By Michael Birch, AusGroup General Manager, Energy.


AusGroup has an emerging reputation in the energy sector for its focus on working together with clients, adding value, and building sustainable partnerships which support long term cultures of improvement.

This is what really attracted me to my role here as General Manager, Energy.

I’ve worked in the sector for 25 years with a range of companies around the world, and as a Maintenance Manager in LNG Plants for the past 10 years. My career to date has been all on the client side. Through this experience I have first-hand knowledge of what clients expect of their service providers – I know what great service looks like, and I also know how valuable it is when relationships with service providers are built on strong and sustainable client-focused foundations.

There are real synergies between what I looked for in a service provider and what AusGroup offers, so it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to work with AusGroup clients to deliver high quality maintenance management solutions in the energy space.

The commitment to building long term client relationships

In the energy sector, strategic decision making requires a long term focus, and project horizons are long. Underlying billion-dollar mega assets, which form the backbone of projects have long lifecycles – and for this reason the maintenance programs for these assets need to be designed for long-term safety, reliability and cost effectiveness.

AusGroup places high value on long term client relationships. This gives it a real advantage in the market when it comes to turnaround and shutdown maintenance planning and scheduling. Our team works very closely with our clients’ technical teams so that outage plans are developed and executed for the long term reliability of production critical and safety critical equipment (SCE).

It’s a clear example of the tangible benefit that comes with an investment in relationships for the longer term.

Market-leading NORMS based estimation tools

 AusGroup has powerful task identification and tracking tools which break down projects into discrete tasks for analysis and estimation purposes for the purpose of continuous improvement. These tools support reliable, focused project management and reporting functions to provide greater certainty to clients, in addition to saving costs and providing better quality outputs.

I’m looking forward to leveraging from these estimation tools and further developing, and improving them so that they provide even more powerful insights and ultimately cost savings for our clients. AusGroup has a strong culture of continuous improvement which recognises that it’s always possible to do things better, and so I see that I’ve got a real opportunity to leverage from my “client” experience to provide even more powerful insights and to develop even more efficient maintenance programs, procedures and work instructions for both production critical and SCE equipment.

The opportunity to grow the technical knowledge and experience of the AusGroup team and focus a little more on maintenance improvement programs, as another service offering for our clients is really exciting.

A really talented team

There are real advantages of the size of the AusGroup team. It sits within a sweet spot of not being too big, but also not being too small. It’s large enough to be a true market leader in its field and attracts quality people and clients to it. But it’s small enough to keep flexible and agile to retain a real sense of comradery, ownership of decisions and opportunity to adapt to our clients’ needs.

Our employees and clients have direct access to the AusGroup leadership team. I report directly to the CEO and this is one of the elements that attracted me to the Company and why I feel there is a great culture of accountability and transparent communication.

For me, working at AusGroup gives me the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned as a client to projects for clients. But I like the idea of client and service providers thinking of themselves as part of the one team – after all, that’s what good client service should be, especially when it comes to maintenance projects for high value production and safety critical equipment. So, although I’m no longer on the client side of the fence, fundamentally my focus hasn’t changed. I’m still on the side of my clients to support them to improve their businesses.