Heathrow's chaos NZ firm's opportunity

By Errol Kiong

The chaos at the opening of Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 has given a New Zealand baggage-handling company an unexpected boost in its export ambitions.

Albany-based BCS Group is hoping the disruptions at T5's opening - which saw thousands of bags missing and hundreds of flights grounded - will allow it to market its point of difference as it eyes lucrative Northern Hemisphere markets.

Chief executive Patrick Teo said: "We don't just provide the mechanical bits or the software. We actually provide the total solution to the client which is not just the system; it includes the operations, the business case, training.

"Many industry players do it quite differently. All they do is they go in, they provide a baggage-handling system and they walk out.

"That makes a huge difference, because if you read what happened at Heathrow T5, it's probably not thesystem itself that failed, it's everything around the system that failed."

Locally the Albany company has been going great guns, signing a $14 million contract with CourierPost to handle parcel sorting at the company's new depot to be located in East Tamaki's Highbrook Business Park.

Expected to be operating in March next year, the system will be largely automated, removing the need to manually sort parcels. It will also combine the bulk of the work now being carried out in CourierPost's three existing Auckland depots in Mt Wellington, Onehunga and East Tamaki.

The new system will have thecapacity to sort 18,000 items an hour, which is approximately double the capacity of the manual system now in use.

CourierPost general manager Mark Gibson said the new technology was also future-proofed, with bar and videocoding capability.

"Just as importantly, it will alsoprovide considerable health and safety benefits to CourierPost staff due to reduced manual handling."

BCS already derives much of its $70 million turnover from Australia, where it has a presence in all but three airports: Adelaide, Qantas Melbourne and Sydney International.

But Teo sees Australia as a local market rather than an export one. "We want to grow exports outside Australasia, and that's what we define as exports."

The company began looking at other markets two years ago and has started gaining small contracts in places such as Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Greece and France.

BCS GROUP

* Software and baggage handling company with export ambitions outside Australasia.

* Started in 1993 as a software company and expanded into materials handling in 2000.

* Recently signed a $14 million contract with CourierPost to handle parcel sorting at its new depot to be located in East Tamaki's Highbrook Business Park.

* Already has a presence in all but three Australian airports: Adelaide, Qantas Melbourne and Sydney International.

- NZ Herald

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