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  • Sportsmart | Business In Focus Magazine
    Sporting goods is still a sector where there is a large variety of products and touching and feeling the various options is an important part of the buying decision not to mention advice from staff in store who know of what they speak But the online shopping opportunity offers customers products they cannot obtain at every sports store We tend to find the products we sell online are mainly specialist sports products that average stores don t carry so most people cannot experience the range locally Gerrard shares Swimming in the shark infested seas of online retailing puts Sportsmart head to head with the Amazons of this world so what about the need to compete on price which the massive global networks use as their USP Gerrard acknowledges this the company has to be price competitive but points out that different pricing around the world depends partly on exchange rates and other factors that are out of our control There are still a lot of specialist sports products that are particular to Australia or at least not prevalent worldwide He cites cricket netball and of course given the Victorian location footy as sports that are not as well catered for outside Australia as they can be by a good operation such as Sportsmart People definitely prefer to buy from an Australian supplier if they can There are some factors that are outside of our control but I must say that although the internet has opened us up to a whole range of competitors especially international it has been a great positive for our business It has increased our visibility to people who want to shop not only locally but around Australia It has made us easy to find and people looking for the types of products we sell are searching round the internet and finding us It has been a net positive and far outweighs the increased competition the internet has brought Gerrard says refreshingly that learning the online business has not been the horror story told by many other retailers Sportsmart set out to treat the virtual store essentially the same as the physical outlets not cutting corners on staff or stock or anything else a trap we have see other retailers fall into We have staff dedicated entirely to our online store which makes it much easier for us to monitor what we need to do to operate successfully In terms of demand what products and when the sports industry is fairly predictable says Gerrard There are five basic seasons such as the footy or cricket the Christmas boom and post Christmas The biggest challenge is matching Sportsmart s offering to the changes in consumer demand which requires well tuned market antennae Changes in preferred sports and more than ever in the current climate how people exercise are what drive market demand That demand can also be affected by success or otherwise for national teams It will not surprise readers that this has been a fantastic cricket season

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2014/02/sportsmart/ (2016-02-10)
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  • South Pacific Health Clubs | Business In Focus Magazine
    it s more of a family environment where the managers have a say in what goes on in their club daily and they can plan their business model for what works within their local community South Pacific expects to spend the next year or two in consolidation mode following its recent burst of expansion However Conn remains interested in any market activity and would not lightly dismiss any business opportunity that arises notably in unique locations with suitable demographics We would consider either acquisition or starting a new centre and we are talking to some landlords and operators about future activity he offers We certainly want to grow our brand But to maximise the leverage of the brand rather than marketing each facility individually he would feel more comfortable with 10 to 15 clubs rather than the current half dozen Despite the highly competitive health marketplace the constantly growing demand for fitness and associated services in metropolitan areas can ensure healthy profits as it were as long as you do it right with the right mix of services and facilities At the premium level especially it is product offer including the interaction between members and from members to staff that counts more than price There are distinct strata of health clubs that differentiate them within the crowded and highly competitive marketplace Being a multiple award winner of The Victorian Fitness Business of the Year South Pacific sets out its stall as more of a premium offering with a higher level of equipment and services extras such as pool child care group fitness classes a more holistic approach including Pilates and a variety of different Yoga styles for example cafés nutrition services There are not a lot of these premium models in Australia says Conn The majority are in a middle segment with communal gym facilities and group classes but not much more while the lower segment offers little more than basic cardio and weights facilities Conn also points out the clear distinctions between the clienteles at his own clubs At Bourke Street for example there are clear peaks in early morning lunchtime and early evening 80 per cent of the membership is corporate and is based in a 600 metre radius of the club itself interestingly business people who wish to keep in shape won t necessarily walk far although that relates in part to their limited available free time The suburban ones Williamstown is a good example have more of a community feel to them and the membership profile is somewhat older Conn says that the model his clubs offer could be replicated in other cities around Australia because Melbourne does not have such a specific set of demands although he does not have any set plans to expand interstate The proportion of local people using or wanting to use health clubs is generally around 10 to 12 per cent of the population Despite some preconceptions of gyms as centres of sweaty male dominance the industry average for health

