 352-strong fleet, 125 are wheelchair accessible. Saving energy always cuts cost, but hybrid vehicles are ideal for taxi


July 2016

work, and that’s why 51 percent of the cars are Toyota Prius hybrids. “When the car decelerates, it charges the batteries. The electriconly mode is very good at low speed and stop/start, but in highway driving it kicks over to a blend of electric and petrol. We get a better mileage – about 30 percent better than a petrol only vehicle.” Though ‘maxi taxis’ are not yet available as hybrid, the other vehicles all run on low emission diesel or duel fuel


petrol and LPG. This is sound fuel economy management- as we know taxis spend a lot of time waiting, and in the hot Queensland climate the cars keep running for the comfort of drivers and passengers alike. Hybrid cars are ideal for this, she says, as they idle using electricity only and produce no emissions. This is a company that takes community engagement seriously. “Our employees raise money for

Guide Dogs Queensland,” she says. “And we’re proud to be the sponsors of the annual Invitational Athletics Championships for Children with Disabilities. This year is our 30th anniversary as major sponsors. Many young people use these championships as a stepping stone to the Paralympics.” Among the other causes the company supports are the Gold Coast University Hospital Foundation, and the Gold Coast Centre against Sexual

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“When people think of the Gold Coast they think newness and transience but there are some important stable, iconic and institutional things too, and we’re one of them!” – Gordana Blazevic, CEO of Gold Coast Cabs


July 2016

Violence, which benefits from all the unclaimed lost property. “We’re very conscious that we need to give back to our community,” she emphasises. Any Australian with a clean driving record, no criminal convictions, a reasonable command of English and a good level of fitness can apply to become a driver. “We ask them to pass a numeracy and literacy assessment as well, because obviously there is some paperwork and calculation involved,” she explains. “As a registered training organisation we can then put them into our driver training program. Initially there’s a week of intensive training combining desk learning with practical work on the road.” Following that they are taken around the Gold Coast until they are familiar with its major roads and attractions. But what can’t so easily be taught are the values of the organisation. Being a taxi driver can be a combination of a paramedic, social worker, carer – and sometimes even a counsellor when a passenger has things on their mind. When dealing with children, the elderly, young people trying to get home late at night and overseas visitors who may not have the best English, they


need to be sensitive and tactful. “It’s all about customer service,” stresses Blazevic. “Often we’re the first people visitors see when they get off the plane. Taxi drivers are asked for restaurant and hotel recommendations and what to see while they’re here. They also rely on us to get them safely to where they want to go. So our drivers have a role as ambassadors for our tourism industry and that is part of their training.” Disruptive – or distrusted? Blazevic is happy to work in a highly competitive environment, in which there are bus, light rail and community transport options as well as other taxi firms. But she is a passionate campaigner against the

unregulated, and in Queensland still illegal, Uber and other ride-sharing services. It’s not that she is against the technology: in fact GC Cabs was well ahead of the game when it launched its own mobile app in 2011. Since then it has been refined by its developer MT Data, the company that designed GC Cabs’ hyperefficient dispatch system, and can offer all that Uber can, and a lot besides. All GC Cabs vehicles are GPS tracked all of the time, and are equipped with in-car cameras, she points out. “That is critical for the safety of the passenger and the driver. Universal Service Obligation (USO) regulations require Gold Coast taxis to be available 24/7, 365 days a year and to pick up where and when they are called but just try

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getting Uber at 3am in an outlying suburb on a Saturday and see how far you get!” Another point to remember is that regulated taxis have to be under six years old and properly maintained. More important though is the safety aspect. “With GC Cabs you know who your driver is and you have the added security of in-

car surveillance. As soon as the car starts the equipment goes on; the driver has no control over that equipment and can’t tamper with it.” The stills cameras in the fleet are currently being replaced with full CCTV, something that will be complete by 2018. Competition is fine but not at the expense of hundreds of small

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taxi business owners and drivers who provide jobs, pay taxes and contribute to the local economy. On the same theme, you won’t be able to get a wheelchair into an Uber. 28 percent of GC Cabs’ fleet consists of 11 person ‘maxi’ taxis, with a wheelchair hoist. “We’re committed to making our transport services accessible to everybody in the community. We complete over three million trips a year and four percent of those are with wheelchair passengers on board many subsidised through the Department of Veterans Affairs and through the Taxi Subsidy Scheme. Importantly

we complete approximately 40,000 school runs a year for young people with a disability, 35 percent of them are in wheelchairs. They’re some of our most precious cargo and we take extremely good care of them!” Technology that works The GC Cabs mobile app is designed to make life simple. Says Blazevic: “Gone are the days when you have to wait at the corner to see when the cab will turn up. 400 metres out, the Message on Approach feature sends a text to say that the cab is here.” The app has proven a great promotional

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opportunity as well. A TV commercial and video featuring surfers, the local Titans rugby league team, people with a disability, celebrities and the new company mascot ‘Franks’ received over 10,000 views within 24 hours of its release over social media: “That tells me that we really are connecting with our customer base and with young people who are our future customers” she comments. The old radio system is retained as a fall back but fleet management is largely moving to the app and the high end IT that links dispatch, surveillance, accounts and communications. “Our IT systems have to be the best available on the market because we can’t afford to go down, and that’s where the support of our partner Mercury IT is so integral to our business. They’ve been with us for seven years and they know our systems inside out.” The company uses industry-specific Integrated Taxi Management Accounting System from MSD: “At GC Cabs we act as a clearing house for multiple operations and contracts, clear the funds and get them out to the operators and the drivers, so our accounting system has to accommodate the different ways in which we process funds,” she explains. “To manage those rather complex financial arrangements, we rely on the sage advice of our accountants PKF who have been involved with our business for over 10 years.”

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Company Information NAME

Gold Coast Cabs INDUSTRY

Transportation HEADQUARTERS

11 Millennium Circuit, Helensvale, Queensland, Australia, QLD 4212 FOUNDED






Business Review Australia explores the ways in which Allscripts is revolutionising digital processes in South Australia’s healthcare sector Written by: John O’Hanlon | Produced by: Vince Kielty




n 2010 the South Australian Government issued a tender to find an organisation to provide an electronic medical record system. It was an ambitious project by SA Health to introduce what is called an Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) - taking an industry that had been built on paper-based records to one that utilises the advances that technology can bring. However, while major projects such as this are a quantum leap for the health system, they are complicated. There are many moving parts and many, many stakeholders who need to be involved in all stages of the transformation. And of course there are long periods of time when both systems are operating. The benefits, however, are enormous. Improved patient care and safety and reduced operating costs among them. On a day-to-day operational basis it also means: 1. Increased safety through safer drug prescribing, reduced errors and adverse events in patient care and improved legibility of patient notes and prescriptions. 108

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2. Improved continuity of care through integrated records and SA Ambulance can view patient records prior to arrival at the hospital. 3. Time gains through quicker and easier to access a patient’s record, improved timeliness of letters to GPs and specialists and reduced missed patient appointments.


In South Australia, to date, EPAS has been rolled out across three hospitals (Noarlunga Hospital (Private and Public), Port Augusta Hospital and the Repatriation General Hospital) and four GP clinics. The system provides a consistent and complete electronic health record for every patient across SA Health sites, replacing a number of complex

network incompatibility which were becoming increasing difficult to maintain. Providing the backbone of the EPAS technology is Allscripts, a global leader in healthcare information technology solutions. The Allscripts technology will also be part of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital upgrade in 2016 as well as built into the state-of-the-art


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new Royal Adelaide Hospital (new RAH) which opens later in the year - and is being acclaimed as one of the most technologydriven hospitals in the world. The benefits are already being seen for the hospitals and health services using EPAS. Medication prescription and administration error rates have been substantially reduced at hospitals and health services using EPAS, compared to when these sites were using a paper record. Patients are receiving greater continuity of care because patient information across EPAS activated sites has enabled timely access to patient information that would have previously been held at an individual site in a paper record.

