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KIWI STORY: The right way to project management

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Feb. 11, 2014
Eight-year old Lexel Project Services (LPS) is a 120-strong project management (PM) firm that is proudly Kiwi-owned, with operations and clients across Auckland, Wellington and other parts of New Zealand.

Up ahead on the horizon
With adequate client support, and certain critical moves, the firm hopes to achieve exponential growth in the next few years.

"Our focus is to increase and maintain the path within NZ, while we are looking at perhaps Australia. We want to take this exact model and ratio that we have now, and either doubling or tripling that in NZ. Our plan is to get to 450 staff by 2018, and by that time we should achieve a tripling of revenue as well," says Alexander.

Within NZ, LPS sees Wellington being the growth driver for the firm in the near future.

"We are looking at a revenue split of 75 per cent from New Zealand and 25 per cent from Australia. That's the target between this calendar year and next calendar year. We have done projects in Australia for the last year and a half. Yet it is a relatively new market for us and we need to go into that with eyes wide open. We are looking at other regions as well. We are in very much high level exploratory phases of that. We are looking at another area abroad," says Alexander.

Workloads abroad will be taken on with certain Kiwi-based benchmarks, according to Alexander.

"Our business model in Australia and also further abroad will involve shipping Kiwis to other areas leveraging exchange rate, the brand that comes with the NZ workforce and again leveraging NZ economy and payroll. We will use these to give our people genuine career opportunities — a jump up in job, a new country to experience, a new assignment. It is another way of retaining the team but also making the most of overseas opportunities, and making it a win for everyone," says Alexander.

Jones asserts that the main challenge as the firm prepares for this growth spurt is ensuring that personal connections with employees continue to exist and that the essence of the firm is not lost.

"The other side of it is that we are investing time and energy in continuously reviewing the systems and processes that support us in the background. It is not just about adding more and more people to the project management side, but also investing in the right tools and systems to allow us to grow," says Jones.

Alexander adds, "We would prefer to have NZ tools and systems to add. Currently we are looking at how we can integrate Xero into our back office. We are such huge fans of what those guys have done and what they have as a NZ capability that is truly global. It is important to our brand as well that we are not looking for the cheapest way to do something, but looking for the right solutions to help us grow."

The team indicates that there might even be a branding change on the way. Nothing though, seems to deter them from pursuing the 'scary, ugly' goal of tripled revenue by 2018.


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