Safemate Antislip on solid ground in building business relationships with a real return on investment


(How to) get in front of big players to be in with a stronger chance of attracting and developing new commercial opportunities.


Partner with ICN & build relationships (with the people) that build relationships.


New high value business relationships established; new channels to new markets; better intelligence on major opportunities; new level of energy about the business; feel-good factor for the business and staff as a result of having a more proactive, visible and engaging public profile on ICN Gateway.

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The 2015 company calendar showcasing a fleet of supertankers from Indonesian oil and gas giant PT Pertamina is something of a badge of honour hanging on Paul McNeil’s office wall.

As General Manager of southeast Melbourne-based Safemate Antislip, Paul only half-jokes that “we did several of the ships in that calendar”. But such business success hasn’t always been easily achievable.

A family firm established in 1974, Safemate Antislip designs and manufactures non-slip floor and anti-slip stair products for a wide range of industrial settings. While word-of-mouth has played an important part in its success and longevity, Paul says the desire to accelerate growth and become a true global leader in its space ultimately created the challenge of how to get in front of the big global players.

“We realised early on that having and maintaining a dynamic, visible and engaging public profile would be key to establishing and building the kinds of long-term, potentially lucrative relationships we wanted with project owners and ultimately positioning ourselves to win new contracts,” says Paul.

That led Safemate Antislip to forming a strategic partnership with ICN Victoria, an independent not-for-profit organisation which connects suppliers and service providers with buyers, procurement managers and projects around Australia and internationally.

The frontline of ICN’s business development managers – called Industry Advisers – become something of a roving relationship manager, connecting clients such as Safemate Antislip with buyers, providing the added value of decades of deep industry knowledge and experience.

“It’s through being with ICN that we have been able to grow,” says Paul, adding: “What they do in terms of business introductions and facilitating new connections and conversations for us with prospective partners is invaluable.

“The Industry Advisors know everyone and they go to great lengths to ensure the right parties connect with each other; that is, connecting the likes of us as a supplier with the buyers, project owners, developers and their procurement teams. For us, that’s where the value lies.

We have enjoyed a long relationship with ICN and have benefitted from that relationship by developing new opportunities and being specified for projects. As a result of attending and being involved with ICN in events and activities such as trade missions and trade shows, we have made new connections that open up new channels to new markets and other opportunities.”

The ICN Gateway, an online tool to promote new work opportunities and connect buyers with suppliers, has also been a part of Safemate Antislip’s regular business development activities; providing extensive intelligence on up to $400 billion worth of projects and other opportunities around Australia and overseas.

“Being with ICN gives us top-level exposure to the likes of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and also helps with maintaining our market profile,” Paul explains.

“The big project owners are looking at ICN Gateway for their next suppliers, so for us, it’s more than just keeping up appearances; it’s about maintaining a proactive profile that gets us noticed, enhances our visibility to key decision makers ultimately leading to more new business enquiries.”

Further information: visit the ICN Gateway for details of all listed work opportunities.