Allscripts was appointed as SA Health’s supplier for the EPAS rollout in 2011. Allscripts brought with it its Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system and developed an Australian Patient Administration System which makes dramatic improvement in the way hospitals and GP clinics use and share a patient’s valuable information.



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This system delivers greater workflow efficiency, reduced patient treatment times, better patient safety and an overall improvement in the quality of care. An EMR system can potentially improve patient safety by reducing medical errors leading to adverse events. EMR functionalities, such as computerised physician order entry (CPOE), clinical decision support (CDS), and electronic documentation, can improve clinical decision making, communication, and foster 112

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improvements in workflow. Allscripts is one of the global leaders in EMR technology. It has been voted as the #1 EMR by BlackBook for use in hospitals above 250 beds in the United States for the third year in succession. The result is based on answers from 23,000 qualified users in Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems which ranked 559 vendors. Allscripts provides an open, integrated portfolio of healthcare IT and solutions for hospitals, clinics and extended care organisations.


It has an IT footprint in more than 2,500 hospitals around the world to more than 180,000 physicians. It prides itself on connecting people, places and information across all care settings through an open connected community of health. In South Australia, the EPAS transformation is the largest ITenabled project that the state has undertaken, according to SA Health Executive Director of eHealth and CIO Bill Le Blanc: “It’s basically leaping the industry forward by about 40 years; health is where

manufacturing used to be back in the 1960s. It’s one of the last industries that has held out in terms of its usage of technology,” he says. For Allscripts, which has rolled out EPAS systems globally, working with SA Health gives it a major footprint in Australia - which it is looking to grow. Allscripts Managing Director of Asia Pacific, David Chambers, said “I am really excited about what our technology is able to bring to hospitals and clinics - and in turn for the general public who utilise their services.





July 2016

“Errors will occur when thousands of patients are being shunted around between doctors every day without a standardised system to efficiently transmit their personal information.” In one case in another state, Chambers said he had heard that a patient bled to death after being discharged from hospital


because the person was on a blood thinning drug and did not realise he had to get his GP to check his dose in the following days. He did turn up to his GP, but his GP had no idea he was on anticoagulant drugs because there was no communication, and his blood thinned too much. The patient died. “That can easily happen.�

In another real life example, Chambers explained that an elderly man went to a GP clinic with prostate issues. No latex allergy had been noted in his primary care record, nor would this likely be noted, since primary care records typically only reference drugrelated allergies. The GP’s ability to view the longitudinal care record





of this patient (including treatment from acute care facilities) within his normal workflow enabled him to note that an allergy to latex had been noted in an acute care environment in the past. If this had not been found, the results of a routine examination for prostate issues using standard latex gloves would have had at the very least uncomfortable consequences if not a more severe reaction. While most GPs keep safe electronic records of their patients’ history and receive secure email messages from pathology and diagnostic imaging providers, there is a major breakdown between GP clinics and hospitals which simply don’t have the ability to



share data and documents. Chambers joined Allscripts in October 2013 having been involved in healthcare for more than two decades including Agfa Healthcare, Bayer Diagnostics and most recently Carestream Health. He is supported in Australia by a dedicated team of experienced 118

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business and clinical resources who are focused on enabling healthcare transformation by creating an Open, Connected Community of Health. “We know our technology can help improve patient care and we know that with the hospitals that have already switched to the EPAS system have noticed


considerable improvements. “These projects are complicated and there are a lot of moving parts. But working closely with SA Health, we’re making significant progress toward safer, more efficient patient care. With projects that span several years - as this one does - there are regular updates and improvement s in what we can offer.” The e-health system launched on August 25, 2013 at Noarlunga Health Service, a public/private hospital situated in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. On day one more than 2,000 electronic medical

orders were placed. The system has been configured for about 30,000 users, and around 1,200 people who have been trained to use the system at the Noarlunga hospital. Currently, over 5,500 users are registered in EPAS. SA Health customised the Allscripts Sunrise Enterprise suite to create the EPAS. It can be used for both clinical and administrative hospital functions, assisting in 80 per cent of healthcare workers’ activities. EPAS is accessed via desktop computers, bedside monitors, a clinical portal and



“I use EPAS every day. what’s happening with

“Everything is legible w I think that’s one of its m from the Repat hospita hospital in an emergen

DR. JIM HOLLAND Clinical Director, Emergency Department, Noarlunga Hospital

“I use EPAS every day. I couldn’t function in my daily job without using it, for example, wh dispensary I use it to look up blood results, to look up the patient’s past medical history.

“For the patients, having EPAS at several different sites, it really increases the continuity If a patient is getting transferred from one site to another, so if they go from Noarlunga to Repat has all the information for that patient’s admission.

“Make the most of all the learning and training opportunities you have, because the more the system, the more you learn to love it and see all of the fantastic benefits that it has to

“I’m an ear, nose and th up to Port Augusta. Pro

“Going up once a mon there a couple years be to track down notes, re

DR JC HODGE ENT Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital


July 2016

“Now everything is cen including those that I’v which would have been


. The ED status board let’s me see all of the patients in the department. It shows me h each patient on an individual basis but also helps me to manage the department.

which means there is a reduction in errors in transcription. With other sites using EPAS, main strengths, because so much information is visible, for example, having a patient al visiting the urology clinics, we can now see that clinic note if they present to our ncy.”

hen I’m in the

y of care for the patient. o the Repat, then the

e familiar you get with offer.”

LISA KITTO Pharmacist, Noarlunga Hospital

hroat specialist and I’m based in the Royal Adelaide Hospital but have a monthly trip obably the most significant benefits that I’ve had using EPAS is in outpatients.

nth it can be difficult to locate all the notes from patients, results. I had been going up efore EPAS was introduced and often I’d have patients waiting to see me, were trying esults and these sort of things.

ntralised on EPAS. The patient turns up and I’ve got access to all their blood tests ve not organised, which is critical as they might be seeing other specialists and GPs n difficult to manage but now I have access to all communication and results.


mobile devices such as tablets. There are three EPAS modules - Clinical Manager, Records Manager and Patient Flow. The new system places South Australian public hospitals and healthcare sites at the forefront of advancements in e-health. Professor Paddy Phillips, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Public Health Officer, SA Health, explains that “there will be continuous 122

July 2016

information available for clinicians about their patients at any site across SA Health … It is a system that will always be evolving. So it’s not locked in concrete, just as clinical care is not locked in concrete. It will improve and change as practice improves and changes.” Dr J.C. Hodge, ENT Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital said: “Overall I’m very happy with EPAS. It’s


really revolutionised my handling and treatment of patients in Port Augusta. As a result, it’s more streamlined, I see more patients, it’s more efficient. I’ve been happy, the patients are happy … it’s made a big difference.” The complete transformation across the state of the hospital system will eventually take seven years. Technology is not confined to

just the medical staff. Patients can use the computers for watching television and movies, listening to the radio, surfing the Internet and making external phone calls. The equipment for a bedside computer consists of a 17-inch touchscreen, keyboard and telephone, headphones and it is mounted to a wall or from the ceiling. The equipment is regularly bleached and cleaned for infection control. Bedside computers can switch from being an entertainment package for patients to a clinical work station for healthcare workers. Staff insert their cards when they need to access clinical information. Chambers said integrating systems is one of the biggest challenges in getting an e-health project of this size and scale up and running. Allscripts has completed similar system transformations across the globe. As Asia Pacific MD Chambers also oversees the Allscripts EMR projects in Singapore. Allscripts today delivers EMR solutions to a number of public and private hospitals in



