Behind the scenes successes

ICN consultants draw on local knowledge, industry contacts and deep understanding of supply-chains to help small and medium Australian businesses land contracts and source subcontractors and suppliers.

Two of the Northern Territory’s largest privately-owned construction business have teamed up with ICN NT to develop Gateway portals for a number of projects across the Top End, as well as South Australia and Western Australia.

Sitzler, established in 1976, is one the largest privately-owned construction contractors in Australia. The company’s pre-contracts manager, Jamie Porrovecchio, said Sitzler supports local suppliers as much as possible, as well as aiming to maximise indigenous opportunities. 

He said working with ICN has led to "a lot of benefits in a short amount of time".

"ICN is very proactive trying to understand our requirements, and we have very quickly seen a fairly big spike in contractor interest. Our subcontractor coverage is getting a lot wider," Jamie said.

Over the past couple of decades Sitzler has sought to break down the stereotype that there is not enough capacity in smaller centres, such as Darwin. The company has worked hard to establish joint ventures with larger enterprises and now presents as a viable option for bigger projects.

According to Jamie, Sitzler intends to use Gateway for all future projects. "If we don’t it will be by exception", he said.

Meanwhile, Northern Territory family-owned construction business Halikos has been using Gateway for about 18 months to ensure subcontractors have a ‘one-stop shop’ for work packages.

Senior contracts administrator Drew James said ICN Gateway gave Halikos a "more transparent and open tendering process" as well as greater engagement with all local content, which benefits both the company and the community. "Money stays in the Northern Territory and jobs are created or retained."

He said Halikos was "a local company putting money into the local economy".

Being on ICN Gateway has not only helped grow the business, but also exposed new local suppliers to Halikos. It gives new suppliers, including indigenous companies, the opportunity to price works.

Over in Queensland, a family-owned and operated medium manufacturing business, B&R Enclosures, has ICN to thank for its contract to supply Communication Equipment Racks for the SEA1180 OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel) program, which originated from a trade mission led by Austrade and ICN.

"ICN has been particularly valuable for us," Julian Spencer, B&R's National Business Development Manager – Defence said.

"On the face of it, businesses can always use ICN's Gateway to find out about different projects. But because ICN has taken time to get to know B&R and understand our organisation and our capabilities, we have been able to take advantage of opportunities very effectively."

"The level of engagement has enabled us to be very targeted in what we have chosen to pursue, saving us a lot of time and effort by not wasting resource in investigating projects that aren’t suitable."

Julian advises other organisations to give ICN the opportunity to know them beyond their capability statement, and to also take part in different industry events and workshops that ICN facilities.

"Sometimes people don’t see these things as relevant. They may feel they are too busy and don’t see the value. But the opportunity to network and communicate your capabilities and strengths with relevance has been a big factor in our success."

"ICN is very much about the end game. They are very business focused and have helped us target worthwhile opportunities."

Further south, in the small NSW Riverina town of Colleambally, ICN consultant Klaus Boumgarten is drawing on his experience to help REEF Renewable Energy and the Coleambally Ethanol plant source opportunities to add value to the product of the small plant. 

It was during an open day at the plant in November 2018, REEF became aware of ICN NSW and the services they provided.

"Klaus came to visit us at the plant and once he saw inside the plant, he realised the value and that the project was worth promoting,” REEF’s Bill Horton said.

"He has been our strongest advocate and has done so many things for us."

ICN has introduced REEF to suppliers of raw material into the plant, and well as sourcing users of the generated power.

ICNL Director Derek Lark said these four success stories were just a small sample of the businesses that ICN’s locally based consultants help every day.

"We know that Gateway is a valuable tool that helps Australian companies find new work with major and regional projects," he said. "But it is also the behind-the-scenes work of our dedicated consultants that brings the biggest benefit for Australian small and medium businesses."

On order to reap the most rewards, Derek encourages businesses to register on Gateway, as well as sign up for notifications about upcoming industry briefings and networking events.