Being the best
On Site Gas Systems is an Australian-based company that provides world leading air separation technology and complimentary product and services to all industries throughout Australia. When it comes to nitrogen gas generators, oxygen gas generators, gas analysers, gas mixers, gas boosters and more, they pride themselves on carrying only the best products in their field, and offering only the best service and after-sales support.
The company’s dedication to “being the best” starts with General Manager Rodney Rodrigues, who formed On Site Gas Systems in Australia in 2005. He started the business to act as an agent for an American company of the same name. Though the business is independently owned, he chose to keep the same name to ensure there was no confusion from customers around the core business offering.
On Site Gas Systems Inc, based in CT USA, meanwhile, was founded in 1987, but the company’s origins date back to the famous space race. Founder Francis X. Hursey was part of the Apollo Mission’s breathing air engineering team, where he helped pioneer PSA oxygen technology. Later, he leveraged his experience and knowledge to help develop one of the first oxygen concentrators for home use. From there, he launched On Site Gas Systems Inc in America – and the company been growing ever since.
Before bringing the business to Australia, Rodrigues spent ten years working in marketing for large multinationals.
“By the end of my time, I had held some very senior marketing roles within advertising, consumer goods and consumer electronics,” he says. “Overwhelmingly I had the feeling that I could do things better if I was able to make the ultimate decision and move the business in a direction at a speed that was far greater than general corporate pace.”
“The personal restriction I felt was that in the corporate environment I could advise, but in the end the corporation would make the ultimate decision and dictate the timelines,” he adds. “In some cases I simply felt the decisions weren’t the best ones for the growth and goals of that business or simply took too long to execute.”
With this in mind, Rodrigues began to look at other options for his career path and the direction the rest of his life could take.
“I knew that I didn’t want to operate in a corporate framework, so I looked around,” he explains. “It took me several years and I went through many, many ideas – mostly products and services operating within the consumer space as that what I was familiar with. Finally, I was introduced to a company in New Zealand that was selling gas separation technology into that market.”
“I was immediately interested, as the products offered very high barriers to entry from a competitive view point, were technically very different to anything I knew – and would therefore be a huge challenge – and I saw exceptional potential for the Australian market,” he says.
Rodrigues points out that at the time he had no direct market experience in Nitrogen PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) nitrogen membrane or oxygen PSA generation systems. He simply started out with the passion to provide something unique and most importantly, to do it better than anyone was, and that is what drove him in the early years.
“I was new to industrial sales – or any direct sales really – and I had to self-learn,” he recalls. “I spent a lot of time in the US with the manufacturer, so after a few years I had a good handle on the products and I began to grow the business.”
Since the inception of Rodrigues’ On Site Gas Systems, the company has expanded at a rapid rate. This last fiscal year (2012-13), the company has doubled in size (in terms of both revenues and staff) and has been growing at an average compound rate of growth of 116 per cent for the past four years. This growth has landed them in the 11th spot on Business Review Weekly’s (BRW) Fast 100, a list of the fastest growing companies in Australia.
“I started the business selling into the general industry,” Rodrigues explains. “So typically to a factory that may be located in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, and we focussed on providing smaller nitrogen or oxygen systems for them.”
“I love the Australian manufacturing industry – food, wine, light industry,” he adds. “However, it is small and it would not be enough to sustain the growth that I was looking for. I had to find a better avenue to help evolve the company.”
“After a while I started knocking on the doors of the mining industry, specifically the underground coal mining companies,” he explains. “After focusing on them for a couple of years we finally got a break into one of the coal mines. We replicated the US’ model of equipment rental and from there slowly started to build a fleet of nitrogen generation systems specifically for rental into the underground coal mining industry. That break into mining completely transformed the company.”
“After breaking into the mining industry, word started to spread, and with it the momentum that has carried us forward. We were able to double the revenue from 2009 to 2010, and have doubled again every year since then,” says Rodrigues, pointing to the BRW list of the Fast 100.
“I have a lot to thank for the Australian mining industry,” he says.
Local and flexible
“Our recent successes has been because of the underground mining industry, and the gas industry,” Rodrigues reports. “We are heavily involved with the coal industry, coal seam gas and major international miners.”
Some of On Site Gas Systems major customers and end users include companies such as Xstrata Coal, Anglo American Metallurgical Coal, Santos and Queensland Gas Company. According to Rodrigues, those end users in the past 12 months have played a significant role in the company’s success.
The other earning potential is made up of the smaller scale products that they originally explored in 2005. These smaller scale applications include ultra-high purity Nitrogen generators to supply electronics manufacturing companies, blended C02 and nitrogen for food packing, medical oxygen for veterinary practices, and a host of other general nitrogen users.
“Part of the appeal that we have to our customers is that now we locally engineer, design and manufacture our packaged units in Sydney so we can completely customise our systems to meet the customer’s exact requirements. Also, there’s a big push for the mining companies to have a level of local content, and they get that with us,” Rodrigues explains.
This flexibility means that On Site Gas Systems is are able to make systems big enough or small enough to fit the customer’s need, while at the same time ensuring that what they do develop is compatible with the customer’s existing systems.
Rodrigues expects that the trajectory of growth will continue, but he also knows that they will have to continue to explore the possibilities that could open up new markets. On Site Gas Systems is something he launched because he understood the niche that it could fill, and with his company growing double each year – even throughout the Global Financial Crisis – it would seem that he bet on the right horse.
For more information, please visit their website at: On Site Gas Systems
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