Singapore including a 1,600 bed general hospital and an 800 bed women’s and children’s hospital. Clinicians in hospitals in Singapore using Allscripts EMR are able to electronically order a number of services. They can also view results electronically from radiology, cardiology, pathology and other healthcare services. In addition, physician


July 2016

documentation using structured templates and the use of clinical decision support tools are available. Management of medications are simplified and controlled at many of the hospitals and healthcare facilities in Singapore using Allscripts EMR which significantly reduces the number of steps in medication administration and decreases the rate of harm from adverse drug effects. The benefits, explains Chambers, of digitising health records is not only in reducing the number of adverse events but before EPAS, multiple tests were ordered because it was not visible to healthcare workers that there was a test ordered in another hospital or they weren’t able to immediately access the results of a recent test. “The costs of some of these tests are huge so we are expecting tests costs to drop significantly,” he said. Chambers also said that with any transformation one of the


most difficult issues was - in this case - operating both a paperbased system and a digitised one. “Obviously we can’t switch everything over at once. It is a gradual process but by working closely with the SA Health project teams and utilising Allscripts global experience, together we are implementing a successful project which is delivering on the expected clinical outcomes.” Bill Le Blanc added: “Where we are different in SA relative to our interstate counter parts, is that our

EPAS system is providing a single patient administrative and medical record for all EPAS hospitals. In a health system with service delineation between hospitals, this provides an order of magnitude greater benefit than facility-based EMRs. However it’s also much harder to implement the associated business change because of the level of standardisation required across multiple hospitals.” Projects such as these are not completed in a single point of time because clinical practice



changes as knowledge evolves. As a result a continuous stream of new changes are moved into the production EPAS system based in evidence based medicine reviewed and overseen by clinical governance across SA Health. Chambers said that he was looking forward to the opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (new RAH) in 2016. “It really will be one of the most advanced hospitals in the world from a technology perspective.” 126

July 2016

The new RAH will be SA Health’s major teaching hospital with some of the state’s most senior clinicians overseeing clinical practice, actively involved in clinical research and training and mentoring the next generation of clinicians. The configuration to support the new RAH will become the footprint for the other large sites ensuring consistence of standard of care across the state. Today, no other Australian state using an Electronic


Company Information NAME

Allscripts Australia INDUSTRY

Healthcare Information Technology C O N TA C T

Headquarters Chicago, IL - USA Australia Office Richmond, Victoria EMPLOYEES


Health Record has the adoption depth of electronic clinical records as South Australia. Allscripts is excited to be part of the EPAS project in SA explained Chambers. “We have established a committed relationship with SA Health and a partnership built on professional trust, consideration and understanding. We are honoured to be associated with what we have achieved to date but more so, on what the future brings for patient care in SA. We strongly feel we are enabling a better future healthcare environment and for this, we are extremely proud.�


Allscripts Managing Director of Asia Pacific: David Chambers SA Health Executive Director of eHealth and CIO: Bill Le Blanc




Vision Australia, a leading national organisation for services to people who are blind or have low vision, has been undergoing transformational change to give it greater relevance, agility and customer focus as it prepares for a more commercially focused role Written by: John O’Hanlon Produced by: Vince Kielty 129



reated in 2004 through the merger of four smaller organisations Vision Australia later amalgamated with another three organisations including Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA). It emerged as a truly national organisation to reach each of Australia’s eight states and territories and support the needs of many of Australians who are blind or have low vision through 800 paid staff and more than 4,000 volunteers. Like any business formed by mergers, it had much to do in the way of integration and finding a viable identity for its clients and staff. It also faced dramatic changes in the way it was funded. The Vision Australia board recognised that moving from receiving large amounts of money to provide services to assist blind and partially sighted clients was a very different matter from the government giving the money to individuals to select and purchase the services they wanted. In January 2013 Vision Australia appointed a new CEO with the 130

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brief of delivering transformational strategic change. Ron Hooton had 20 years of board level experience behind him much of it as a CIO in the banking and government sectors, and latterly as CEO of a large primary healthcare provider in his native New Zealand.

An orientation and mobility specialist, Luke, works with 12-year-old Dominic who has low vision


A ROA DM A P TO ENGAG EM ENT He found an organisation that was challenged by a very different future funding model from block funding to individualised funding under the NDIS and My Aged Care. At the time, it had a mindset that focused on the way things had been done in the past. Staff engagement, and support for the organisation and its leadership were low, he says. Staff were grappling with how they would fit in to the new world of competitive funding, and while there was commercial awareness and

a focus on productivity in some areas across the organisation, this needed to become the norm. For Australia’s 330,000 so people who are blind, it is good news that at least $50 million of government funds will be available annually for services, but it does demand a huge cultural change among the service providers, he stresses. Cultural change was at the top of his agenda from day one. “To assess the organisation we talked to people at the sharp end.” So he focussed on talking to the 550 staff, clients and

“We made it clear to staff that they were welcome to go out there and innovate if it works for clients”

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Interview with new CoTé CEO, Cameron Smith. He discusses the company’s new smart technology platform, virsaic™.

Why should companies be paying more attention to the customer experience?

A superior customer journey is the key to financial success and brand survival because customers are in charge and have very high expectations. What we are seeing is a shift in the balance of power and its being driven by a digital revolution. Technology can deliver so much more for companies wanting a slice of the pie. It’s not about if a company should be investing in building superior customer engagement tools and strategies, it’s about when and how quickly.

What is this new reality all about?

Well as we see it, because we are in the trenches every day, trust in cloud technology and all things digital is accelerating. It’s a great wave to ride. For companies seeking a competitive edge, quality customer engagement is crucial. So everyone in an organisation must reinvent and reimagine the richest, most efficient and engaging way of satisfying shifting customer needs. That means designing and delivering an outstanding experience.

What do companies need to do?

This is about relevancy, immediacy, personalisation and convenience. Maximising meaningful touchpoints and connections, and optimising the engagement with smart technology. Companies today cannot afford to fall behind so leaders need to have a clear vision, organisational support, speed and agility to leverage the opportunity. Companies need a technological “single pane of glass” for their staff to provide an engaging customer experience. This is why virsaic™ is the ideal solution and an effective alternative. It’s already proven to achieve results and is deployed very easily via the cloud, and it integrates with anything. We see it as a game changer for our customers.

What is the payoff?

Integrating virsaic™ can help transform an enterprise because without loyal and satisfied customers a business simply cannot survive. It’s a critical source of competitive advantage. If you look at today’s best and brightest companies they are the one’s unlocking powerful and new approaches to customer engagement. Quality, relevant Omni-channel communications is front and centre for business leaders because they know that when brand loyalty is amplified, profitability can surge. It’s about challenging the status quo.


volunteers. “My first three months were fascinating. I needed to know what was happening so I spent a lot of time on the front line and visited almost every centre.” The point of contact between the client and the organisation is critical, he says: “We had to focus back on that point of contact to find out what we needed to do better.” A group of front line staff wrote a document that set out the current state of the organisation and how it might be changed. This was refined, placed before the board, and at a conference for 100 leaders within Vision Australia held at Geelong in 2014 launched as the Strategic Plan from 2014 to 2018. “I wanted our staff to look forward. At the Geelong conference I made a point of telling

them I was drawing a line in the sand at that moment. From that point we did not look back.” The Strategic Plan outlines Vision Australia’s New Way and was a collaboration involving our Board, a refreshed leadership team, staff and clients. Communication, fairness, flexibility, collaboration – and financial responsibility are among the principles it enshrines, and it identifies three strong core elements for service provision: • Accessible information Access to increasing amounts of information, faster, and in the client’s format of choice. • Advocacy - Advocating for social reform, particularly the removal of barriers to participation in education and employment.


