Main Game: Winning Collaborations in Mackay, Australia (Extract from the Main Game Report)

“50,000 new skyscrapers are set to be built in China by 2030,” said BHP Billiton CEO, Dr Marius Kloppers in an interview in the March 2010 issue of the Mining and Technology Australia Magazine.

As the sun sets on the global financial crisis, Australian mining is preparing for another upswing of investment to meet surging demand in China, India and our traditional markets in developed economies.

Industrial and mining centres around Australia such as Mackay in northern Queensland are set to boom once again.

While the jury may still be out as to the size of the upturn, the industry has forecast $140 billion worth of projects in the Bowen and Surat Basins alone. Engineering companies across the eastern seaboard are gearing up for busy times ahead.

Main Game – Winning Collaborations is a hands-on project that focuses on developing collaborations between local Mackay companies, so they can win a greater share of regional and Australia-wide projects. Funded by Mackay Area Industry Network (MAIN), Enterprise Connect and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland, the project is proving to be a success with a number of results already being achieved. Some of these are outlined below in the Summary of Outcomes.

Summary of outcomes: consortia, joint venture and commercialisation projects

The results of this pilot project demonstrates how structured consortia processes can directly support companies to build joint capacities and capabilities to win new projects and/or develop new products and services. Because the results of these company interviews are commercial in confidence we cannot detail the names of the companies or the specific projects beyond broad overviews of the outcomes generated. However some of these outcomes will become clearer over the coming weeks and months as companies make public announcements about these projects. In summary company results include:

Company 1: Creation of a project “hub” to facilitate consortia arrangements for turnkey projects

Company 2: : International joint venture to develop new products for the Australian market

Company 3: : International joint venture to develop new products for the Australian market underpinned by a strategic partnership with a university to support R&D

Company 4: : Local engineering consortia to support labour scheduling and ability to bid for larger projects

Company 5: : Australian and international joint venture to design and commercialise product for national and global markets

Company 6: : Worked with their marketing company to help tell the story of Mackay as an innovative hub that would feature in its future PR material

Company 7: : Exploring opportunities to develop closer partnerships and IT arrangements with customers to enhance scheduling and reduce staffing costs

Company 8: : Investigating potential for closer partnership arrangements with its suppliers

Company 9: : Investigating potential for closer partnership arrangements with its suppliers and customers

Company 10: : Investigating potential for closer partnership arrangements with its suppliers

These results will unfold as time progresses and will continue to introduce partnerships, joint ventures and commercialisation opportunities which would have not been explored if not for the Main Game project.

From a company that is gaining from the project, Michael Crowe, CEO of G&S Engineering had the following comments to say: “The Main Game project had an approach that I could see would produce commercially sound outcomes and help business attract the right kind of work to the region. It could also be work that was previously not available to the region.”

“Rodin showed us how to pitch the skills and services we provide and brand the processes we use – and their uniqueness. This was something we hadn’t appreciated. The project was both a learning opportunity in terms of how to communicate what we do today, as well as being an exercise in international benchmarking, which I found very useful.”

“Now we’ve developed a plan around our learning and development strategies that we need to tie in with a local university to develop tertiary education that is aligned with our core business skills,” Crowe says.” What we’ve learnt here won’t apply in every project we do, but there will be four or five projects a year where we can frame things in a different manner to achieve better differentiation in the marketplace.

“This has been the most practical assistance I’ve seen in relation to driving firms and regions to work together to attract more work. Enough has been achieved to improve the way we do things and the way we interact, and to market that. Rodin’s approach was more analytical and fact based than emotion based, more contemplative. He thinks about the issues – and then provides some meaty substance.”

G&S Engineering Services: Mick Crowe—CEO

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