ARN: How was your company started?
Baurhenn: I was an engineering manager for a computing company and I started basically from nothing. I was doing design of local area networks in the mid 80s. I didn't get paid for that as I did it as a side function, and I realised I could make a good living out of it. So I started my own company doing design and cabling. I installed one of the first local area networks in Sydney, and also one of the first Novell operating systems in the city. It was a highly specialised field when I started and we worked with quite a few large enterprises installing local area network cabling and carrying out system integration, and from there I made a name for myself in the industry.
What products and services does your company offer?
We are technology partners with 3Com, Xylan, Cisco, Nortel Networks and Telstra. The service we provide is a total turnkey solution, from the design to the integration of complete systems. We have a look at the infrastructure and decide what a company needs. Then we design the cabling for them, like fibre optic cabling backbone, UTP and cabling-integrated systems (LANs, WANs and voice systems).
What proportion of your business is services as opposed to hardware?
Services account for at least 25 per cent of our business, and on top of that we carry out after-sales service such as maintenance contracts and LAN testing.
Where is the networking side of your business going?
The focus is very strong on technology emerging today and tomorrow. We are very technology driven and are always looking for and implementing new technologies.
What are the company's key business strengths?
The key business strengths are, I think, the engineering behind the company and having the vision to strive on technology. Also, designing the systems to meet customers' needs. I think the engineering background helps in that quite considerably. Marketing and technical training, with companies like Xylan, also helps very much to keep the standard up.
What areas of technology are you keeping a close watch on?
It's the Internet and the wide area networks, such as ISDN and voice-over IP. It's endless.
I very strongly believe that RF technologies and a little bit more advanced fibre optic technologies are areas to keep a close watch on. Australia is very advanced in the world, aside from the US, in implementing these technologies, which is very good to see.
How are you responding to these developments?
This is my day-to-day focus - when technologies change you will change with the technology to suit the customers' needs.
How would you describe your company's management approach?
It's a very simple approach. We're a small company and build on that strength. It makes us very flexible and we work to find the best approach for our customers. We've got an excellent relationship with our suppliers. It's really based on a family-style approach.
What does the future hold?
We're very excited about the new technology emerging. My future goal is to have very good, honest relationships with our suppliers. Hopefully in the future we can expand slowly and continue to install systems which keep customers happy. We've got end users who we've been working with for eight or nine years.profileNetlanBased: Castle Hill, NSWEstablished: 1987Staff: 11Turnover: $3.5 millionGrowth: 18 per centServices: System integrationhttp://www.netlan.com.au