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North Shore Company Takes Off With Supreme Award

North Shore Airline Baggage System Company
Takes Off With Supreme Westpac Business Award

Its products have become a vital part of several airline anti-terrorism security measures since 9/11 and it has started to win export orders in key markets around the world, yet North Shore company BCS Group is hardly a household name in New Zealand.

But that’s about to change.

For BCS has won the Westpac Supreme Business Excellence Award for 2006 in the just-announced Westpac Enterprise North Shore Business Excellence Awards, which is sure to raise the company’s profile.

Albany-based BCS, formerly known as Berrill Control Systems, develops and supplies sophisticated conveyor and airline baggage handling systems and since the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York five years ago, its business has really taken off, with exports reaching $16million in 2005.

Conveyor and baggage handling systems made by BCS have been installed at Auckland International Airport, Hamilton airport and most of the major airports around Australia. It has also installed a new system at Montreal International Airport in Canada to handle the new 550-seat Airbus 380 aircraft. All are designed to incorporate the latest baggage scanning security equipment to ensure that no unsafe items get on board aircraft.

The Montreal deal is the first step in a planned entry into the North American market by BCS and the company is also courting customers in Asia.

Despite the strong competition from existing international players, BCS is confident of its future because it doesn’t just offer conveyors. Its package include the hi tech controls and software to run the system efficiently, a unique computer simulation of how the system will run before it gets installed to ensure all bugs are ironed out and on top of that, it provides on-going maintenance and repairs through its in-house technicians.

The business certainly impressed the Awards judges, with BCS taking out the supreme honours from the more unauthodox route of winning the Smith & Davies Employer of Choice Award category – they were inelligible for the Chelsea Sugar Excellence in Exporting Award, having won that category last year, but were finalists in the Massey University Excellence in Technology Award and the BDO Spicers Excellence in Service Delivery Award.

However, the judges took their export record, innovation and service into account, along with winning employer practices, in selecting BCS for the Westpac Supreme Business Award.

Convenor of Judge Patricia Schnauer said: “It showed that the Supreme Award winners can come from any category, as they are all equally important for a successful business.

“What BCS demonstrated is a strong commitment in all areas of business and we were impressed that they attributed much of their success to their employees and were very appreciative of that fact. They are a dynamic company that stood out as a real local success story.”

Congratulating BCS, Westpac General Manager Business Banking Bruce McLachlan, said its success was a shining light to others companies, not just those on the North Shore, but for the rest of New Zealand. Many businesses could also learn from other winners at the awards.

"We're thrilled with the spectrum of entries received from across North Shore's business community – from the hospitality, service, manufacturing and technology sectors. By entering the awards, these businesses have shown their commitment to improvement, and the courage to benchmark themselves," says Mr McLachlan.

"By entering the awards and formalising their practices and policies, businesses gain valuable experience and knowledge for the future."

Enterprise North Shore Chief Executive Terry Hoskins said the success of the Westpac Enterprise North Shore Business Excellence Awards was a tribute to all the businesses who took part, whether they won or not.

Acknowledging the time and effort required to enter, Mr Hoskins said that whilst everyone cannot win, there are significant benefits in taking part in the Awards.

“Collating the entry itself provides a highlight their own achievements, boosts staff morale, improves business processes and helps clarify a business’ purpose and direction,” he said. “The overall benefits to entering can be just as rewarding as winning, a fact borne out by numerous companies who have entered the Awards in the past nine years.”

For 2006, however, the spotlight remains on one business in particular, BCS. The most fascinating aspect about BCS is that the company never started out to become a baggage handling system supplier. Its roots are in the design and development of controls technology and software for a variety of industrial applications. It only became involved in airline baggage handling when it was a sub-contractor supplying control systems for the upgrade of Brisbane International Airport in 1994.

From there it went on to develop its own full baggage handling system, sub-contracting the production of various hardware, which led to its first major stand alone contract in Sydney for the Qantas domestic airport terminal in 1997.

