Property developer and construction firm Gwelo Developments has been operating for more than 40 years in Darwin. Gwelo is renowned for its innovative and iconic projects, including the recently-opened Coolalinga Central shopping destination, which has capacity for up to 65 specialty retailers in stage one. Coolalinga Central is part of an entire subdivision of residential and commercial properties to be developed in this area by Gwelo. The company’s directors and staff were involved in rebuilding Darwin after the devastation of Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve 1974. The company has earned its reputation through developments across a broad spectrum including industrial and commercial buildings, residential units, housing estates, hotels and serviced apartments.
Telecommunications services optimised for Darwin
Inefficient, costly and hardto-manage mobile, fixed line and data services over several locations. Little or no visibility of telco services portfolio and no confidence in timeframes for the provisioning of new services and delivery of hardware.
Calibre One streamlines telco management,
reduces costs for Gwelo Developments
“Our company relies entirely on our phones and email,” explains Jody McMullen, Group Financial Controller at Gwelo. “However, the nature of Gwelo’s business makes telecommunications a real challenge – particularly in terms of managing a diverse and ever-changing portfolio of services.”
“Gwelo goes through various phases over time. For most of our projects, we have an initial planning stage, then we build, operate and eventually sell our developments. Right now, we are in operations mode for our Coolalinga Central development, so we currently have 80 people working for us. Our phases of business are like a bell curve; those numbers peaking to about 250 to 270 staff and subcontractors during the construction stage,” said McMullen.
As Gwelo enters a new construction phase, it means bringing on new staff and in most cases means setting up new site offices. Those site offices need data connections and phone lines provisioned and, additionally, new starters need phones. There are often breakages to deal with and, given the nature of the conditions on construction sites, most new mobile phones are ordered with shock proof cases.
“One of our staff dropped his phone, so we ordered him a new iPhone and shock-proof case from Telstra, but the whole order was put on back order because there were no cases in stock. After trying to get the phone for a few weeks, we ended up going into a store to buy the phone and case outright,” said McMullen.
“Now, we get them couriered by Calibre One, with delivery the next morning.”
Gwelo uses Telstra for all of its data, fixed line and mobile services. This resulted in the need to manage different departments within the service provider, which was complex and time-consuming. They also desired more intuitive monthly service usage reports and billing data. That was taking a heavy administrative toll on Gwelo, as well as limiting the company’s ability to identify opportunities for efficiencies and to optimise its telco spend.
“In the past, Calibre One had done a good job looking after our phone systems, so we decided to contract them to help us manage our telecommunications,” said McMullen.
Calibre One’s Telstra Managed Services Helpdesk provides Gwelo with all the day-today requirements of managing mobile, fixed line and data services, and to act as Gwelo’s advocate at the telco. The service provides simplified support with a dedicated contact person at Calibre One (in Australia) and operates as a true helpdesk. A ticketing system ensuring issues are prioritised, tracked and resolved. Additionally, Gwelo can send multiple requests via a single email – regardless of the range of telco services to which they relate – and be confident that each request will be prioritised and actioned accordingly.
Not long after starting the managed services contract, the benefits of this customer advocacy were demonstrated when Calibre One was able to rectify a billing issue on an NBN service within four hours – something which Gwelo had been trying to resolve for six months.
“It was a good start to the association! Calibre One chases everything for us. They have a guaranteed response within a day, and they always let us know if there is a delay. We’ve never had to follow up with Calibre One – ever,” stated McMullen.
Calibre One also works constantly to optimise Gwelo’s account by checking that all services are actually being used. In addition, they have access to the latest and best pricing offers available from Telstra and its partners. By using its specialised knowledge, Calibre One is able to recommend and negotiate new services on behalf of Gwelo.
“Thanks to Calibre One, we have reduced our monthly telecommunications costs by between 30-40% and they are continually working on reducing those costs further,” said McMullen.
When Gwelo needed to move its head office recently, the initial cost to provision fibre optics was a show stopper. However, Calibre One was able to negotiate free installation in return for a two-year contract for the new services which also worked out less expensive than the former (and smaller) office. With very short notice for the installation of fibre optics to the new office in the Darwin suburb of East Arm, Calibre One met all the deadlines for the move. This included coordinating everything with the office fit-out team and digging up the road to install new cables.
Calibre One also assisted with the management of telco service provisioning for all the new retail outlets at Coolalinga Central – up to 65 separate businesses – and Gwelo’s own office management and back-of-house set up.
Calibre One provides support for all the day-to-day telco activities, including billing issues, mobile phone orders, new account provisioning, relocations, migrations, upgrades, repairs and service provisioning. The Telstra Managed Services Helpdesk has relieved Gwelo of managing multiple Telstra departments directly by providing them with one point of contact and working out what is possible with the various services and options available. Calibre One, as a Telstra Business and Enterprise Partner, also has direct access into Telstra systems to quickly action requests from Gwelo.
“International roaming charges can be extremely expensive, but we can work out the optimum travel packs for Gwelo staff travelling overseas and Calibre One identifies and rectifies any incorrect charges and fees if they occur – like a $726 cancellation fee that was incorrectly applied on an account recently,” said Danielle Hand, Customer Support Manager, Calibre One.
“We just wish we had found Calibre One earlier,” said McMullen. “We have significantly reduced our administrative overheads by using Calibre One to manage our telco services. But it’s not just the time we were losing, it was the lost opportunities. Now I can be more strategic and confidently deliver what my company needs. If we need a new phone, I know the right one will be on my desk the following day.”
“Timeframes are critical in the construction industry – and Calibre One has exceeded beyond our expectations.”
Gwelo has gained a lot of confidence in Calibre One’s service delivery and technical capabilities over the past two years, and appreciates the understanding Calibre One has now developed about Gwelo’s business operations. Calibre One has provided invaluable guidance and advice as Gwelo considers a number of options on future projects, including a possible move to cloud-based applications and services such as Microsoft Office 365, as well as a major server upgrade and further consolidation of its IT support services.
As the property developer continues through its ‘bell curve’ development phases in the future, Calibre One will be there to ensure Gwelo’s telecommunications needs are satisfied and its services are optimised.