#FluixForProfessionals

Being a Continuous Learner Has Always Taken My Career Forward

Lachlan Jamieson
Business Development Manager
NKT Australia
My Company

NKT Australia provides solutions for high voltage installations (11kV-420kV) primarily across the utilities and renewables sectors. We have been leading the industry since 1891, combining experience with local support and invaluable knowledge of disappearing skill sets.

We also heavily believe in quality, in-depth training of skilled professionals, which helps spread valuable field knowledge across the industry.

1
Start of my career
How did you begin your career in the utilities?

How did you begin your career in the utilities?

I started as an Electrical Fitter Mechanic apprentice through the local electrical utility in Mackay, Queensland, where I learned distribution and transmission systems, performing maintenance, construction and testing works on various electrical substation components.

At the age of 20, I moved to Melbourne as a qualified Electrician, working throughout the CBD zone substations upgrading aged equipment. With time, I got the opportunity to travel throughout Victoria and Tasmania, constructing new electrical infrastructure projects in transmission and distribution settings.

2
Gaining experience
You also have experience of working in coal mining, don’t you?

You also have experience of working in coal mining, don’t you?

That’s right. At 25, I headed home to Mackay and got my first real exposure to the industry in the Bowen Basin. I performed high voltage testing and commissioning across various mine site assets such as switchyard components, transformers, HV cabling and earthing systems. Later, I got an opportunity to pursue testing via FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) work in Western Australia on an offshore oil & gas mining facility.

That work was an eye-opener in many ways – working off an uninhabited remote island, on a 26/9 day roster with 12 hour night shifts, regular 50C+ days and 10 hours’ worth of flights just to get to work. It was intensive, but the testing and commissioning experience I gained in a relatively short time was invaluable.

3
How I joined NKT
That’s quite a journey to have by 25. And how did it lead you to a Business Development Manager at NKT?

That’s quite a journey to have by 25. And how did it lead you to a Business Development Manager at NKT?

After spending 3 years in Canada, working predominantly in hospitality, I got back to the ‘real world,’ settled back in Brisbane, and started working with NKT as a Project Manager.

I looked after various HV underground network projects, including the largest wind farm in Australia (at the time), utility connections up to 275kV including LPOF (low-pressure oil-filled) cable systems and a multitude of renewable energy projects spread across the country.

My recent studies in Marketing & Communication have gained me a new role as Business Development Manager with NKT in 2021. I’m also an NKT Australia’s HSEQ manager, and have overseen NKT Australia’s digitalisation process since early 2019.

4
Why I enjoy my job
What are your current responsibilities, and which do you enjoy the most?

What are your current responsibilities, and which do you enjoy the most?

My tasks vary from day to day, but in general we offer our Australian/NZ customers a ‘turnkey’ solution of product supply & installation of high voltage accessories up to 420kV. We’re the only manufacturer in Australia with a dedicated in-house installation team, which gives us complete ownership of our project’s scope, from procurement stage to energisation.

What I enjoy the most at NKT, is the varied role with opportunities to learn and gain regular exposure to specialised work, having a large global support network with a local team full of industry leaders, and finding value for our customers through local innovations and support.

5
Beginning of digitalisation
What was the trigger for you to start searching for a digital solution for your company?

What was the trigger for you to start searching for a digital solution for your company?

Rather than searching, we were extremely lucky that the beginning of our digitization process somewhat fell in our laps! In 2019, we were working on a wind farm in Northern Australia, and our customer and the principal contractor had required all project stakeholders’ administrative deliverables to be completed digitally.

Fortunately, through previous business relationships with the project manager and clientele on site, we were able to utilize their already developed system as an introductory solution, which just so happened to be Fluix. That’s when we realized we had to pivot ourselves to a digital system. And while we did do due diligence in researching various products, none quite fit the bill as Fluix did – and we had the added benefit of using it first hand ourselves previously.

6
Crew’s reaction
How did your team react to your initiative to switch from paper to digital?

How did your team react to your initiative to switch from paper to digital?

Switching from paper to digital was something that none of our field staff had experienced in the past, and the initial reactions were somewhat skewed towards the sentiment of ‘learning a new system equals more work’. This was quickly forgotten, however.