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• Personalised services Organised around three recognised life stage segments to provide professional support and training for clients and their family and close networks. VA LU E S W ITH M E A N I N G In the same vein, he asked staff to help rethink the organisation’s values. “We wanted values that mean something to us. They needed to link to the strategy and give people in professional practice a 136

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licence to operate in a way that is worth something to the client. They came up with Person Centred; Collaborative; Accountable; Agile; and Commercially Focused. The last of these was a real culture shift, Ron Hooton points out. “To tell people who had been working for a charity for years that we want you to understand where the money comes from, where it is going, and the value the clients are getting from that expenditure was a really big step.” These values represent three


levels of commitment, he adds, to the clients, to one another, and the organisation’s commitment to its people. A top down readjustment of corporate culture can take a long time to embed, so Hooton was delighted to find within months signs that the new front line-generated values were being adopted by staff. “We had provided them with a licence that released them from the old shackles,” he says. “Instead of having to do something in a way the client might not quite want just because it was the way we had always done things, staff were able to adjust their action to suit the client. Result - more satisfaction for both clients and staff!” Staff engagement and culture change needed to be supported by structural change. With 800 staff, communication lines could be long. “We had up to five levels of management: I insisted that there should at no point be more than two tiers between myself and the front line worker,” he emphasises. 128 managers within the organisation came down to 65. “We reshaped

the management to create a direct line between the CEO and the front line.” At the same time, he moved to replace 23 local team managers with regional managers, hired for their leadership qualities and adherence to the New Way. “Growing leadership within the organisation is a key element of my strategy.”

Andrew Moffat BCom, LLB, Chair

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VISION AUSTRALIA Vision Australia’s Seeing Eye Dogs’ centre is state-of-theart and includes a rehabilitation pool

TEC H N O LOGY I N TH E SERVICE OF PEOPLE Given Ron Hooton’s background in technology, it’s significant that his first instinct was to address cultural issues rather than tools. Nevertheless he remains acutely aware of the opportunity that technology affords to make the services to clients and the processes within Vision Australia, more effective. “The staff assessed our information systems as very poor, so we provided all the 138

July 2016

front line service workers with MS Surface Pro computers and mobile phones. And this year we are launching a new app we have developed through SalesForce which will revolutionise their working lives. We are solving the technology issue by building a client-focused system aligned to the goals of the organisation.” New technologies, including smart phones, have offered people with low vision access to exciting new ways to improve the ways they


Seeing Eye Dogs Australia volunteer puppy carer, Kate Harry, and puppy Archie who is the 20th puppy she has cared for



July 2016

deal with the challenges of daily life, he says. With the impending appointment of a new Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) he is throwing the full weight of the organisation behind leveraging technology that supports and improves the lives of clients. An example is the increasing use of Telelink conferencing, which provides regular group programmes offering social, peer support, special interest and recreation


activities to people who are socially isolated or live some distance from a Vision Australia centre. It offers a group-style conference call connection made by a volunteer who facilitates the discussion or delivers the subject matter via telephone – all from the comfort of their own home. It also saves Vision Australia a lot of money and time. “We have taken videoconferencing technology and installed it across the organisation,”

explains Hooton. “The original goal was to cut travel costs and time but what our staff have done using their mobiles and mobile technology on their laptops is to introduce service delivery across videoconferencing, rather like a telemedicine concept. Staff in Sydney are delivering services in Western Australia!” He cites the example of an occupational therapist who, finding herself in Tamworth, linked up her laptop to her phone and had w w w. v i s i o n a u s t r a l i a . o r g



someone in Sydney teach a seven year old how to manage her iPad. A remarkable piece of intuitive working. “We made it clear to staff that they were welcome to go out there and innovate if it works for clients.” SalesForce came already optimised for partially sighted users but another big platform 142

July 2016

implementation currently being undertaken, NetSuite enterprise software, did not. 15 percent of Vision Australia’s workforce are themselves blind or have low vision, so the software had to be made accessible – an investment that was justified in two ways. One is that it allowed all the staff to work with the latest enterprise


system: the other is that since Vision Australia is a major advocate for employers across Australia to employ disabled workers it needed to demonstrate best practice internally. T H E R O A D T O 2 0 18 This is proving a crucial year for Vision Australia, with two major

software implementations under way in support of more and better client engagement. At the same time, it is time to develop a more recognisable consumer brand, attractive to the client community and the wider population in Australia, to reflect the new commercial focus. “We want to be as recognisable as Oxfam or w w w. v i s i o n a u s t r a l i a . o r g




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Fred Hollows, and we are very keen to rebuild our brand round stakeholder groups including the people who refer clients to us like ophthalmologists, optometrists and general medical practitioners.” Looking forward, by 2018 he hopes to refine the product portfolio. “I want to redevelop our service around four pillars: education, employment, independence and social inclusion.” 144

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People who are blind or have low vision would probably say that employment is the biggest issue, closely followed by social inclusion in the general community, but education has to come first because it’s an essential precursor to the others, he says. For Ron Hooton, leadership of Vision Australia is an especially fulfilling job. He experienced his own father’s and grandfather’s loss


Company Information NAME

Vision Australia INDUSTRY


800 E S TA B L I S H E D


CEO: Ron Hooton

of sight, and deplores the slowness of the NFP sector to embrace cultural and technological change. “I don’t think they have understood the power of data and of information. The potential for organisations to mine information is very significant. So few have any understanding of how to do it and regard CIOs as an expensive luxury. I don’t think there is the insight in our sector to deploy the significant change that is needed.” If that is the case, at least Vision Australia can now be a benchmark for other service organisations.

BCom, LLB, Chair: Andrew Moffat

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THAILAND’S wine innovators Written by: Nye Longman Produced by: Charlotte Clarke


Archie Gracie, Supply Chain Director

Firmly committing to its ambitious goal to become a regional wine and lifestyle beverage leader, Siam Winery is transforming its supply chain operations and developing a forward-looking business model


July 2016



iam Winery appointed capabilities. It’s very much an end Archie Gracie as its Supply to end continuous improvement Chain Director three years journey in order to have the right ago. Since then he has set about capabilities to support the growth.” transforming the company’s supply chain to support its goal Operations of doubling revenues and profits, As South East Asia’s largest while becoming an international winery, the company has an annual wine retailer through expansion production capacity of 80 million into both Asian and global litres, which amounts to markets. The niche wineroughly a million units maker has faced off a on a daily basis. Siam variety of challenges Winery’s operations to reach this point, cover every aspect from government of winemaking legislation to – from growing geographical and harvesting, Number of Employees stresses. Business through to at Siam Winery Review Asia finds ageing, bottling, out how the company and distribution. It has been able to shrug has two warehouses in these aside and develop a Bangkok, giving it a total storage strong plan for the future. area of 7,600 square meters, “We need to have the capabilities which are supported by its own in terms of innovation,” he says, logistics and distribution system “And also to build capabilities in covering its entire supply chain. terms of driving our performance These assets are crucial to so that we can grow without overthe company’s future strategy, stretching the business – in our as Gracie explains: “In our production and supply chain strategy to the market we want capabilities and in our suppliers’