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2014/02/south-pacific-health-clubs/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Sentis | Business In Focus Magazine
    and choices which are in turn framed by that person s attitudes about the task or about him or herself as a person Anthony explains that Most change programmes focus on behaviour and what you are supposed to do differently hence the term behaviour based safety We are essentially empowering people to think a bit differently and this has seen us get some fantastic results The method results in employees who adopt increased ownership of the responsibility for safety So you re looking at a twenty five to fifty per cent increase in quality and a decrease of risk assessments We are not telling people what they need to do we re giving them more reasons that they would choose to do this for themselves A common assumption is that every employer should provide a safe and sound environment for its employees I think what companies generally do is tell people what they need to do or have a set of guidelines for each employee to follow But even under optimal conditions and with proper training there is no guarantee of safety due to unpredictable events that can occur Anthony maintains that the most important factor is how someone will then respond It is very much about an individual s choice and a reaction to a choice made by someone else We are very good at what we do and that is why all types of stress level businesses get us onboard to work with their team A typical process if you want to be successful is a top down approach from ownership management department heads and workers on all levels We always follow through on each process with a great deal of supporting elements like training programmes e learning tools risk assessments in the field and maintenance support after goals are achieved as well To perform such specialised services takes a great level of skill and education behind the entire process and the company employs professionals from a variety of different qualifications such as doctors psychologists and wellness educators It takes valuable time to get our consultants up to speed so we bring them on in a very vigorous and strategic manner says Anthony Sentis is continually researching better ways to engage clients to empower their own decisions and choices where safety is concerned A service such as Sentis provides is brought in for a range of needs and levels of urgency The company might come at a time due for a wake up call or a restructuring Just very recently we have been working with one of top banks in Australia dealing with high stress levels and have proven very successful We have many ways we can assist people from different locations We always deliver and all goals vary depending on the needs of the client Indeed Sentis has put roughly 80 000 people through its programmes with the majority of its business resulting from word of mouth recommendations that spread from organisation to organisation The company is

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2014/02/sentis/ (2016-02-10)
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  • New Touch Laser Cutting | Business In Focus Magazine
    also put staff through the Cert 3 and 4 in Comp Manufacturing Currently we are very focused on doing a lot of our own in house training and cross training Strategic planning has featured large in the last year too setting up a vision for the future of the company and New Touch has even found time in 2013 to go through the demanding ISO 9001 accreditation process It has been a very busy twelve months Recently Brad took the decision to merge the two The amount of work that was being done between the cutting and fabrication businesses was starting to become very challenging to manage and it was seen that too much effort was being duplicated It was a complete double up of our value stream map Doing our strategic planning and lean training has helped us identify this and enabled us to come up with a suitable remedy In July 2013 the two were merged meaning there is now just a single MRP system one schedule and no need to send internal RFQs purchase orders delivery dockets invoices and statements to each other This has freed up a significant amount of resources which can now be focused on delivering unprecedented quality service and delivery to our customers instead of managing a labour intensive system of sub contracting and purchasing between two sister companies Last year was especially busy for Brad as in addition he took over a company in Townsville called Industrial Laser Cutting We are part of a joint venture named Australian Steel Fabricators with four other major steel fabricators he explains The main purpose of setting up Australian Steel Fabricators is best described says Brad in a quote from Dennis O Neill Steel Supplier Advocate He said The formation of Australian Steel Fabrications using the incorporated joint venture model is great news for Australian industry This model was initiated from my work as the Federal Government s Steel Supplier Advocate The model enables suppliers to work together in a structured manner ultimately boosting their collective size and scale and improving their joint capability to support participation in much larger project opportunities Major clients including engineering procurement and construction management firms EPCM and proponents have been consulted in the development of the model He continues In my view it is a win win approach Suppliers improve their capability to become involved in larger projects and EPCMs and proponents now have access to a framework that reduces risk and improves execution I wish Australian Steel Fabrications every success and I encourage key stakeholders on the project side to engage with this very capable group of companies Industrial Laser Cutting offers much the same services as New Touch with the addition of a very large format plasma cutting machine which can handle plates as large as 12 metres x 4 metres and up to 200mm in thickness a service particularly in demand in Queensland s mining sector New Touch makes a point of keeping large volumes of materials