Although some work was lost straight after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the aftermath saw BCS win increasing business in Australia and New Zealand as airports upgraded their baggage handling systems to cope with stringent security measures.

According to Sales and Marketing Manager Adrian Burden, sales “went through the roof” as airports decided to start from scratch rather than adapt existing bagage handling systems, leading to a 600% growth in business for BCS since 2001.

Mr Burden says the reason why customers beat a path to BCS doors was because of their innovative approach.

He says: “Traditional supplies comes from the mechanical side – they are conveyor makers and they buy in everything else – whereas BCS had the expertise in controls and software, coming from the high tech direction, and our systems have plenty of ‘smarts’ built into them.”

These include energy management monitors that automatically turn off conveyors if there are no bags on them to save power; software that recognises when machines go out of calibration and automatically adjusts; and so on.

BCS doesn’t just rely on baggage handling systems for its business – it still supplies controls systems for other uses and also provides conveyor systems for general industry.

Category winners in the 2006 Westpac Enterprise North Shore Business Excellence Awards were:

Massey University – Excellence in Technology Award

• High Profile Solutions – A Greenhithe-based IT company that has developed a software system to help companies manage corporate governance and operational compliance isues. It combines health, safety and other risk factors into a single product that offers substantial cost savings and access to latest technology. The system is in use with a number of top companies, including Siemens NZ and Carter Holt Harvey. Judges said they were impressed by the system and the company’s ambitions to extend it beyond the client base.

3M – Excellence in Innovation Award

• Davko Computer Locking Systems - Davko has a highly innovative answer to laptop security. The company makes a security device for computers being carried in cars, which has been designed to foil thieves by locking even tighter when attacked. It can also protect other vital equipment including flat screen monitors and audio visual assets. The company’s first production run has been sold out, with product exported to the USA and Australia. Judges commented that Davko is “clearly a company built on answering a problem through innovative thinking”.

Actionmail Lt – Excellence in Marketing Award
• Nose to Tail pet grooming – Founded in 2002 Nose to Tail is a unique self-service dogwash facility and canine hydrotherapy centre situated in Albany. Nose to Tail offers seven separate dog-washing cubicles complete with shower, towels, turbo dryers and even waterproof clothing for owners. There is also a hydrotherapy pool – the only one of its kind in New Zealand. The Judges said: “To win a marketing category you need to demonstrate that you have built your business on sound marketing principals based on good market research, a clear understanding of the market and smart ways to meet their needs and measure your results. Nose to Tail showed that no matter what the business, using good marketing techniques is a valuable business tool.”

North Shore Times – Contribution by Business to the Community Award

• The Elements Medi-Spa Beauty Clinic - Jude Luke’s dream of establishing a clinic that offers a union of east and west therapies for beauty and wellbeing has turned into a winner. Since opening in 2003, the Birkenhead clinic has become a favourite with those wanting to be pampered as a way of unwinding from the stress and pace of life. The Judges said: “Growing a client base from 100 to over 2000 is commendable and speaks to the owners’ business sense. The support of the White Cross programme is excellent work and their contribution overall to the community impresses.”

Smales Farm – Excellence in Environmental Management Award

• The Toner Recycling Centre – winner. A company committed to protecting NZ’s environment through recycling used printer cartridges and ensuring no components end up as landfill. TRC runs a free nationwide collection service, providing boxes and envelopes for simple hassle-free use. These are supplied to local and internatinal re-manufacturing companies for re-filling. Any cartridges not used are turned into granulated plastic and on-sold to be made into a range of recycled products.

• Eco Insulation – Highly Commended. A husband and wife business that began as a solution to their own rising home heating costs. Eco Insulation turns wool, a natural insulator, into blankets for installing into walls, ceilings and under floors and also has loose wool fibre for blowing into ceilings. The products can be handled safely without protective clothing.