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“The work of Archie Gracie and others a is an example for all businesses that h that they are demanding the impo


July 2016


at Siam Winery ave been told ossible�

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The Site Pond, last stage of water treatment



Thai Baht Siam Winery Annual Revenue


July 2016

to offer our customers a full portfolio of choice - we want wines from entry level to real wine connoisseurs. Our strategy is to be international purveyors of wine across all of Asia.” Siam Winery’s award-winning grapes are grown at three vineyards across the country. These consist of: Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, home to Monsoon Valley Wine, where its Shiraz, Chenin Blanc and Colombard grape varietals are grown; Tab Kwang, north of Bangkok; and Chang Mai Hills in the far north of Thailand. Alongside its own wines, the company also imports globally-recognised wine brands and produces a range of non-alcoholic beverages. Gracie explains that the company is driving continuous improvement across its operations: “We have embraced world class manufacturing tools and techniques such as kaizen and lean, and we are setting a balanced scorecard of KPIs which are driving performance evaluation across the business. “These are customer service, quality, safety – what I call effectiveness and efficiency. It is also about people metrics – both in terms of happiness and capabilities. We have asset care which is looking after and maintaining the performance of our mainly German and European assets. We are benchmarking our performance with leaders in the market, against people like Diageo, Coca Cola, Heineken, and Pepsi, so we


Oak Cellar for aging wine

understand who is best in class in the beverages segment.” Supply chain transformation Ensuring that the company’s supply chain is fit for purpose is understandably central to expanding into Asian and international markets. But, as Gracie points out, its transformation is also an opportunity to drive innovation and value across the board. He says: “We had a tax change which put a 25 percent increase in our duties. We had to find ways to reduce our costs to try and

mitigate that increase. We didn’t want to – as our competitors do – pass on that tax to the consumer. We managed to sustain growth whereas many other categories and competitors lost volume and lost profit and revenue as a result.” Siam Winery is ensuring that its supply chain retains this resilience while driving innovation in the long term like never before. It is achieving this using a multifaceted approach which consists of implementing new technology, reworking its forecasting approach, and ensuring that its operations adhere to strict

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“As South East Asia’s largest winery, the company has an annual production capacity of 80 million litres, which amounts to roughly a million units on a daily basis”


July 2016


national and international standards. “That’s a key part of our current strategy – how we cope with double the volume in a way that drives efficiency and reduces complexity,” Gracie explains. “That includes a lot of working with the world-class partners like Krones and Gebo Cermex in terms of our packaging processes, and with some of our wine partners to benchmark against Australian Vintage (McGuigan wines), E&J Gallo, and Accolade who are leaders in the field. We can learn a lot from how their businesses – which are much larger in scale – perform versus ours. “Driving efficiencies in the conversion process is a key part but the prime driver is looking at alternative materials. Moving from cork closures to roll on screw caps has been a big way of mitigating cost increases.” A crucial part of the company’s supply chain evolution has focused on ensuring that its operations are performed inline with international standards, which is why it has endeavoured to work in accordance with ISO

Building the team

9000 and ISO 14000 guidelines. Keen to take advantage of the snowballing importance of data, Siam Winery implemented SAP systems last year in order to take a detailed look at its historical data. Forward thinking The niche varieties that Siam Winery produces are well soughtafter by connoisseurs across the world. By making these brands more accessible both regionally and globally, the company is putting Thailand’s viticulture sector on the map. While alcohol advertising is practically forbidden in Thailand, it is certainly not on the continent, which is why the company is dedicating serious resources to the creation of an w w w . s i a m w i n e r y. c o m



international e-commerce website. Gracie adds: “If you really want to have an impact in other Asian markets – particularly China – you need to be online to reach the customer. As we build our export business I see that the opportunities for ebusiness have high potential.” Due to climatic conditions, Thai viticulture by necessity requires year-round attention and intensive labour processes. While Gracie


cannot yet control the weather, he can certainly influence how the company’s daily operations impact the local environment and community. Which is why he has a long-term goal to make all operations carbon neutral and is currently engaging with local officials to build a tri-generation boiler. These recent efforts add to the company’s years of work raising money for local schools through a number of initiatives.

The work of Archie Gracie and others at Siam Winery is an example for all businesses that have been told that they are demanding the impossible. Its founder was told that good wine could never be produced in Thailand – 20 years on, and with Asia and the wider world firmly in its sights, the company is still proving that the impossible can be achieved with the right strategy.

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Supply chain success Written by Nell Walker Produced by Charlotte Clarke



MON Logistics Group’s CEO, Karsten Thrane, discusses the challenges of sustainability in the supply chain industry and how his company is overcoming them


ON Logistics Group began as a refuelling station company, and from there, a need for transportation was identified. Now, Transport is the best known of MON’s businesses, and it covers haulage of fuel, hazardous goods, container haulage, FMCG, factory transfers, milk runs and JIT/ JIS, and cold chain distribution. Alongside this, MON has a container yard operation – currently it runs three yards in Thailand, which handle around 26,000 containers per month – warehouse services including a dry and cold chain warehouses, and a fourth element which offers brokerage in-house as an extension of the transport


July 2016

and warehousing services. Karsten Thrane is the CEO of MON Logistics Group, and was brought into the company to find a way to integrate these four elements of the business. He oversees all operations, reporting back to the family which owns MON Logistics Group. “This is very much a family business and will remain a family business,” Thrane says. “They are still very much involved, but my charge was to go in, develop synergies, and put structures into place that will make the business more sustainable. We also wanted to start creating a more professional environment


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We increase your efficiency with the right warehouse equipment. Effective warehouse design means short routes for goods and personnel. We will show you how to become fast, flexible and efficient. Contact us, we will gladly advise you.


July 2016


for our people, ensuring a career path for them. There are many more development opportunities now.” Thanks to the owners of the company remaining the same, integration proved less difficult than for many other companies. The family owned the land, built property upon it, and the business – and client base – grew around that. The development of the business came from customer demand; if a valued customer requested something that MON Logistics didn’t previously offer, the company simply added a new branch of the business. “For example, clients were supportive of the idea of us introducing a container yard, and consequently, we did that,” explains Thrane. “Same thing with the warehouse business. We

were asked if we had property in a specific place that a customer wanted to build a warehouse on, we said yes, and it grew from there. “The only element that was truly planned is the brokerage business, which was a necessary go-between for full integration. Offering that service now as an integrated part of an asset-based provider opens up the opportunity for us to have less waste and create a greater client experience.” Thrane’s company operates under the core values-acronym SAFE – Safety, Accountability, Focus, and Excellence. It has been running beneath this banner since 2011, but relaunched this year with a more defined interpretation of those values. MON has around 1,000 lorries on the road at any given time, making


Number of employees at Mon Logistics Group w w w. m o n l o g i s t i c s . c o m




July 2016


“There used to be a lot of rules and regulations, but now we’re going with the angle that safety is a guideline of care”

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safety a priority, and the contentment of the drivers is key to that. The company now conducts pre and post-drive interviews with drivers, both to find out how they feel about their work, and to ensure that they have complied with regulations. MON has around 1,000 drivers, making it difficult to maintain standards, but Thrane and his company work hard to retain its good name: “There’s a certain amount of natural turnover and our drivers get poached by other companies. It’s difficult to achieve loyalty on a large scale, but we’re trying to accomplish that by changing how we communicate with them. There used to be a lot of rules and regulations, but now we’re going with the angle that safety is a guideline of care. It’s an expression

