Melbourne’s leading owners’ corporation managers, Engine Property Group, has been partnering with Honan for some 10 years. Engine has a reputation for innovation and excellence in the owners’ corporation management space, managing a broad spectrum of high-rise towers, mixed-use developments, and master plan communities. Engine’s recent additions to Melbourne’s skyline include Sky Garden, Collins House, Melbourne Square, and Paragon Tower.
We checked in with owner, Andy Dawson, to find out more about the business and its story.
WHAT IS THE FOUNDATION ON WHICH YOU HAVE BUILT YOUR BUSINESS?
Our business is built on trust, we ask people to trust us. We strive to constantly maintain trust by producing and providing positive outcomes for our customers.
YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH HONAN COMMENCED BACK IN 2011! TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT ENGINE LOOKED LIKE THEN VS WHERE YOU ARE NOW.
Quite incomparable really, while business lot volume is not the aim, over the last decade, organic growth has certainly seen us become one of Melbourne’s larger firms. Our investment in our people has also followed that path, building up such a positive culture that we are all exceptionally proud of.
HOW HAS YOUR BUSINESS EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS?
- We crafted two distinct service propositions to compliment two owners’ corporation management styles: Multi Level & Towers, and Large Scale Planned Communities & Estates.
- With a view to perfecting delivery and a tangible uniqueness, we conducted a full “systematic attack” on the total business mid-2017. Interviews were carried out with staff, consultants, stakeholders and customers.
- We applied the learning outcomes back into our systems development through aggressive digitisation, solution determination, process improvement, people improvement including positioning and development of tailored training programmes and mutual appraisal documents. The overall result has meant the business has completely detached itself from legacy systems and processes, which has enhanced responsiveness, effectiveness, and professionalism.
- With a view to maintaining the above intensity, the second step was to run further workshops with key project management companies to get a clear delineation of how a tower and a large scale planned community may look in 2025.
- The combination of all the above work really highlighted to us that industry service providers provide accounting platforms and synchronised management systems are falling behind and are simply not evolving. Further, there is no prominent application that fosters resident connectivity, community or creates the opportunity of producing income for an owners’ corporation. Engine has internally driven IT innovation to create platforms to streamline and interface all these critical elements.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 TRENDS IMPACTING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?
Having been in the industry for 24 years, I still find it frustrating that as an industry we continue to undersell ourselves on price. Whilst we value our service proposition and look to “hold a line” on pricing, the pricing I come across from firms with little or no points of differentiation is frightening and frankly unsustainable for most strata business models.
I’m obviously looking forward to the year end implementation of our industry’s regulatory reform, work with it and understand its total application more fully, I mean it’s only been 15 years!
Equally, it will be good to see the proposed mid-year “short-term letting” review. There’s a place for everything and the short-term letting /pure residential interface must have balance but the “last cut” of regulatory reforms really didn’t give owners’ corporations any more significant powers that they didn’t already have.
AT HONAN, WE’RE ALWAYS INSPIRED BY BUSINESSES WHO ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY. TELL US SOMETHING UNEXPECTED OR TRULY DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.
The true difference at Engine is easy, it’s our people.
I’ve been fortunate enough to oversee so many wonderful people over a long period of time and no matter what the circumstances, everyone that has moved through Engine has made their own valued contribution to the business and I’ll always be grateful for that. That said, I’m so immensely proud or our current quality group who can only be described as a dynamic bunch of high achievers who embrace personal development, training and CPD.
INNOVATIVE CULTURES AND A COMMITMENT TO ONGOING EVOLUTION ARE COMMON HALLMARKS OF SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATIONS TODAY. WHAT DOES INNOVATION LOOK LIKE / MEAN TO YOUR BUSINESS?
I spoke earlier on our “systematic attack” which in my view was honestly the starting point of Engine’s evolution. Internally we were brutally honest with ourselves and accepted that we could do so much better. This acceptance along with putting “tasks to process” has indeed driven internal innovation and other “shiny” community-creating lifestyle platforms we are proud of.
AT HONAN, MAINTAINING QUALITY CONNECTIONS WITH OUR PEOPLE, PARTNERS AND THE COMMUNITY SITS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO. WHAT RELATIONSHIPS & CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS IN RECENT YEARS?
So many people over the journey gave me a shot, so many people continue to do so, they all know who they are and they remain so highly valued to me both professionally and indeed some personally. They’ve shaped me and in turn, given me a chance to shape a wonderful business called Engine.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE BUSINESS OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS?
More like the next 10 years, I’m going nowhere! I “count my lucky stars” as to how fortunate I am to work with this group.
Whilst having plenty of fun along the way, we’re all committed to seeing where we can take Engine and how we can continue to make ourselves available to the wider community so as to be considered a major touch point for anyone’s owners’ corporation needs.
Discover more in our Partner Q&A Series: Global Ballooning.