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The 10 most innovative property, construction and transport companies

The AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies list recognises the most innovative organisations in Australia and New Zealand, as judged by the expert panel assembled by The Australian Financial Review and Inventium. The assessment methodology is outlined here.

In 2019 the list has been split into 10 industry-specific categories. These are the top 10 innovations in the property, construction and transport category.

1. Mirvac

Innovation: Cultivate Number of employees: 1000

Cultivate is a business that converts under-used spaces, including car parks, basements and vacant retail or office spaces, into urban farms.

Through a partnership between Mirvac and Melbourne start-up Farmwall, Cultivate uses sustainable low-waste methods to turn these unproductive spaces into food-producing ecosystems.

Cultivate delivers benefits to office workers and inner-city communities by offering urban farming sessions and salad sessions. People can take a break from their desks and de-stress in a 45-minute session that teaches them how to grow their own fresh, organic produce and helps them learn more about the nutritional value of microgreens.

Cultivate also offers local businesses the opportunity to purchase fresh produce grown on-site, with no food miles or packaging. Using a combination of aquaponics and hydroponics, a variety of microgreens and leafy greens are available to local chefs who can harvest them in the morning to be served fresh that day.

Winner of Most Innovative Property, Construction & Transport Organisation.

2. Lendlease

Innovation: Richmond River Bridge pre-cast headstocks Number of employees: 13,000

This innovation represents the first time in Australia that a bridge of this width (four lanes) has been constructed with a single pre-cast headstock. Integrated headstocks of this size have previously been cast on site, at height.

To achieve a light yet strong product, we designed the headstock in the shape of a tub, with relatively thin walls. These made the headstock light, which was important so that we could transport and lift it, but meant the tub was more prone to cracking during transportation and lifting into position.

So our team had to develop a new process for bridge construction. The development of the headstock tub as a precast component of the bridge sets the standard for future bridge projects in Australia.

3. Reece Group

Innovation: goodwork Number of employees: 8000

goodwork is a networking platform for tradespeople that allows them to connect to other tradies, find jobs in an area and create a profile to showcase their work, like LinkedIn.

This helps connect and empower ambitious tradies to grow their businesses more easily and more quickly, and free up their time to focus on more important things.

4. International Towers

Innovation: International Towers Digital Experience Number of employees: 40

We created an Australian-first, scalable digital ecosystem centralising workplace services for more than 20,000 professionals who are part of the International Towers community of tenants and their employees, service providers and Barangaroo visitors.

The multi-level access, cloud-based platform and app offers workplace services such as on-boarding, training, cultural awareness and employee engagement programs, retail services, security, transport and parking.

It also offers a one-stop-shop for transactions related to asset management, building policies and procedures, and operations.

The platform uses industry standard for application program interface (API) and technology integration, enabling us to connect with diverse providers and offer broad service experiences.

Winner of Best Property, Construction & Transport Innovation Program.

5. Dempsey Wood

Innovation: Burn & Blow Number of employees: 375

The Burn & Blow is a machine that blows heated air at the ground to enhance the evaporation of moisture in the soil. It replicates the effects of the wind and the sun to speed up the process of reaching the optimum moisture content for soil compaction.

The machine comprises a two-metre-diameter fan that blows ambient air through a heating element powered by a diesel burner. The heated air is exhausted through a nozzle directed towards the ground.

The system is trailer-based and is towed by a tractor across the construction site. The Burn & Blow includes tillage discs to cut up the ground and provide increased surface area for the heated air to cause evaporation.

6. Cabcharge Payments

Innovation: Cabcharge Digital Pass Number of employees: 50

The Cabcharge Digital Pass allows organisations to send their staff or guests a payment solution directly to their smartphone within seconds. Travellers accept the Digital Pass into their Apple Pay or Google Pay wallet then simply tap their phone on the in-taxi terminal at the end of the trip.

All information from that trip is sent to their organisation's online Cabcharge Plus portal, displaying a route map, pick-up and drop-off locations, traveller's name, cost codes, fare breakdown, GST, tolls and any other information the organisation wants to include for end-of-month reconciliation.

The Digital Pass can incorporate travel rules, including expiry date and a fare limit, ensuring trips are taken for their intended business purpose.

Winner of Best Property, Construction & Transport Innovation (tie).

7. Kingfield Galvanizing

Innovation: Environmental Management System Number of employees: 43

Our Environmental Management System (EMS) was built to measure production processes and develop initiatives that minimise Kingfield’s environmental impact.

The EMS builds controls into our production process to increase the extraction of emissions and release clean air to the environment; uses automation to minimise cross-contamination in our pre-treatment zone to reduce waste; and introduces metering systems to monitor materials consumed per tonne of galvanised steel and create greater efficiencies.

8. Hendry

Innovation: HendryIQ Number of employees: 140

Our online training platform gives users access to Hendry’s full range of digital training solutions. On the back end, clients can capture data at every stage.

Using augmented reality, emergencies are simulated in a virtual replica of the client’s workplace, engaging all trainees through a live training scenario. Information about key points of interest, emergency exits and fire extinguishers are used to create a fully navigable 3D model.

Sound data management must support this process. Our Infinity platform was developed to provide clients with an all-in-one data management and reporting platform, featuring tailored dashboards and custom reporting functions to suit client needs under all conditions.

A fully digitised solution means users can complete training remotely and at their own convenience. Clients can also assess reports, deploy training modules and edit training materials and warden lists from any location, an important element in understanding safety implications on-site.

9. Orix Australia

Innovation: VOOM Number of employees: 246

VOOM is an automated, easy-to-use online platform that guides small business owners through the car-buying process, allowing them to select and finance a vehicle from their laptop.

They can compare detailed vehicle specifications across all makes and models and build their car (selecting variants, colours, bodies and accessories). They then choose from a range of financing options and can bundle additional services such as fuel card and insurance.

They benefit from our national network and buying power to get great pricing. Throughout the process, they can access online assistance.

Once the vehicle is delivered, we look after running and servicing the vehicle. The customer receives a monthly invoice, which consolidates all expenses including fuel, tolls, service, repairs and any fines (depending on the options chosen). This removes the overhead of monthly reconciliation of vehicle expenses.

Winner of Best Property, Construction & Transport Innovation (tie).

10. Dexus

Innovation: SuiteX by Dexus Number of employees: 427

SuiteX occupies a floor in an office building in Sydney. Within the floor there are 10 flexible spaces and businesses can pay to use one or more of these as their office.

The walls can move with a modular structure (a bit like LEGO) so customers can choose how much space they need. The space can change (bigger or smaller) in a few hours by adjusting the walls.

Furniture, meeting rooms and internet are all included in each space, making moving in easy. There is a shared kitchen and bathrooms for the use of everyone on the floor.

To get an office space, businesses usually have to sign up and pay for a minimum of five years. At SuiteX, they can stay for six months to two years, so if the business grows and they need more people, they can easily adjust their space to suit their needs.

Read the full article on The Australian Financial Review here.


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