The annual revenue of the Mon Logistics Group (THB) 166

July 2016

of our best wishes; taking this different approach will hopefully lead to better, stronger results, and so far the indicators are very promising.” One of the difficulties for any Transport company in Thailand is the hypocritical nature of the country’s pollution and safety standards. Thailand is developing its economy, and while an industrial lorry in Europe will have a common set of minimum standards to adhere to within the country, a Thai lorry may not have the same consistent application of the rules throughout Thailand. Thus, substandard vehicles can be allowed to run regardless of its effect on the environment and road safety based on local authorities’ decisions and interpretations of the standards. “Trucks like these have

1.8 bn


“We’re trying to show a very direct link between what our employees do on a daily basis and how it impacts their lives. We do this because we care rather than because it’s a set rule”

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July 2016


depreciated so much in value because of their age and condition that they’re seen as a compelling commodity,” says Thrane. “The driver will only be looking to cover fuel costs and a little for themselves. When times are tough, everybody is looking to save where they can. As long as you keep showing a transport bill to the management office, most people won’t question it. “That kind of behaviour has lingered here for a long time. We still see our trucks being pulled over for pollution and weight testing, and at the same time, another truck might pass by where they are overloaded or you can’t see the back end for smoke, but the authorities – for whatever reason – choose to not stop them. These issues are problematic, but as more and more multinationals are starting to honour their claims about standards,

we’re slowly seeing improvement.” MON Logistics took on board the concept of sustainability as a matter of necessity driven by client demand; when fuel prices reached a high and customers were concerned that they would never drop, natural gas vehicles became an appealing alternative, even though that technology wasn’t a fully tested and confirmed greener alternative. Thrane looks upon green issues as being linked to safety, not just for employees but as an environmental concern: “We’re trying to show a very direct link between what our employees do on a daily basis and how it impacts their lives. We do this because we care rather than because it’s a set rule.” As MON Logistics continues to expand, especially in regard to its cold chain, it faces challenges head-on with Thrane’s leadership, rising ever more in its rank as one of Thailand’s top logistics groups.

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Right first time

An innovative approach has helped Delta Group to become the largest demolition company in the southern hemisphere

Written by: Jackie Cosh Produced by: Tom Venturo



nnovation is an integral part of any successful company’s ethos and key to building up long term relationships with clients. For Delta Group, the largest demolition company in the southern hemisphere, all projects are undertaken with the view that being ahead of the game can potentially be the start of a long term relationship. “We don’t undertake projects with a view of only working with a client once, we undertake them to kick off a relationship and move


July 2016

forward with them,” says Anthony Papalia, Western Australian Projects Manager. “We envisage that we will be able to work with that client time and time again and to continue to prove them right, that we are the best company in the business.” Although job to job dependent with innovation led through a strong safety and sustainability focus, each state has its own safety advisors and coordinators, and a national safety manager who oversees safety and the ‘Right 1st Time’


Key people Anthony Papalia WA Projects Manager

programme countrywide. The philosophy behind this behavioural safety programme is about being able to recognise and understand hazards and potential issues, then identifying the correct control measures to be put in place to ensure that any work undertaken is – right first time. “The project execution team sits down, brainstorms together and devises a methodology, from there we bring in third party engineers, who we get to prove that what we have internally designed is going to work. Through engineering and 3D modelling they verify that our methods are appropriate, giving peace of mind to all stakeholders,” says Papalia.

Papalia heads the WA Projects Team overseeing Projects Delivery, Engineering and Quality, Safety & Environment. He has strong Commercial and Mining Industry knowledge in the fields of Demolition, Civil, Remediation, Rehabilitation, Hazardous Material Removal and Temporary Supports & Induced Collapse Engineering. Papalia has built relationships with Clients, Suppliers, Local Communities and State Legislative & Building Governing Authorities. These relationships aid Anthony’s ability to communicate and lead the delivery of Projects on time and on budget with a strong safety & sustainability focus.

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Papalia highlights Deltas methods as being innovative in the way they develop their methodologies, programmes and equipment for their projects. They manage their own projects and generally don’t


July 2016

need a third party management team between them and the clients, meaning that they work directly with the clients as principal contractor. This, says Papalia, is a method that works well. “We generally


engineer our projects to be the safest, the most practical, and the most viable options. Clients will give us a scope of work that may or may not include a methodology in it. We

will put in a bid that allows them to see alternate options that can be undertaken that will best suit the outcome they are trying to achieve,� he says.

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“It is also a bit of an addictive industry to be in. You never get to demolish the same building twice. So it keeps you on your toes, keeps it interesting and challenging” Undoubtedly cost savings are important for clients, and Delta prides itself in being able to identify these, aided in part by the ability to self-manage projects, but also by the fact that they are set up in many ways as a one stop shop, that can offer their clients turnkey solutions. As well as having multiple specialist divisions that complement their demolition business including hazardous removal, remediation, civil construction, rehabilitation, concrete crushing, recycling and rent they also have over 900 pieces


July 2016

of plant, and are able to do work both onshore and offshore. Sustainability has grown in importance, or as Papalia describes it “being able to do more with less”. In addition, as the world strives to become more environmentally friendly waste strategy is moving forward as well and is playing a bigger part in planning. “We need to diversify with waste initiatives, maximizing diversion from landfills,” explains Papalia. Remediation is followed by rehabilitation, working with clients


at all stages to manage the project in the best way. Papalia gives an example of how a typical project may be delivered. “Whether it’s a mining or construction based project we can remove hazardous materials, do the demolition, then either remediate and rehabilitate the site or undertake the civil construction requirements of the build package to follow.� The company was started in 1974 in Victoria, by Con Petropoulos, and is today still a family owned company. He started the company predominantly as a demolition company and then grew it into a demolition and civil works company, moving it across the east coast, and then nationally. Today it has approximately 600 employees and its client base is major construction companies across the country and major worldclass miners. The group is made up of multiple divisions

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“Our people have good and gain a good, well ro of the construction 178

July 2016


d opportunities to grow ounded understanding and mining game� w w w. d e l t a g ro u p . c o m . a u




and subsidiary companies; CMA Contracting, Whelan the Wrecker, Delta Mallard, Streetscapes and Whelan the Warehouse. Recent highlights have included undertaking the world’s largest steel stack felling demolition and being runner up in the World Demolition Awards in November in Amsterdam, which Delta was shortlisted for its BHP Billiton Tertiary Crushing Building 02 and Transfer Station 204 Project. Papalia has been with the company for more than six years. Having come in as a purchasing manager, he quickly moved into safety, working on the quality, safety and environment side of the company in Western Australia. As the company grew so did his remit moving him into project

management and now he heads the WA Projects Team. With a good training regime and continuous development of employees, Delta goes out of its way to attract and retain staff, keeping them up-to-date, either with in-house tailored training, or externally via registered training centres and colleges. There are pros and cons to working in demolition. “It is quite a bit different from other areas of the construction field,” says Papalia. “So that in itself can be a challenge in finding people who are able to understand the demolition industry. We do definitely have a high retention rate, purely for the reason that once they get to experience and understand the complexity of the industry we like to keep them and keep them growing

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LEADING SOLUTIONS IN MINING AND MINERALS Tetra Tech Proteus is a leading provider of engineering services to the resources and energy sectors of Australia and Asia. Key strengths are Study, Design and EPCM or EPC project execution services across a wide range of commodities. Extensive experience in demolition design includes mine plants, oil & gas, industrial, infrastructure and explosive felling. Engineering support identifies the most suitable demolition methods.

