A unique perspective
Based in Perth, Western Australia, Hexagon Services is a company of many talents and disciplines – they offer hydraulics services, commercial plumbing, have a controls unit, and do fit outs and construction. The experienced, qualified personnel at Hexagon have been involved in all areas of the industry. “We have quite a varied range of knowledge and expertise in our business,” says Richard Udinga, the company’s General Manager. That scope of talent is important, because when the company was formed in 2003, it was to offer a unique approach to the building and construction services industry. In the years since, they have continually succeeded in that goal and beyond, providing cost effective solutions to their customers as a result.
Udinga himself has a background in Sales and Marketing within the building automation industry. When he started with Hexagon Services in 2004, however, they solely provided mechanical services. It was later that the company expanded into building automation and plumbing, offering multiple services to the commercial and industrial building sector. Their client base includes hospitals, shopping centres, universities and schools – and on the back of that client roster Hexagon Services has grown from eight personnel to 42. “There’s been some substantial growth in the nine years we’ve been operating,” Udinga says.
The company provides a number of services that Udinga considers key to their business. They have a plumbing division where they employ all their own plumbers, for instance, and are active in the field of mechanical maintenance, where they provide air conditioning service and maintenance to a variety of commercial buildings. Their Controls division, however, is particularly valuable. There they provide building automation and energy management systems to the commercial market, and have completed a number of important jobs. A significant example is the Australian Institute of Management, Australia’s first 6-Star Green Star education building.
Because they provide a multitude of services, Hexagon is able to stand out from the competition. “A lot of the other businesses are very specialised in their given field, but we can carry a fairly broad brush of experience across our different divisions,” says Udinga. “This offers, for a lot of people, a unique perspective.” For example, because they offer both building automation and mechanic services, Hexagon has a greater understanding of both fields than a company that just provided one or the other. “There’s a lot of engineering that the building management guys don’t see or understand,” Udinga explains. “And vice versa – the mechanical guys don’t understand the controls.” At Hexagon Services, they understand both, and they are better able to provide their clients with solutions as a result.
Another aspect of their business that sets Hexagon Services apart is doing their commissioning process in-house. Because of this, their personnel are able to gain a greater knowledge of the site they will later be supporting, which helps them provide better solutions. “Where a lot of other companies would subcontract that out, we do it internally,” explains Udinga. “So there are a couple gaps in the market that we try to close.”
The board of Directors at Hexagon Services are all very hands-on, which reflects the tight-knit corporate culture. “Whilst we’re a medium sized business in turnover, we still have a family business feel,” Undinga says. “The people who run the business work in the business. A lot of the division heads are the Directors of the business and work closely with the staff.” This is advantageous to the company, because it means that the leadership is fully committed. Since the people who run the business also own the business, it is their own money on the line – and Hexagon’s positive workplace culture reflects that. That personal involvement of the company leadership also aids in Hexagon’s customer service. Everyone who works with Hexagon Services can be assured that any project or contract will have the full support of the entire organisation, including the Directors.
Another factor that distinguishes Hexagon’s client services is their slogan: “Thinking outside the square.” That is a philosophy that the company truly takes to heart, Undinga says. “We try to think of alternative solutions and better solutions for our clients to suit their construction needs.” That tactic has been extremely successful for the company, and has resulted in an outstanding record for successfully completing projects on time and within budget.
When it comes to challenges, Hexagon Services central one is not the economic climate, but the rise in competition. Historically, the market in Perth has been very small. As more opportunities develop in the area, however, larger companies have begun to set up. “The market’s been on the increase for quite some time,” Udinga says. For example, there are a lot of hospital infrastructure projects popping up in Western Australia, so there is plenty of work to seize. That is actually why the global financial crisis has not impacted Hexagon Services – when it hit, they already had quite a backlog of work.
Over the last few years Hexagon Services has experienced a fair bit of growth, shifting from a small company to a medium-sized one. “Now we’re heavily having a look at our processes and systems that we have in place,” Udinga says. “We’re actually holding back our growth while we get the right systems in place.” This does not mean they are not planning ahead, however. For example, they are currently trialling a web cloud based system operational system, wherein their employees all use iPads to record a site diary. Within that system, everybody’s input goes back to a central server, so they have full, instantly accessible data on their projects that can also be available to their clients. “We have a few ideas of what we want to focus on. We’d like to diversify some of our business to diversify risk; however we need to get the systems and processes correctly in place to roll that out in the future.”
At the moment, Hexagon Services is in a consolidation stage while they plan and prepare for their next growth period. “Now’s the time we’re just concentrating on making sure we’ve got a recession proof system in place that, going forward, will support both our staff and our clients,” says Udinga. “We’re integrating our internal systems together with these new systems to improve our process, and then we want to roll that out and use that as a springboard for growth.”