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2014/02/new-touch-laser-cutting/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Moran Furniture | Business In Focus Magazine
    for the decorator market but we have found a way to adapt custom printing to work in a retail environment It s the closest thing to being your own decorator The concept of revitalising Moran design to include not only traditional design but also to introduce exciting new ideas has become a core focus for Renée and Moran Furniture moving forward We re developing a lot of interesting new products as well as keeping the brand alive in the traditional sense she explains The company has thrived by implementing a unique model of business from the beginning focusing on building genuine relationships of understanding with clients and working to develop handcrafted custom made furniture of heirloom quality The company works with retail clients to offer exclusively tailored ranges to meet each client s specific needs We do as much research as possible first on trends to decide how best to present our product for the next launch Each retailer has a unique customer base so it s important to tailor the ranges individually Often fashion is our best indicator of how to style our furniture the leading fabric houses are also very good at pin pointing future trends I absolutely love looking through fabrics pre release Selecting from fabrics at such an early stage helps us to showcase fabrics that no one else has seen We always look to present complete ranges that work as a holistic concept that flow together as a story on the floor rather than one off designs Once on the floor however there is an almost endless selection of other fabric choices from the best fabric houses on hand for the general public to customise the look While some limitations apply when customising at a retail level we offer as much variety as possible Customers also have the option of working with their own designer who can talk directly to the Moran contract team to customise the perfect piece to suit their lifestyle Renée is proud of the strength of the company s business model and its reputation as being one of Australia s premier furniture houses There s not a lot of Australian manufacturers left and we re keen to keep local manufacturing alive she shares Indeed Moran is probably one of the few Australian manufacturers that still values quality product over speed of production employing traditional trained artisans The company s legendary level of comfort and quality of construction cannot be achieved by taking shortcuts each Moran sofa and chair is individually made to order using only the finest materials and best practice craftsmanship that most manufacturers have replaced with automated mass production techniques that often fall short on body correct comfort and longevity In the commercial space the company works to build lasting partnerships with designers to provide its high quality products tailored to the customers needs The contract market being very specific can range from a one off design project for a retail environment to the furnishing of many hundreds of

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2014/02/moran-furniture/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Mint Hotels & Apartments | Business In Focus Magazine
    customer service rules has been remarkably effective Guests walk out saying those people cared about me They smiled at me when I arrived they said please and thank you and they asked me if there was anything else that they could do Mint Hotels Apartments utilises external assessments primarily in the form of secret shopper style evaluations to ensure that these customer service guidelines are being met I don t believe you get anywhere if you go assessing your own product Mr Barber explains The team also asks their guests for feedback and takes their comments seriously External assessments combined with our open solicitation of guest reviews provide the feedback that we need to ensure that our product is achieving what we want it to achieve Mr Barber says It ensures that our staff are giving the experience that we need them to give The company also uses a reward system to encourage superior service The external evaluator actually provides their own achievement rewards for people As a result the staff actively work to achieve this recognition of the service that they provide In addition management works hard to instil a sense of purpose in their employees to improve service We have discussed with them all that they can have a firsthand impact on the revenue that our business can generate Mr Barber reports We want our people to take ownership of what they are doing Mr Barber says that online reviews of Mint Hotels Apartments properties also offer evidence of a job well done We are finding that online assessments of our staff and our service are improving markedly as an operation he reports These positive ratings are essential because online assessments have a significant impact on a hotel s business If fact Mr Barber reports that university research has recently proven what we have always believed all along that there is a direct correlation between positive online ratings and growth of room rate and occupancy So the better we are rated the better we are able to improve our revenue streams A positive online presence is so important in fact that the company has spent significant effort on harnessing the advantages of our wired world We ve embraced the use of technology and mobilisation Mr Barber reports The company has just revamped its websites and is specifically focused on targeting customers via their mobile devices Around 30 per cent of our business is from tablets and smart devices You ve got to be easy to access The team is also working on protecting its brand online One of the biggest problems that we face as an industry at the moment is that hotel operations have had their brands hijacked by the intermediaries Mr Barber says If you go online and look for a hotel by its name you will find it listed multiple times by intermediaries prior to finding the hotel s actual website This is a real problem that we have You develop a brand but somebody

