Anton Pemmer and his team at Bottles of Australia observed a change in the market with competitors overseas making changes to their sports bottles. The Entrepreneurs’ Programme helped them find out why.
Keeping up with the world
Bottles of Australia have operated out of Hume in Canberra for 25 years, specialising in the decoration, assembly and distribution of plastic sports drink bottles for major sporting brands and promotional purposes. Lately they sensed a difference in the way international counterparts were working. They also knew it was time to revamp the business to stay competitive. What they didn’t know was why the global change was happening.
Making major moves
Bottles of Australia Director, Anton Pemmer, completed an enquiry seeking help to address his concerns. The Innovation Facilitators (George and Richard) were tasked to address Anton’s dual issues of understanding the overseas change and advise Anton on how else the company can stay abreast of rivals and provide a better product for their customer.
George’s report confirmed the global shift by sports bottle manufacturers from low-density polyethelene (LDPE) to the more odourless and translucent polypropylene.
Richard recommended an overhaul of Bottles of Australia’s IT system, to a more automated and customer-responsive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Anton says both Innovation Facilitators’ findings and recommendations were exactly what his company needed.
“We saw this as an opportunity to verify what was happening in the marketplace: whether we should stay with our core material ... or whether we should change the material along with the international market as opposed to the domestic market, because no-one had changed domestically.”
Anton knew the company needed to upgrade its product materials and its systems simply to stay globally competitive.
Armed with George’s research report, Anton and his team consulted with their suppliers to ensure Bottles of Australia could shift seamlessly to the polypropylene products without interrupting their ongoing business.
Now the new bottles are ready to be rolled out.
On the IT systems front, the company is in the process of assessing various options for upgrading within a year.
“At the end of the day, the consumer’s looking for a better product. The sporting brands that we manufacture for are looking for innovation from us, they may be the shoe or the clothing specialist, but they’re not the drink bottle specialist.
So they look towards us as the supplier, or to anyone who supplies, to reflect that innovation. So it’s just a good value-add.
“We are a global supplier to global brands. So they’re looking for us to be up-to-date,” says Anton.
Anton believes the value of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme for Bottles of Australia was that the business-savvy Innovation Facilitators were able to save the company extensive time in researching its move to polypropylene, and in evaluating the various ERP providers for upgrading their IT system.
“I wanted to work with people who ... understand private sector business, and I got that.”
Anton also found having George and Richard’s unbiased and independent advice valuable confirmation on where he and his team thought the company should be heading.
“I’d have no hesitation to recommend any business, especially an SME, to look at the opportunities that the programme puts forward. Because I found it easy to do, and it was dealing with people that seemed genuinely interested to make a difference to the business.”