INNER Range and Central Security Distribution have doubled branch sizes on the East Coast, expanded into ACT and plan to move CSD’s WA branch, with sales for the group’s Australian operations on track to exceed $A100 million this financial year.
Financial performance clearly positions the group as one of the 2 largest players in the Australian security industry, and arguably the most powerful, thanks to its leading position in innovation, manufacturing and distribution.
According to Vin Lopes of Inner Range CSD group, 2 years of meteoric growth have fuelled the need to expand every part of the organisation to meet surging demand. As staff numbers have shot past 190, Lopes says offices across both Inner Range and CSD have been bulging at the seams.
“This is something that’s going on all along the east coast,” Lopes explains. “In Qld we expanded into the building next door, while in NSW we’ve moved all our admin people out of the branch and into a separate office to make more room. We’ve also opened an office in Canberra and on the West Coast we are looking to expand.
According to Lopes, part of the challenge for the group can be sheeted home to the underlying philosophy of the business. Inner Range is Australia’s leading electronic security engineering house and both Inner Range and CSD, which is the distribution side of the business, have a fierce commitment to ongoing research and development, tech support, training and stock. All these aspects of any business require staff and space.
“As we’ve been growing we’ve continued investing in tech support, we’ve enlarged our training rooms and added remote training capabilities, and we’ve expanded our engineering capacity to support integrators and their customers, as well as all our agencies. We’re also committed to carrying considerable stock – about $A20 million in stock is on group books right now,” Lopes explains. “The result of all these factors is that staff numbers and the demand for space are going through the roof.”
A case in point is the new CSD branch in Melbourne. It’s double the size of the old one, has training rooms, space for telephone marketing people, as well as an increase in space for all other functions. There’s more storage, more office space – more everything.
In explaining the group’s success, Lopes cites a combination of factors, including quality staff and quality product, as well as being in the right place at the right time.
“We’ve been fortunate in many ways but it’s one thing to get opportunities and another to make a business work at a time of enormous growth – growth is hugely expensive,” he explains. “Partly, our success comes down to feet on the ground and the capacity to manage a growing business, but it’s also the culture of our business.
“For instance, we grew so much with Hikvision 3 months ago that we had to airfreight emergency stock in from Hangzhou at considerable expense to make up the shortfall and ensure there was no interruption to supply. You do those things for your agencies and your customers even though you know you will take a short hit to your bottom line.
According to Mark Cunnington, there are a number of key reasons the CSD Inner Range group has been so successful.
“As the rest of the industry seems to be moving to centralised stocking and sales functions, we remain 100 per cent committed to high levels of local stock holding, as well as highly trained technical support and technical sales staff in all our branches,” Cunnington explains.
“In terms of product range we are specialists not a super market. We have a strategic group of carefully selected complimentary brands in each of our categories and we ensure our sales staff are highly trained and backed up by a competent team of product specialists.”
Inner Range CSD business is blossoming…
Perhaps most notable is that Inner Range established CSD in 2008, just as the global economic downturn took hold. The challenges of the past 7 years provide much needed contrast to the group’s success – to be closing in on a turnover of $A100 million just 8 years after CSD opened its doors as a distributor of Inner Range and a small number of product lines, is simply amazing.
“We are certainly doing well in turbulent times,” says Lopes. “We have strong agencies, excellent staff – our people and our infrastructure are good enough that we’ve been able to manage extreme growth. The last couple of years have been really big for us – we are moving rapidly and we have some very big projects in the pipeline with government and commercial organisations. We’ve been waiting for growth to stabilise but there’s so much interest in our solutions at the moment we simply don’t know how far the trend will take us. That said, however, with stunning growth, a healthy bottom line, and almost zero borrowings, we do know we have a lot to be grateful for right now.”♦