By Shane Kimpton, AusGroup CEO and Managing Director
Having successfully weathered the 2020 ‘COVID Storm’ I see a confident and strong 2021 on the horizon for AusGroup.
It’s almost impossible to overstate the challenges faced around the globe in the past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging across countries and through communities in ways virtually unimaginable only 12 months ago.
In Australia we have not been immune, although I am very conscious that compared to most places around the world, we have been extraordinarily lucky. However even for us, here in one of the most protected countries and places in the world, 2020 has not been easy.
Like all WA businesses, AusGroup was confronted with an evolving landscape of uncertainty, and our leadership team was forced to make quick decisions as situations quickly developed and unfolded during the first half of the year. Everyone in our AusGroup family quickly adapted to a new “working normal” that, for a short time, included working from home arrangements. For many this included taking on added responsibilities for children and other family members, together with worries for the health and safety of those closest to them. I have been incredibly proud of our team this year—for their resilience, and for the care they have shown to their colleagues and to clients during these extremely challenging times.
The resilience of our people and our business has not come as a surprise. As a business, and as a highly committed group of people within that business, we have genuinely strong foundations which have supported us not only to survive 2020, but to prosper.
How has this happened? It hasn’t been by accident.
In my mind there are some key characteristics of AusGroup and its people that have enabled us to achieve what we have achieved in 2020.
A strong and proud history
AusGroup has been in business for over 30 years, and during this time the business has confronted and dealt with the “ups and downs” that are inextricably linked with doing business in Western Australia. Since 1989, many of our competitors and clients have come and gone, and many new players have entered the market, often riding the waves of WA prosperity and the “booms and busts” that are synonymous with the State’s economy.
In the past we have ridden through these challenges and emerged stronger. 2020 has been no different.
A focus on people
We have a business model that at its core has a personal element to it. For us, our work is fundamentally about people.
This is more than just words. Through our day-to-day activities, and through the many specialist programs and associations we have been involved with, we make sure we remain focused on people—our staff, our clients, and our wider communities. Our recent work with Reconciliation Australia and the rollout of our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan earlier this year is a good example of this.
Our focus on people is also evident in the way we do business with our clients and with each other. We pride ourselves on being approachable and contactable—all of our staff members, including our senior leadership team, take a hands-on role in the business and the day-to-day running of it. Our clients know they can contact me directly, and for me personally it is the close working relationships that I have built with clients and team members over many years that I find the most rewarding.
The agility behind the AusGroup business model
We have a highly agile business model at AusGroup with skills and service solutions that span almost all industries and sectors. This is another example of the focused strategy and planning that underpins our resilience and success.
As the Australian economy has transitioned, particularly in the energy and resources sectors, so too has AusGroup. We have played a key role in the construction and maintenance activities of many of the largest industrial sites and structures around WA over the last 30 years, and many of the businesses we have worked with have been the powerhouses behind Australia’s recent prosperity. We have completed highly significant and valuable projects in the oil and gas and iron ore industries with some of the world’s largest companies and have worked closely and collaboratively with these companies for many years.
We are acutely aware of new industries and new opportunities both in Western Australia and around the country and are now playing key roles on new projects spanning a range of industries including defence, lithium, renewables, and waste-to-energy. The skills and expertise built up by AusGroup over many years are serving us well as we transition to be a leading service and solution provider to new clients in new industries.
We are adapting as our clients adapt and have recent examples of truly innovative approaches that are resonating with clients as they look to us to provide a range of solutions to new projects and activities. Feedback from our clients—large and small—indicates that our approach is working well.
2020 has shown us that we cannot expect to remain successful by just continuing with what has worked before. We have known this for many years at AusGroup—it is the reason why we are still in business.
2021 will bring new challenges and new opportunities, and we look forward to embracing what is ahead. Our specific solutions and ideas will evolve, but our highly dedicated team, our passion for innovation, and our commitment to each other will continue as it has for the last 30 years—continuing to provide the backbone of our highly successful business model.