When it comes to safety, we are all concerned. Interview with Paul Costanzo, General Manager Assets at Downer Group on innovation with advanced safety systems Australia.
At Corematic, we believe that proper safety and health cultures are paramount to ensure that all workers, and the public, on or near sites, return home safely at the end of the day.
Corematic Engineering worked with Downer Group to implement a safety system that protects truck drivers. After trying for a period of 3 years without finding the perfect solution for their needs, Downer entrusted the perilous mission with our experts to come up with an appropriate solution: an intelligent truck positioning and detection system to allow safe asphalt loading operations.
Paul Costanzo, General Manager of assets at Downer Group, looks back on the reasons for this successful partnership, and the many challenges countered from the first pilot on an initial asphalt plant to achieving the completed deployment on Downer sites.
Why did you choose to work with COREMATIC Engineering?
When I met Jonathan Legault and Scott Hansen, the founders of Corematic Engineering, I felt that they could provide a solution that wasn’t available in the market. Jonathan and Scott were very entrepreneurial with designing solutions. They were very open to feedback from the customer about the potential avenues to explore. They were very knowledgeable in the space of engineering where we were looking for input. I decided to partner with Corematic as I felt that delivering a new product in the complex environment that this space is, needed a team with the experience to do so.
“Corematic has a new and different approach to business. In that most research style projects they are prepared to commit to a number of outcomes. As well as the milestones associated with those outcomes.”
Downer worked with Corematic on a truck positioning detection system, what was the problem you were looking to solve?
Before Corematic, I tried to see if we could flesh out a solution with a number of partners including the OEMS. But there wasn’t a solution that was readily available and also free of compromises.
When I met with the team we discussed what an acceptable outcome would be. I still remember Jonathan shaking his head saying “this is a very very complex solution that’s required here, because this technology, this way of thinking, and the application… has never been done before”.
“We didn’t need to design anything new. We just needed to adapt existing technology for a new purpose. And that’s exactly what Corematic were willing to do.”
What was the overall experience?
I placed a lot of trust in the commentary provided by the Corematic team to deliver results and step through the milestones we set out. To their credit, while some timeframes were not what we hoped for since we faced some additional challenges, they certainly delivered on all of the operational outcome milestones.
“It’s not often that you’ll come across an organisation that’s prepared to commit to an outcome that even they can’t necessarily see.”
Whilst it was us who funded what we needed to, there was certainly plenty of blood, sweat, and tears put in by the Corematic team to see it through to the end, and deliver!
Will you say the team is taking the challenges seriously?
Correct. They’ve built a level of integrity with the way they conduct themselves and do business that people like myself can truly trust in an outcome. There’s been plenty of instances where large organisations like mine commit to a project. Then three-quarters of the way through your partner is not hitting milestones and runs into additional challenges. Then, in the end, it all gets too hard.
While we faced many challenges, and the timeframe was longer than we had both originally envisaged, Corematic was committed to my outcome. They were always open and honest about their project. As well as what we needed to do to get to the finish line. I did have to invest some more. But to be honest, I was happy to do so. I could see the results and milestones they were hitting.
“Because we continued to invest and trust, we have ended up with a really, really successful product.”
What benefits you and your team have seen with the completion?
We have had a substantial increase in operational safety in our larger complex manufacturing facilities. In those facilities that have this architecture installed, we have a step-change in the number of incidents. It’s almost to the point where they have been mitigated altogether. Our rate of events is effectively zero. Versus prior to the installation of this architecture where there was a rate of events per amount of productive shifts.
“That’s a substantial change considering that this technology doesn’t exist anywhere else. We are the only one that has it, it’s a substantial change for sure.”
“Relationships creating success” is the slogan of Downer. How pleasing was it for you to develop this solution with our team of engineers?
I enjoyed working with the team at Corematic because of their motivation, enthusiasm, and willingness to try new things. They look at a status quo problem from a different angle. More importantly, they offer a level of integrity that’s highly respectful since they don’t commit to something that they can’t deliver. They’re very honest with their feedback on what they can and can’t do. When you’re dealing with an organisation like mine, that’s very important.
General Manager – Assets, Roads Infrastructure Services