Meet Australia’s Business of the Year

Meet this year’s Business of the Year winner and discover exactly what it takes to win the crowning glory at the Optus My Business Awards.

“This is just stunning. It’s an amazing award and something we totally didn’t expect, and it’s a great honour to be recognised as the Business of the Year,” says Rod Welford, executive chairman at Ensight Pty Ltd.

“It will certainly help us to promote our business to the Australian market and through other markets in the world.”

Ensight, Optus My Business Awards Business of the YearThe business was founded in 2003 by Francis Barram and Rod Welford with the aim of transforming how businesses use energy. Since that time, it has undergone significant transformation in the services it offers, its modes of delivery and its geographic reach.

Now located primarily in South Africa, but with its headquarters remaining in Brisbane, Ensight now operates purely as an export business.

My Business spoke with Rod on the red carpet immediately after the win to learn more about how Ensight operates and the strategies it employs, which wowed our judges. 

Judges commended you on your business goals – what are those goals and how do you work to achieve them?

Our goal is to be a global company – to be the go-to company that saves you energy costs and other costs of inputs into your business when you’re a big input user.

[We want] to make the greatest possible global impact by addressing the environmental issues of climate change associated with energy use. 

We do this by working with the biggest energy users in the world to fundamentally change the way they use energy more profitably.

What are some of the unique services your business offers to add value to your customer base?

Our key market differentiation comes from our brand promise: to reduce energy costs by 10 per cent with free cash flow and with no capital outlay, with a minimum 500 per cent return on investment.

We offer customers the Energy Leadership Program (ELP), a long-term partnership that delivers up to a 20 per cent reduction in energy use at large industrial businesses, while maintaining or improving production levels.

The ELP provides a whole-of-site energy transformation program that delivers a 'program of projects' to achieve clients' energy savings.

Ensight has [also] developed a unique energy design methodology, the Ensight Way, which reveals energy waste and energy-saving opportunities in energy-consuming systems.

Our engineers are trained in the Ensight Way method, and their teams are embedded at customer sites to implement long-term ... partnerships with large industrial customers.

Your mentioned that you work with some of the biggest energy companies in the world. How do you engage with such large companies as an SME?

Yeah, we’re a minnow compared to most of the suppliers to some of these big companies. But our approach really is that we can do something different and better than anyone else, and what we do run is an operation which is different to anything else on the market.

Finding our own niche, specialising and being good at what we do, training our staff and having them passionate about the outcomes we achieve, I guess, is why we’re achieving the success we are.

How has your business evolved to meet a changing market landscape and customer demands?

Founded in 2003, Ensight provided energy efficiency advisory services to government, industrial and commercial clients in Australia. However, in 2012 we reinvented ourselves to solely focus on energy-intensive companies, especially in the mining and resources industries, to implement transformational change in the way they use energy.

Our first industrial-scale site-wide ELP was initiated in 2012 at Palabora copper mine in Phalaborwa, South Africa. Founder Francis Barram moved to South Africa to set up the new business.

Since our establishment in South Africa, we've gained market share through the following key focus areas:

  • Focused attention to clients with large energy bills;
  • Focusing on specific geographies;
  • Building internal business capacity through over-resourcing and development and deployment of extensive training to support growth;
  • Broadening product scope to incorporate water savings and carbon trading strategies;
  • Leveraging existing client relationships to advance into new territories;
  • Ongoing networking and advancement of our brand through conferences, events and public relations.

What are your short-term growth ambitions?

We have plans to launch in the US in 2018 and Canada in 2019. 

As the Business of the Year, what is your advice for other business owners?

I think first of all you have to have a clear view of what your goals are, and start taking steps to get there. Secondly, you have to have staff that share that view and are as passionate as you are about your business. And thirdly, train your staff well – because nothing succeeds like staff who love what they do.

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