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Company Information NAME

Delta Group

within the company. It is also a bit of an addictive industry to be in. You never get to demolish the same building twice. So it keeps you on your toes, keeps it interesting and challenging.” “Our people have good opportunities to grow and gain a good, well rounded understanding of the construction and mining game. Our versatility means we are very well set up to cover multiple sectors, so it becomes about continuous improvement and development for our people.” Citing the core values of safety, integrity, teamwork and excellence, Papalia is confident that these are at the heart of the business. He says, “We make safety and sustainability the primary considerations in decision making. We want to have integrity in what we do, and in doing what we say we are going to do. One team, one goal with open communication from the ground up. Always looking at new and better ways of doing things, creating solutions. This allows for a successful project delivery that exceeds client expectations building ongoing relationships with them.”

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577 Plummer Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, VIC 3207 FOUNDED





FOR ALL Open Colleges (OC), Australia’s largest provider of online vocational qualifications, is expanding its business through a benchmark platform that it has developed to make learning effective and place students at the centre of the process Written by: John O’Hanlon Produced by: David Kulowitch



istance learning is today unrecognisable from the days of correspondence courses, summer schools, exam centres and tense waiting for postal results. Since OC delivered its first online courses in 1995 however it has led the education market toward its digital future. Tracing its roots back more than 116 years to its establishment as International Correspondence Schools’ presence in Australia the school was given its present name under its then owner Nexus Education Group. In 2013 a controlling share was acquired


July 2016

by NASDAQ-listed Apollo Education Group, the world’s largest private education provider based in the USA. OC has no physical ‘campus’ so it concentrates on online interaction with its 65,000 enrolled students studying more than 150 vocational courses, nationally recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) in subjects ranging from accountancy to business administration, construction and journalism. Students range from school leavers to retired people with an average


Key people

Trevor McDougall CIO

age of 35, however most combine their study with a full time job: they are located all over Australia, with a fair number from other countries including India, Singapore and New Zealand. Practical elements of the courses are provided by work placement partners. CIO Trevor McDougall, who took up his post in September 2014, delights in telling people he is a CIO with no IT infrastructure to maintain, all of his enterprise and learning platforms being cloudbased. “By 2011 the business model embraced by most distance learning providers, was already on its last legs,” he says. “Clearly the internet had impacted the traditional idea of sending out workbooks and assessments and organisations like ours had set about digitising all the textbooks

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McDougall is CIO at Open Colleges, and responsible for leading the Technology, Systems and Data division (TSD) which is responsible for “technology as a service” ensuring enterprise systems, infrastructure, data and architecture can respond to the needs of high-growth digital business which is expanding its core business and looking to maintain margin through alternate business models and markets. Also leading and driving digital strategy (technology as a product) building learning platforms and online courses which are our core to our competitive advantage. Prior to joining Open Colleges, McDougall was the Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Sony (London, Sydney) where he developed and implemented a global strategy to enable Sony to cope with the decline in physical media as the market moves to digital. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Information Technology and a Master of Business Administration from MGSM.


and learning materials into PDFs to speed up the whole process of learning and assessment.” The first iteration of OC’s OpenSpace learning platform, launched in 2010, was just a first step towards a truly interactive 188

July 2016

digital relationship between the educators and assessors, and the students: it couldn’t be accessed on mobile devices, and didn’t work as a forum where problems could be shared between students and their solutions captured for reference to


later when these cropped up again. “In other fields of life, these students are well used to sharing information and accessing information over social media, blogs and online forums – these students needed a mobile offering that would tailor

learning to the students’ evolving customs and be with them at every step on the road to qualification,” says McDougall. Looking for a benchmark from the academic sector wasn’t much help. Across the world courses

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“As we roll out our platform, we look at exactly how it’s being used and where, and that drives improvement” – Trevor McDougall, CIO

delivered online still use what he calls the campus cohort model where students progress through regular assessments to graduation. Translated to the digital world it makes little sense, but with 65,000 students to treat each one as his or her own ‘cohort’ clearly presents a challenge. The management team, including MD Nic Cola, proposed and executed a radical new approach which was supported by the owners of the business and


July 2016

would be become the biggest single investment in the business to date. “Our learning management system and student management systems have left that old model behind. Furthermore we did everything we could to put mobile first and be responsive to the student’s context. They ought to be able to work on the bus, in bed, on their mobile phone or tablet, at their desktop or laptop and even while sitting in front of the TV.” The answer was OpenSpace


version 2 (OS2), an HTML5 web app delivered on Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. Rather than making the students wait till all functionality had been added OS2 was launched at the end of 2014 as a ‘minimum viable product’, and since then the team has been developing, testing and releasing added features at the rate of one a fortnight. Trevor McDougall’s team includes ten people working exclusively on OpenSpace and a further 15 whose

job is to digitise written course content. “ Implementing this can’t be called a project,” he insists. “I have a full time team building features all day every day!” The discipline of assessment remains, of course, but students can progress at their own pace. It recognises that they might be devoting their holidays and weekends to learning, for example, but unable to do anything in the working week, and that each student has an individual style of working

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and unique life demands. Being completely open ended, OS2 is able to change with the students’ needs, and as a consequence will be to a great extent future proof. It may not be possible at this point to predict the extent to which new technologies around augmented virtual reality or AI might disrupt the learning 192

July 2016

environment but so far OS2 has no problem bringing these into the platform. However it is not about jumping on to what he calls the latest bells and whistles like animation and CGI for their sake alone, he insists. “As we roll out our platform, we look at exactly how it’s being used and where, and that drives improvement.” A big opportunity (he


admits it’s an obsession) is the data the platform generates. It is used by the team’s data scientists to analyse in detail the way the platform is being used and also to capture information about how the students are communicating, how helpful they find each interaction (positive sentiment on social media has rocketed since OS2 was introduced)

and how well that other vital group of users, the teaching staff, are identifying and dealing with the issues of greatest importance to the students. While no two students are identical it’s also probable that any particular problem has been met by others. That is why the ‘study buddy’ concept is being developed on the w w w. o p e n c o l l e g e s . e d u . a u



OpenSpace platform. It works rather like LinkedIn in that it suggest other people who are at the same stage in a course. Once connected both students will be updated on each other’s activity and can share each other’s experience. “We are developing that concept to build a sense of community among the students,” says McDougall. “Online study can be a lonely experience, and this is one way to make students feel less isolated.” And since every paragraph in the study content is accompanied by a ‘discussion’ annotation, students are able to start a conversation at any point – study buddies though will receive an alert every time that happens. It is a way


July 2016

of creating a community of interest among students who have reached a bottleneck. Another feature about to be released is a study planner. Most students will set themselves goals, and most fail to meet them but OS will understand exactly what actions are needed to meet these goals and where necessary subtly nudge the student when it detects any deviation from the plan. “It’s not as if they are expected to meet rigid timedetermined deadlines, more that from their profile we will understand how much effort they have put in and figure out when they need to progress more. It’s not an exact science but it does help us direct our limited resources to where they are


most needed.” Apart from helping students keep on track the platform is benefiting them in unlookedfor ways – from the way students were using the note-taking aspect of the discussion widget it was possible to isolate that portion of content together with their creative adaptation of it in a way the students can use externally – for example to augment their LinkedIn profile or in a job application. A great advantage of OS is that there is no end to its evolution – over the next six months, he says, the team will be looking closely at social networking and the development of an ‘e-portfolio’ of work, endorsed by the college. The value of this to a design student, for example, is obvious but it can be applied in most

other disciplines, he believes. With OpenSpace 2 successfully embedded, McDougall is now turning his attention to the next big things for OC. For the time being it is tied to the Australian market because it is delivering largely Australian vocational courses, but there is no reason why the platform can’t be adapted to any course, so international expansion is one thing that is happening, with over 300

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“We are offering to take care of their training needs, either by customising the courses we have for them or adapting their own content” – Trevor McDougall, CIO


Company information international students signed up in the last year. However a bigger opportunity closer to home is delivering in-house training to large organisations and corporations under an ‘Education as a Service’ model. “We are offering to take care of their training needs, either by customising the courses we have for them or adapting their own content.” We have clients and students on board already, and a few more proposals coming in - Open Colleges is making money from business clients and this helps to drive more leads. There are two distinct areas where a big educational process is called for. One is internal skills training and professional development, the other is specialised product training – medical devices for example, or mining equipment - where the course would be developed by OC but marketed under the partner’s brand to its industry clients or end consumers. One way or another OpenSpace 2 will continue to earn its bread and butter in ways that were never envisaged by its developers.