Once the guys got familiar with the application software and understood the role of workflows between internal and external management teams, they realized that going digital meant much less work for the field team, with a vast improvement in the overall quality of the output.

This meant that we got massive support from the ground up, from within about a week of our first introduction to the system. That was the first step of a long way into making the decision to fully digitize ourselves.

7
Main challenges
What was the main challenge(s) with going digital you faced as a Business Development Manager?

What was the main challenge(s) with going digital you faced as a Business Development Manager?

To be honest, it was a really smooth transition without too many major hurdles. We got a ton of support from the team at Readdle, as well as the added bonus of having key customers with previous experience that we could lean on.

The hardest thing was probably onboarding our whole field staff team, which were spread out across Australia. But like most things, once the staff were able to get hands-on experience with the software and tablets, we really haven’t had to provide any additional training since, as the simplistic nature of the system spurs knowledge growth organically, through daily use on site.

8
Benefiting from technology
Rumors have it you’ve always had interest in tech innovations. What smart technologies, aside from automation tools, have you found useful for your job?

Rumors have it you’ve always had interest in tech innovations. What smart technologies, aside from automation tools, have you found useful for your job?

Technology is definitely developing at a rapid pace and I’m always on the lookout for tools and innovations that can assist in making my life easier. With NKT in Australia, we currently use Fluix for our onsite quality & safety management systems, iAuditor for our internal QMS auditing, and have various integrations between cloud storages, servers and our accounting software.

Being a product manufacturer, we’re also currently working on developing a system that will create a quality assurance scheme in conjunction with QR codes, for each of our local products sold. This would help capture key installation data for each installed NKT product in Australia, such as who/what/when/where/how, giving our customers greater transparency over their assets, and an instant database of past installations completed. This also helps us at NKT towards potential future warranty claims, and ensuring personnel are trained and competent for the works they perform.

9
Before vs. after going digital
Comparing the times before digitalization and after you started using platforms like Fluix or other, do you see a positive impact on your efficiency?

Comparing the times before digitalization and after you started using platforms like Fluix or other, do you see a positive impact on your efficiency?

Honestly, it’s not even comparable and I don’t think I could go back to performing daily tasks on paper when I think about the combined wasted hours in administration as a result. Maybe it’s a hesitancy to change processes that have been a certain way for a long time, but I simply don’t understand companies that have not yet looked into streamlining their paper processes into digital workflows, when there are so many options currently available.

Our Fluix system alone, which costs less than $5000 per year, saves us the equivalent of probably 1administration employee annually, and the software is scalable to suit any sized team.

Not only the efficiency side is a great benefit, but the quality of your outputs will dramatically increase: There’s no embedding photos on a paper document covered in coffee stains, there’s no automated time/date/GPS stamps involved in bulky project handover folders, and there’s no instant analytics when you have to manually input data from handwritten notes.

10
Predictions for energy
What are your digital predictions for the energy industry? What innovations will shape its future in the upcoming years?

What are your digital predictions for the energy industry? What innovations will shape its future in the upcoming years?

In Australia, I don’t think we’re too far off having digital inputs as mandatory on major projects for quality and safety outputs, as the alternative simply won’t be good enough in due time. With the added uptick in usage, I think you’ll see not only improved collaboration between individual customers, but within all relevant stakeholders as a collective network.

11
Advice to young talents
What would be your advice to the next generation of young talents? What skills would be critical for business development managers?

What would be your advice to the next generation of young talents? What skills would be critical for business development managers?

Always try to learn something, whether it be a new skill or topic, signing up to a short course, webinar, or even YouTube tutorials. There is so much good (often free) learning content out there that you don’t need to be up to your eyeballs in university fees to continually learn, upskill, and improve, while still building on your chosen career.

As far as the BDM role, while I’m relatively new to the position myself, development of soft skills cannot be overlooked. Being able to quickly adapt to different positions, demographics, cultures, and backgrounds makes a huge difference in building relationships, and your soft skill set is even more important than technical knowledge.

You could succeed with only soft skills and poor technical knowledge (with the right support), but you would really struggle with the converse being no soft skills and a high technical knowledge.