ACC ThinkSafe – Workplace Safety Award

• Underground Vision Ltd - Underground Vision provides CCTV inspections of stormwater and wastewater pipe lines for councils and industrial clients. Operating in difficult conditions, the company has an almost perfect incident record. The Judges said: “It is easy to understand this outstanding achievement when their Health and Safety procedures are examined. The company culture is one of safety and personal responsibility at all levels. Underground Vision truly reflects the philosophy of complete integration of Health and Safety into the business and are worthy winners of this year's award.”

The Spencer on Byron Hotel – Excellence in Tourism & Hospitality Award

• North Shore International Academy - The North Shore International Academy is a thriving educational institution providing Hospitality training to international and local students. Now in its fifth year and with a role of 600 students, the North Shore International Academy is the Shore’s first private training establishment providing professional Diploma and Certificate courses in hospitality. The Academy is equipped with multi-functional classrooms, commercial training kitchens, café bar, wine training centre and training restaurant, plus an excellent team of tutors to train chefs and waiting staff to the highest standards. The Judges said: “They are in their fifth year and have grown to a role of 600 students which is testimony to the quality of the training they provide. The North Shore International Academy are very worthy winners as they display the key ingredients of this category which are solid and sustainable growth plus they are making a very significant contribution to both the North Shore and the greater hospitality and tourism industry.”

Smith & Davies – Employer of Choice Award

• BCS Group Ltd - Over 13 years BCS Group has become the regional market leader in developing and installing conveyor systems for many industries. BCS has been especially successful with its airport baggage handling system, where it is a leading supplier to all major Australian airports through a philosophy of developing the systems, software and products, as well as managing installation and maintenance. BCS has built a stimulating environment that recognises the immense value of its staff. Judges commented: “The company culture is enviable to anyone aspiring to be an ‘Employer of Choice’ and clearly evident in the staff retention and genuinely happy team. The multiple staff benefits provided are testament to the fact that the company values, appreciates and respects its employees.”

Chelsea Sugar – Excellence in Exporting Award

• CleanFlow Systems - CleanFlow grew from a database consulting company into a business that develops engineering software tools for the water and wastewater industry. A graduate of Massey University’s e-centre, CleanFlow products enable local authorities to get a grip on the water and waste assets and plan maintenance and upgrading. An innovative new product measures defects in pipelines and the company now exports around the world. The judges described CleanFlow as a “model export company” operating in a niche hi-tech market.

Vector Best Emerging Business Award

• Pitango Innovative Cuisine - Arriving in NZ seven years ago as backpackers, Yasmin and Ofer Shenhav used their Mediterranean background to establish Pitango to create new foods from quality ingredients. They started with fresh, organic, homemade-style soups and have extended into hummus, a traditional Mediterranean social dish. Pitango products now sell in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Thailand. A company on target to treble its revenue in 2006 with innovative products, commented the judges.

BDO Spicers – Excellence in Service Delivery Award

• Nappies Direct - A home-grown company that supplies baby-related products to mums at home. Nappies Direct started in 2002 selling nappies direct to North Shore mothers and has grown to serve all of New Zealand. As well as nappies, they now supply other related products and have built a loyal following through their online community, which boasts a ‘coffee group’ feel. The Judges said: “This business knows what it is about regarding its marketing and service backup. They have created a great business model and are moving into new territory with innovative service based ideas. The market is price sensitive and highly competitive but with a strong service culture underpinned with excellent documentation and consistent application, Nappies Direct is able to charge a premium and still win market share.”

Benefitz – Best New Start-Up Business Award

• Perceptive Insight Ltd - Albany’s Perceptive Insight, a member of Massey University’s e-centre, is a provider of IT-based Organisational Diagnostic systems. Its business appraisal programs are said to be world class and are supplied to a range of organisations, including Business Consultants, PR consultancies, Human Resources companies, Venture Capitalists, Economic Development Agencies, Sustainability Councils and Research companies. Judges said: “Perceptive Insight is an innovative and leading edge market research company that has already impacted not only the New Zealand stage, but has gained recognition in Australia and in Europe. They have harnessed an array of individual talent and combined this with a vision for excellence, customer service and innovation that has seen them achieve growth and success in obtaining business from some high profile clients.”

Ends

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