Thinking outside the square
“Rather than follow the road less travelled, we build it.” That is the attention grabbing claim made by Linked Group Services (LGS) – and it is not a false one. From the start, it has been the philosophy that guides the company.
The company commenced its operations in 2010, under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Peter Shaw and Managing Director Jason Sharam. Both founders had been in the industry for many years, and have spent time in multiple trades. They both brought a wealth of experience and expertise to their new venture, and together have achieved continued success.
All the parts for the job
Today, Linked Group Services provides a variety of solutions to nearly every major industry sector in Australia. Their services include electrical, air conditioning, mechanical, plumbing, data, building and fabrication, and – most notably – solar.
“We started out as just Peter and myself installing a few solar systems,” recalls Sharam. “Continual requests from mining companies familiar with previous work meant we again became heavily involved in the mining industry.”
From this starting point, Linked Group Services has grown to employ 25 individuals, each with a variety of skills and trade abilities.
“When a client rings, we can offer them a refrigeration mechanic, a fibre-optic technician, an electrician, a boilermaker, and more,” Sharam says. “We can offer all these different skills from one company. We can offer a whole package.”
As a company, LGS operates mainly throughout Mackay, Darwin, Brisbane and Gladstone, as well as the Bowen, Galilee and Surat Basins. Recently, the majority of their work has involved projects and maintenance in the mining industry. Prior to that, they had experienced a “mass amount” of success in the solar market, Sharam says.
“We were installing somewhere between five to ten systems a week,” he relates. “We were doing a lot of mine maintenance as well, which we are still doing.”
Sharam says that Linked Group Services is presently moving in a new direction. “We identify areas of inefficiency, provide solutions and install and maintain those solutions. We are able to fix peak demand issues through solar alternatives and power storage. We can install power factor correction technology to cancel out paying for waste power. Both these solutions have payback in months so are very attractive to the ‘bean counters’ of the world.”
LGS has already established a variety of new products, and have even more on the horizon. As an example, they have developed an “iso cover” that provides a protective shield for conventional isolators – or they can supply a package that includes the mounting system, isolator and quick connect terminals.
That product solution was created in direct response to the company witnessing the damage UV radiation and rain can have on photovoltaic cells. They developed the product as a way to ensure longer operational life, a safer system and as a way to save their clients’ money. They have experienced great results with this device since 2011.
LGS has also designed and built a solar-powered, satellite communications-enabled mobile lighting plant as well. That device can be used for lighting, power generation, and surveillance applications, and can be monitored remotely – which means never having to allocate resources towards its maintenance and operation.
Recently, LGS also completed development on the “Habitat” – a self-sufficient, solar-powered, transportable accommodation unit. The Habitat is fully customisable in layout, and can be used for a variety of purposes. It can be used to create an accommodation unit with ensuites, an office block, a crib room or a safety centre. Each Habitat comes with its own water storage, power generation, energy-efficient hot water and air-conditioning.
Training for success
Linked Group Services has a wide range of capabilities. But while that range goes a long way to setting the company apart, Sharam says it’s the team that implements those services that really makes the company special.
“We demand high quality and expertise from our employees, this has meant that we are not growing rapidly,” he explains. “We want to be able to maintain a high level of service that allows us to keep our clients happy. We are very client focused and customer orientated. They understand that if they come to us, they’re going to get top quality.”
“There are plenty of labour and labour-focused companies out there that will throw a body at any job,” he continues. “We simply won’t do that. If we don’t have the right person for the job, we don’t take it on. We want our quality and our service to be guaranteed.”
To help guarantee that quality, LGS invests heavily in training, and encourages innovation among their staff.
“We try to get our guys to think outside the square and think on their feet,” Sharam says. “We request that they give us value-for-money as well. If we’re going to offer our clients value-for-money, we need to get it from them first.”
“We won’t put up with guys who don’t provide the quality of service our customers expect,” he adds. “Everyone makes mistakes, but we want guys that learn from their mistakes, and then want to learn more through training and education. We’re very particular about who we employ. They have to share our ethic and our attitude.”
Linked Group Services’ commitment to “thinking outside the square” has not gone unnoticed by the industry at large. At the North Queensland Excellence Awards, held by the Master Electricians Australia, the company was rewarded with the accolade for Innovative Product of the Year.
The award-winning product was their “iso cover,” which they created to guard roof top isolators from rain and UV radiation.
“We were looking at ways to develop products that would provide our clients with new options for efficiency,” Sharam says, looking back at the product’s origins. “That’s really what we are all about. We are a sustainable solutions provider, and we have to innovate to do that. We have to always look at ways to improve value, safety, and environmental efficiency.”
“That’s something that Peter and I have always discussed,” he adds. “We don’t want to just do something, we want to think about what we are doing and we want to think about if there is a better way of doing it.”
By making that effort – by going that extra mile, and thinking outside of the square – LGS not only offers monetary savings, but they also help to protect the environment. And as a provider of solar services, conserving the environment is something they see a lot of value in. They are always looking for ways to do that better.
In general, Sharam says doing things better is the driving factor behind everything Linked Group Services does. Moving forward, he says that one way they hope to do that is by growing their employee base.
“We want to continually grow our company but maintain the quality service and reputation we have built,” he says. “In the long term, we intend to spend more money and time on developing our products, as well as installing and maintaining them.”
“We want to be a product and service company,” he explains. “We want to have the products enhanced by service, and vice versa.”
Having services that complement each other is a key value for LGS. That’s why they have so many services, Sharam explains – because they all work together. Their fabrication complements their electrical division, for example. And their energy auditing division is supported by their services and solutions division.
“The bottom line is we can identify problem areas, come up with a solution to the problem, and then design a system that is sustainable, cost effective and safe,” Sharam says.
“That’s the idea behind Linked Group,” he concludes. “All of these different services link to one another.”
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