After acquiring Paramount Safety 18 months ago, PIP Global Safety are firmly setting their sights on expanding into the New Zealand market. National Category Manager at LINQ Height Safety Paul Bozkurt elaborates on using customer service as a point of difference, why their products are better than others, and general market competitiveness.
Founded in Perth in 1992, Paramount Safety’s portfolio has always consisted of safety products applicable to many different industries – whether it be mining, oil and gas, construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, logistics or among others where they prove useful.
However, things have changed. 18 months ago, PIP Global Safety – one of the fastest growing safety companies globally – made the move to acquire Paramount Safety, integrating all their brands but changing the name of the entity to reflect their unified position.
One of those brands in its portfolio is LINQ Height Safety. Having been at Paramount for 15 years, National Category Manager for LINQ Paul Bozkurt is in a unique position to speak to the takeover of Paramount by Protective Industry Products (PIP) Global 18 months ago.
“We are now PIP Global. A house of brands exist under PIP Global, and we are now one of them,” he says.
“You will see and hear a lot more about PIP moving forward, as right now it is the world’s fastest growing company in safety. With this comes greater investment in innovative product development, which excites me a lot.”
Starting work on his current role at LINQ six and a half years ago, Paul’s responsibilities at the company currently revolve around the height safety, rigging and lifting sides of the business.
“The height safety side is the biggest part of our business,” he says. “We’re a wholesaler, so we go through our distribution network. We have manufacturing capabilities in Brisbane, allowing us to create bespoke products for our clients.”
Paul only recently added responsibility for lifting to his duties, but says including it in the company’s daily operations “just makes sense”.
As most of the customers coincide with those already going to LINQ for height and safety products, Paul adds that whilst lifting, rigging and height safety are separate industries, there are “lots of crossovers”.
“The lifting and rigging side is really what I would say are your hard goods style of products: your chain lever blocks, etc. And then we go into our soft goods, which will be your flat round slings and then we have ratchet tie-downs. That’s the two parts of the business.
As the conversation turns back to the PIP takeover of Paramount, Paul highlights his stance that the company wants to “provide better safety products globally, at scale and readily available to serve our markets.”
With roots established in the USA, Canada, and the formative stages of business development appearing in the continent of Africa, Paul says PIP is “truly” starting to branch out globally, and expansion is at the forefront of management’s plans.
“In terms of the market that we’re looking after here, it’ll see not only Australian and New Zealand markets expand, but we’re also looking after Southeast Asia as well, and we’re actually finding our gear going into Africa,” he says. “It’s really starting to reach out in those areas that we’ve never seen before.”
Specifically highlighting the lifting, rigging and soft slings aspect of LINQ’s business, Paul says it’s an area that he knows they can “grow” in and place a lot of “focus” into the New Zealand market.
“One thing that we do want to do is relaunch in New Zealand,” he says. “The next step for us is to work out what that marketing plan looks like, and then we can engage into the relevant shows and other marketing strategies to help us grow over there.”
Emphasising that the market across the Tasman is “brilliant”, Paul believes a lot of similarities can be drawn between how Australia and New Zealand operate when it comes to height safety and lifting, saying that things just need a “shot in the arm” to kickstart business.
“Expanding the lifting side of things across the Tasman is absolutely an area we want to target but again, it comes down to reinvigorating that market, putting stock into it,” he says.
“At the moment, it’s just been running off the back of LINQ.
“Lifting’s a tough market,” he continues. “It’s a mature market; we’ve got this particular saying that if aliens did not build the pyramids, someone would have used lifting techniques to do so at some point – that’s how old the industry is.”
However, marketing strategies and plans form only one aspect to a successful expansion, as Paul and PIP Global know.
Gaining access into the markets of New Zealand requires solid, dependable products that operate in tandem with a heightened level of customer service and, as Paul says, gain the trust of the industry professionals who have been working with people they know for an extended period of time.
Speaking to the products that LINQ designs, Paul stresses that “everything is designed in Australia” and that, while some manufacturing does happen overseas, the processes are controlled by LINQ.
Additionally, its manufacturing abilities in Brisbane allows the company to receive and fulfil some more versatile orders.
“The product gets developed and improved through our sales team being on the ground and talking with our customers,” he says.
“The chief technical officer and I work on the design of the product, and we listen to what the market and our customers are telling us.”
With accreditations from the National Association of Testing Authorities and the British Standards Institute, Paul says that anyone who purchases LINQ’s products can be sure of their quality, but that more is still required to assure people that LINQ and PIP Global are the company they should consistently work with.
“From a pricing point, we’re consistently fair and reasonable in terms of what we’re charging the market, and that comes into the equation as well,” he says.
“But we know that our customer service needs to be exceptional. When it comes to the lifting side, when we’re talking about slings, a sling is a sling,” he continues.
“So that’s the thing: this is where customer service becomes key.”
Not shying away from the fact that the stock still needs to be high in both quantity and quality, Paul adds that it’s hard to develop a stock profile if “you don’t have hundreds of people bashing down your door wanting it.”
“It comes down to customer service,” he says. “We’ve got to ensure that we’ve got the right people on the ground who can provide the support and access required better than everyone else.”
“You’re trying to convince someone that has a problem to come over to your side of the business,” he continues.
“We just need to show that we’ve got exceptional service in every single way, and that the customer’s best interests will be consistently looked after by working with us.”