07/05/2008 - 22:00

International work all about the connections

07/05/2008 - 22:00


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Graphic design is not an industry normally associated with exports, yet West Perth firm BKAY Design generates a big chunk of its revenue from sales to international clients.

International work all about the connections

Graphic design is not an industry normally associated with exports, yet West Perth firm BKAY Design generates a big chunk of its revenue from sales to international clients.


The firm has built a niche position in the international oil and gas industry, servicing clients as far afield as Houston in the US, and Angola.


Founder Kim Kay didn’t expect the international work when he set up the firm in 1994.


“If you asked me 14 years ago if I’d be doing work in Angola, I wouldn’t have thought so,” he told WA Business News.


BKAY Design’s work includes designing and building three-dimensional displays and exhibitions, brand development, and producing marketing material such as brochures and DVDs.


It works mostly in oil and gas, and property.


Its oil and gas clients include major petroleum and engineering companies such as Chevron, Shell, Inpex, Schlumberger and Tap Oil.


The firm’s expansion into export markets has flowed in part from the connections Mr Kay made while working for global companies with operations in Western Australia.


BKAY has also won major contracts through competitive tenders.


“Sure we have contacts, but there are opportunities offered to us that are strictly tenders and are open to the world,” Mr Kay said.


“It’s very gratifying when we can win that work.”


A third contributor to the firm’s growth has been Mr Kay’s willingness to travel overseas.


This included a visit six years ago to the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, which attracts up to 70,000 delegates every year.


“I went there a bit cautiously,” Mr Kay said.


“I’d just started working on (the) Angola (LNG project), and it was unclear how it would be effective.


“It was effective in a couple of ways. One was the network with the (Australian) delegates that went.


“It was also important for my relationship with Chevron here. It enabled me to understand the industry and their business even more.”


Mr Kay said the OTC visit, and his many other international trips, had been time consuming and at times demanding.


“It’s far easier to do it over the computer and over the phone,” he said. “It’s far easier to send someone else.”


However, he attaches a lot of weight to the value of face-to-face meetings.


“It definitely creates a very strong business relationship. It shows the importance of meeting people one-on-one and not just communicating with people over the net,” Mr Kay said.


BKAY’s first oil and gas client was WAPET, a Perth-based consortium of international petroleum companies operating in WA.


That was followed about 10 years ago by work on the Gorgon gas project – the same Gorgon project that Chevron and its partners are still working on.


BK AY was initially invited to tender for the design and production of display material but proceeded to build a wider strategy for the promotion of Gorgon at LNG (liquefied natural gas) conferences.


BKAY’s work on Gorgon led to the Perth firm being asked to prepare display material for the Angola LNG project, in southern Africa.


BKAY ended up designing an entire corporate identity for Angola LNG, including a brand, logotype and style guide.


“Angola LNG is still one of our most important clients,” Mr Kay said.


“I’ve been to Angola for seven years, taking my people over and working with some of the locals to build exhibitions every year.”


The Angola LNG project gained final approval in 2007 and is currently under construction.


Another big break for the firm was a successful tender for Chevron’s global gas business unit.


It has since designed and built display and exhibition material for conferences in cities like Seoul, Barcelona and Bangkok.


BKAY’s export success provides a shining light for a campaign being run by the Industry Capability Network, which traditionally has focused on helping Australian suppliers win work on big Australian projects.


ICN has widened its focus and is seeking to help Australian companies become integrated into the global supply chain networks run by big international resources and engineering companies.


•Mark Beyer is being sponsored by Chevron to attend the Offshore Technology Conference 2008.



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