Camel Tanks improves capability winning project work

Camel Tanks improves its capability at winning project work. It is better connected to major projects through a higher awareness of opportunities available.

Camel Tanks Director Lorne Bobart knew major project contracts were available, but struggled to find ways for winning project work until he sought help from Industry Capability Network (ICN).

ICN, has helped the plastic products manufacturer make the right connections and strengthen its ability to tender for major projects.

Camel Tanks has completed ICN’s Major Project Supplier Program (MPSP); been introduced to contacts through its Business Matching facility; registered on the online ICN Gateway database; and assessed its capabilities using ICN’s Tier Barometer Tool (TBT).

Consequently Camel Tanks has won contracts with major project owners, including Thiess Australia, Xstrata and MCJV, a joint venture between McConnell Dowell and Consolidated Contractors.

Background

Camel Tanks manufactures rotomoulded polyethylene products, such as tanks, silos, kayaks, pontoons, sheds and custom-moulded products for rural, domestic and commercial customers. It primarily manufactures water tanks, producing 12 models ranging from 1,591 litre to 24,424 litre capacities.

Clients include primary producers, Queensland Government departments, builders and developers. Camel Tanks has focused on growing its commercial sector clients, including those in the Surat Basin’s emerging coal seam gas industry.

Camel Tanks is housed in a 1,000m2 industrial shed on a 6,000m2 block of land in Dalby, 211 km north-west of Brisbane. Bobart employs nine staff, some of whom are in the process of completing rotomoulding apprenticeships and other up-skilling training.

Bobart launched the company in 2007 during the ‘tank boom’. Prolonged drought throughout the state and Queensland Government-imposed water usage restrictions drove the popularity of water tanks. “Our records show the tank boom actually ended before we even made our first tank. Even so, we’ve been slowly growing each year,” Bobart said.

Camel Tanks has an annual turnover of $5 million.

ICN assistance – winning project work

Bobart heard about ICN after attending an information session in early 2010. “I was told new legislation was about to come into effect that meant major projects were required to engage local suppliers. I thought it was important to be part of it and get in contact with those major projects to increase our chance of winning project work.”

Since then, Bobart has been proactive in approaching ICN for assistance. He knew the outcomes he wanted to achieve and set clear goals to reach them.

Camel Tanks completed ICN’s MPSP in 2010. It is a fully subsidised program that gives eligible Queensland companies a comprehensive analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.

It was developed by ICN in collaboration with the Queensland Government Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDIP).

ICN performed a one and a half day assessment of Camel Tanks against the profile of an ideal major project supplier. Camel Tanks then received a report that included an assessment of its maturity, a gap analysis identifying opportunities for improvement and an action plan targeting those opportunities and steps for winning project work..

The assessment indicated that, for a small company, Camel Tanks had exceptionally mature and robust business practices and procedures. It had an excellent business culture with good manufacturing capabilities and a strong culture of innovation. “MPSP gave us a lot of confidence because it showed we were on the right track. We performed very well,” Bobart said.

ICN helped Camel Tanks create a presence on ICN Gateway. The online database gives project managers access to comprehensive supplier information. Suppliers, like Camel Tanks, register their interest in particular projects and ICN searches the online portal when a project requires specific products and services. Project owners make the final decision on which suppliers they invite to tender.

An ICN consultant worked with Camel Tanks to create relationships with contractors through a process called Business Matching. “It effectively matches buyers with suppliers, assisting us with strategies for winning project work,” Bobart said.

Following the MPSP, ICN conducted several one-on-one meetings and a complete site inspection, which assessed strengths and weaknesses in Camel Tanks’ supply chain.

Outcomes

Bobart said Camel Tanks had gained maximum results from ICN’s Business Matching exercise. “I was banging my head against the wall trying to reach the right people. I would ring major projects, get put through to their switchboards, and end up leaving voice messages with little success winning project work” he said.

“I knew there were projects out there, but I didn’t know how to reach the right people. ICN has helped put me in contact with them.”

Bobart said opportunities were “starting to snowball”. “While talking with a project owner, they often mention other projects looking for suppliers. I keep getting more leads.” Since forming a relationship with ICN, the company had been presented with opportunities to tender for about $5 million in potential contracts with them more successful in winning project work.

Through ICN Gateway, Camel Tanks can sell its advantages to project owners. The database has given Bobart the opportunity to tender and win projects for MCJV, Thiess Australia, Xstrata and Murphy Pipe & Civil.

Bobart said the company was continuing to strengthen its ability to supply industrial tanks and custom-moulded projects to emerging coal seam gas projects. “We have just supplied 80 tanks to Arrow Energy, in a contract valued at $800,000.”

Camel Tanks has indirectly supplied products to the massive Australia Pacific LNG Project. “Origin Energy sent us a request for information to supply products to the project. We have been involved by supplying custom-moulded plastic products to companies in the supply chain.”

The $20 billion project is an incorporated joint venture between Origin, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec to develop a major coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas project in central Queensland. To improve suppliers’ abilities to be a part of the project, three organisations – ICN, the Australia Pacific LNG Project and DSDIP – developed the Tier Barometer Tool (TBT).

TBT is an online tool that asks suppliers a series of questions to identify their size and capability, then makes recommendations to increase their chances of winning project work. ICN helped Camel Tanks complete the tool, which further highlighted its strengths and weaknesses, particularly in factory layout.

Bobart said although Camel Tanks did not win all contracts it tendered for, ICN Gateway had increased the number of opportunities for it to tender. “For example, we were invited to tender to supply custom-moulded products for the National Broadband Network, but did not get selected.” However, without ICN’s assistance, Bobart said he would not even have been able to put in a bid.

Camel Tanks has now implemented seven AS/NZS standards to further expand its opportunities to tender for elements of major projects. “Major projects require all suppliers to meet certain standards, especially environmental and safety standards,” Bobart said.

“Ensuring Camel Tanks has the required certifications automatically opens more doors and increases our chances of winning project work,” he said.