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2014/02/mint-hotels-apartments/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Sustainable Australia | Business In Focus Magazine
    accused Ms Figueres of talking through her hat He reckons that as bushfires have been around a lot longer than climate change science they are not linked not a function of climate change they are just a function of life in Australia Greens leader Christine Milne immediately sneered that Mr Abbott has no regard for evidence based science and prefers ideology hardly raising the level of debate It must be said though that the UNFCCC does not have a strong record of scientific achievement itself having been responsible for little more than a lot of hot air the massive junkets in Rio Kyoto and Johannesburg being memorable As one observer said of the Kyoto summit and its minuscule aims never has a treaty aimed so low and still missed by so much It s the equivalent of cutting down smoking from 60 ciggies a day to 59 Another pointer to the urgency of the situation is the incoming government s promise or threat depending on your views and sense of optimism to tackle the thorny issue of the Carbon Tax It wants to throw away carbon pricing in favour of what it calls direct action The problem with the latter is that just about everyone beyond the Front Bench is chorusing that direct action still a rather vague concept will cost even more than the hated carbon pricing scheme if that is Australia is interested in meeting the challenge of seriously reducing its emissions rather than turning a deaf ear to the arguments in favour of low taxation And Canberra s Climate Change Authority just joined the fray According to the Guardian its first draft report joins a bookshelf full of previous reports to governments saying much the same thing But the Coalition government appears determined to ignore all of them It is determined to ignore evidence that the rest of the world is starting to act on climate change The authority suggests that while China and the US are taking strong action Australia judged by its current targets is lagging behind and will have to increase its target for reductions by 2020 to between 15 and 25 per cent itself a rather wishy washy target and by 2030 to 35 45 per cent All the pollies are now under pressure to explain how their ideas for reducing emissions might be the cheapest and best way to meet Australia s escalating long term commitments It s not that direct action can t work to reduce carbon emissions says the Guardian It s that all the modelling shows it can t work for the money that s on the table and with the restrictions that are on the table and that it can t be effectively scaled up to meet the tougher emission targets that are coming our way And every modeller every expert and most business organisations argue it s crazy for the Coalition to refuse to use international permits to help meet our targets most cheaply Does anyone have

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2013/12/sustainable-australia/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Australian Hotel and Brewery | Business In Focus Magazine
    though domestic sales are strong The craft brewery component of the business is integral to overall success Neal explains that it took some time to find trustworthy distributors through Austrade Exports began in Japan and as success grew the company looked to Southeast Asia and India as potential markets Our beer ambassador spent a week in India talking trade says Neal They got wildly excited about it The national fruit in India is passion fruit and the hops that we use in our pale ale is a very distinct passion fruit with a tropical fruit aroma all the bottle shop owners and distributors just went nuts for it Indeed the largest distributor in India provided Australian Brewery with the experience and connections needed to ensure a successful partnership Interest in Australian Brewery products grew substantially as the company was highlighted at various beer events Neal himself has a background in operations and supply chain management for very large and successful companies He is well aware of demand management which will support Australian Brewery in its effective and efficient expansion and has led the company in its growth since its inception At times demand is even higher than the local production has capacity for If we need to we will put some of our sales out to contract brewing he shares He spends a lot of time forecasting the future of the company and the market thoughtful planning that ensures Australian Brewery expands carefully and sustainably The company aims to become one of Australia s largest breweries The current site is already vast and has Development Approval for an additional two thousand square metres This further expansion will cover what is presently a car park According to Neal the infrastructure was always set up for expansion if needed the brew house could function six to seven times per day Stainless steel would simply need to be added to hold all of the beer as it ferments and matures We put our focus on and have spent a lot of money on our brewery so technologically we are competent and have a good team of people Neal explains We have drinkable beer with a lot of flavour expression when you drink our beers you really feel those beautiful hop flavours and malt flavours coming through Australian Brewery s best selling product is the Pale Ale a quintessentially Australian brew with Galaxy hops and tropical passion fruit aroma The company is also known for its traditional German Pilsner that as Neal says ends up winning all of the awards The company is expanding into seasonal brews and an amber ale is currently under development In collaboration with Feral Brewing Company in Swan Valley WA a new brew will be launched in the new year Feral Brewing is highly acclaimed for its American Pale Ale Other developments include creating a beer sake hybrid with sake enzymes and yeast used to ferment beer This is a trend growing in the United States a pleasant brew

    Original URL path: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au/index.php/2013/12/australian-hotel-and-brewery/ (2016-02-10)
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