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Open Colleges INDUSTRY


He300 Elizabeth Street Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000 FOUNDED




Written by Jennifer Johnson Produced by Matthew Pepper

Epic Group gets futuristic with a new tech management initiative 199


Established in 1971, Epic has successfully transitioned from a buying agent to today being a multinational company with world class manufacturing facilities in Asia, employing over 20,000 people

Arindam Sinha, CIO at the Epic Hong Kong Office 200

July 2016



n the world of high-volume textile manufacturing, there are three factors that corporate leaders must ensure are operating in perfect equilibrium: people, processes and technology. Arindam Sinha, the Chief Information Officer at Epic Group, knows just how crucial it is to achieve a balance in the triad, which is why he has recently overhauled the multinational garment manufacturer’s entire IT infrastructure. Epic Group was established in 1971 in Hong Kong, where it cemented itself as a major manufacturer of silk garments for the American market. In 1990, the company set up its own manufacturing plant and has since become a key global player in the industry, producing apparel for internationally-renowned brands like Wal-Mart, JC Penney, VF, Levis and Nordstrom. Today, Epic employs over 20,000 people in both its manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh and Vietnam and its corporate hub in Hong Kong.

One year ago, in the face of massive expansion, Sinha was brought in to be the group’s first-ever CIO — and a programme for rapid modernisation was set in motion. “Technology is vital for this organisation because this organisation is growing at an enormous pace and what can help support this is a stable and strong IT infrastructure,” Sinha says. His vision has helped to provide Epic Group with a converged infrastructure to enable to virtualisation of servers, creating a hybrid environment of installed and cloud computing. With an organisation of Epic’s scope and scale, it is vital that so-called ‘big data’ is analysed using effective intelligence solutions and that collaboration tools are available at all levels. Upon Sinha’s arrival, the company’s first act was to create a separate governance structure for IT, of which the top tier is an IT Steering Committee made up of the Board of Directors. The next step was to

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distribute power and responsibility evenly across the company’s varied geographical locations. “Regional and country head roles were embedded and included in the business, so that these roles take care of individual countries,” Sinha explains. “A Global Infrastructure Head was brought in and the regional country Infra-Head positions were created to take care of the same.” The Steering Committee further approved the creation and appointment of an IT Strategy and Innovation Head to guide to the organisation in the implementation of new thought processes like cloud computing, digital marketing


July 2016

and business intelligence. Epic’s array of IT initiatives has been collectively dubbed ‘EPICOMS’, and though Sinha and his team have been managing the company’s forward momentum, they’ve received no small degree of assistance from partners. One such collaborator is Velocity Business Solutions, a Hong Kongbased certified Qlik Elite Solution Provider, and the vendor of the QlikView — a business intelligence data visualisation tool — to Epic. “Qlikview as a solution is very flexible and is capable of presenting the dashboard in a layman’s way with high graphical representation,” Sinha says. “Currently the Systems




Number of employees at Epic Group


of Differentiation — applications that support processes unique to the organisation or its industry — can be supported by Qlikview. And we expect that we will have a dashboard which can be built to support new, innovative business activities.” Among its practical applications, the software will supply Epic with pre-emptive analytics: information about future orders, replenishments and which products should be managed in house and which might be outsourced. It will also permit visibility of the company’s major business KPIs, including order accomplishment percentages, top suppliers, bottom suppliers and revenue share of each strategic business unit. “Most important is QlikView’s flexible ability to work with multidimensional systems of records. In Epic’s case, where we have several systems of records, this stands to be a great solution,” Sinha says.

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July 2016


“Epic is an organisation which has grown from 15 million to 500 million in the span of ten years, it is growing very rapidly. We are expecting it to grow another hundred million by 2018�

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However, masterminding and implementing EPICOMS has not been a simple tale of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. Sinha and his associates have had to decide which of their existing processes were worth preserving, and which ought to be done away with. SAP’s business enterprise software, for instance, was partially traded out in favour of a more adaptable solution. With Epic’s drive to manufacture in different locations, it is eager to have a robust ERP system as a system of records. It has thus implemented SAP in stages, with a Record to Report module now utilised across all units. With users getting the benefit of one common database of SAP for financial reporting and controls, Epic is now planning to focus other modules in the coming years. Epic used SAP primarily for FICO, its financial accounting and controlling module. “The change management required for SAP in the case of the procure-to-pay cycle meant alteration of business processes, which in turn would have affected the competitive edge of Epic’s business model,” Sinha explains. Thus, it was decided that the procure-to-pay cycle of the purchase organisations, as well as the plan-to-produce module, should be used partially in SAP with the rest in other subsidiary


July 2016


Million Epic Group’s annual revenue

“The change management required for SAP in the case of the procureto-pay cycle meant alteration of business processes, which in turn would have affected the competitive edge of Epic’s business model”


Bappaditya Sinha Group Head of COE

systems. Data is further sent to SAP, which has become the company’s primary system of records. “The dynamic process change, like purchase order alterations, production plan changes at the last minute, diversions of order quantities, etc., were not so flexible in SAP,” Sinha says. No discussion of modern corporate IT can take place without mention of cloud computing. Epic is exploring options like disaster recovery and a licensing on subscription model over the cloud, and its new geographical ventures will also find a home online.

Ather Akhlaw Group Head of COE Delivery (Bangladesh)

“Most of the solutions which are there as an installed base will be continued to be hosted internally as private cloud,” Sinha says. “Hence, only the new country ventures which are in the pipeline will be seen on the cloud, with some of the shared service applications also hosted on the cloud.” With the comprehensive scale of the IT shakeup at Epic, Sinha has wisely opted to forego long-term goal setting, instead focussing on planning and implementing EPICOMS over the coming years. “We don’t have a five-year strategy, as this is the first year of

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“Technology is vital for this organisation because this organisation is growing at an enormous pace and what can help support this is a stable and strong IT infrastructure.”

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July 2016


Shohel Rana Group Head of IT Infrastructure

Asif Jaffri Head of IT (Bangladesh)

defining the new organisation as well as IT Strategy,” Sinha says. “What we have is current two-plus year strategy to see how we sail through the business continuity curve.” In this time frame, Epic is striving for better business intelligence, integration with partners and improved enterprise application stacks, among many other aims. Ultimately, Sinha’s outlook is resultsdriven: IT must be optimised for Epic’s expansion to continue. He emphasises that technology and IT are a key part of the company’s vision for world-class manufacturing — as is teamwork. “Epic is an organisation which has grown from 15 million to 500 million in the span of ten years; it is growing very rapidly. We are expecting it to grow another 100 million by 2018,” he said. “A manufacturer gets very little revenue. For us, it is more a technological innovation which will help. Whatever cost-advantage I have, I need to maintain that over the years.”

Hien Duy Nguyen

Head of IT (Vietnam)

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