JA: Why has the
company’s structure been changed? When did it come into effect?

NC: Ness Security
Products has been a respected name in the Security Industry for almost four
decades but the name is no longer reflective of the company’s current business,
its offerings or future direction. A name change has been long overdue but
mindful that our core values haven’t changed we decided to substitute “Security
Products” with “Corporation”. Ness Corporation broadens the scope of our already
strong brand.

JA: Ness Security
Products has changed its name to Ness Corporation. What does this mean for the
company structurally – have there been changes to the structure of Ness
management? Are you still involved in the business and what is your role?
Whatever about other senior managers at the company? Does the team remain the
same?

NC: Yes, I’m still
the managing director and the core team of senior managers who head the major
departments remain in their current roles. Management’s combined experience
spans almost 200 man years and this trebles if we add middle managers into the
mix.

JA: The change
from a company to a corporation reduces personal risk on the stakeholders in
the business and this would allow a corporation to be more aggressive in terms
of prosecuting expansion plans. Will we see additional growth from Ness
Corporation?

NC: To remove any
doubt, while the name change implies a statutory change the company remains a
Proprietary Limited entity whose shares are tightly held by myself and
management. 

JA: Are there new
stakeholders from the point of view of capital who are looking towards growth
in the business?

NC: No, however,
the company’s focus has changed to take advantage of the many and various
opportunities that have presented themselves as a result of a general
broadening of our horizons. Ness Corporation is actively pursuing a strategy of
organic growth, augmented by growth through synergistic acquisition. The back
of our new business cards lists a collage of fields that the company is now
involved in, highlighted by the simple message that Ness Corporation delivers
“Innovative Electronic Solutions”.  

JA: Could you
outline the size and shape of Ness Corporation – the number of staff, the
number of branches, the number of divisions, the major product lines
distributed, discounting those product lines manufactured or sourced by Ness?

JA: Ness
Corporation currently employs over 150 Australians in its head office and
wholly owned branches in each capital city. I expect this to grow appreciably
over the next three years. The company has approximately 10 divisions and 15
major products groups. Our product lines are too numerous to detail but Security
Products includes Wireless, Monitored Systems, CCTV, Integrated Systems, Access
Control, Automation, Structured Cabling, Central Vacs and Intercoms, Signal
Conditioners and Isolators, Distributed AV, Medi Alarms and Electronic
Manufacturing. 

JA: In 2008 Ness
acquired APCS and became Australia’s largest maker of electronics for process
and control and more recently, Ness took on distribution of Russound AV
products in Australia. What do these acquisitions mean for Ness Corporation?

NC: I need to
clarify that APCS is primarily a designer and manufacturer of signal
conditioners, isolators and measurement modules encompassing temperature, power
and fluid measurement. The business dovetails well into Ness Corporation and
benefits from Ness’ ISO9001 accredited infrastructure. The most significant and
obvious synergies were in the areas of engineering, distribution and
manufacturing, however, we are also taking advantage of opportunities for cross
marketing, particularly in the field of automation.

Taking on the
distribution of Russound products was a “no brainer” for Ness Corporation. Our
M1 cross platform controller has already established itself as the industry
standard for automation systems with high levels interfaces to almost anything
of significance from lighting to HVAC and AV control. Adding a powerful AV
distribution product line with a worldwide reputation was a natural progression
and takes us closer to our goal of being a total solution provider.

JA: What is the
likely effect of Ness’ repositioning itself as Ness Corporation from a product
point of view? Historically the business was primarily alarms before branching
out to cover CCTV and Access Control. Will these core product lines remain in
the Ness stable?

NC: Absolutely.
We have never forgotten our roots and in fact we have just begun the launch of
some exciting new alarm panel products that will provide genuine and serious
value. The first of these products is our ground breaking Navigator
touch-screen, which will be packaged as standard with all of our D series
panels.

What is the
break-through? This product smashes the price / performance barrier. Our
Navigator touch screen series are priced within 10 per cent of the LCD keypad
panels they replace, setting a new benchmark in the panel market as did the now
legendary 5000 series almost 25 years ago. 

JA: Ness
Corporation is known for manufacturing high quality alarm panels and sensors in
its own facilities in Australia – is that going to change or will design and
manufacture continue as before?

NC: Our
reputation for Australian design and manufacture has been hard earned and we
are not about to change that part of our identity. Ness persevered through
recessions and an onslaught of imports. When the world was crying “outsource or
die” Ness doggedly refused to succumb to the pressure and the warnings by
establishing its own world class manufacturing plant.

To onlookers this
was no doubt seen as a perilous move with dire consequences but fifteen years later,
the Nesstronics manufacturing division of Ness Corporation has attracted a string
of high quality, valued and very loyal customers who rely upon our expertise to
manufacture products for them as diverse as medical, mining, automotive and
communication.

Ness even
manufactures “Intrinsically Safe” products to a certified standard. To achieve
this, our quality system must continue to meet stringent audits to prove that
we are capable of tracking individual components by product and customer. The
benefit to our traditional Security customers is product quality that is
unmatched by our competitors.

This is a huge
call but we back it with an open and standing invitation for any of our
customers to conduct an audit of our quality system and our facility. After
all, we undergo routine six monthly and triennial audits in order to maintain
our ISO9001 Accreditation, anyway.

JA: Are there any
major new product releases planned for 2010? What can we expect from Ness
Corporation on the technology front?

NC: Yes. While I
cannot go into detail on each and every release we have kicked off the New Year
with powerful offerings from Russound and our own home grown Navigator touch
screen panels. There is more to come in almost every market segment of our
business as the year progresses.

JA: Where do you
see growth for Ness Corp over the next 12 months? Will it be across the board
or in specific areas?

NC: I expect
stronger growth from our relatively new acquisitions and distributorships but
our new product releases will provide a boost to the more traditional areas of
our business. Contract Manufacturing may also surprise with potentially very
strong growth.

JA: Which is Ness
Corp’s biggest, most dynamic and fastest growing division/s?

NC: A good but
unfair question, as the biggest division may not necessarily be the fastest
growing or most dynamic. Suffice to say that several divisions have had a turn
at one or more aspects of the crown. CCTV held the title for fastest growing
for a time but temporarily relinquished it to Integrated Systems, which
includes Automation, Access Control and AV distribution. However, I won’t
discount the potential of our new Navigator product to help our Panels and
Peripherals division recapture the title of the biggest division or indeed,
Nesstronics Contract Manufacture to take the title for the fastest growing.

It’s still
relatively early days for APCS but the division is a solid performer. All it
needs is a star product to shine and this is on the drawing boards. Then of
course, there’s iCentral and Valet with premium offerings in Central Vacs and
music / video Intercoms. With these divisions headed by Larry (Yes that Larry or should I say THE Larry) …
well, we all know who he’d be backing, even if only for the individual title of
“Most Dynamic”!

Does this sound
like internal competition? I say, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly
rivalry. In any case, Ness Corporation is the overall winner and our customers
are the beneficiaries.

JA: Ness is one
of the oldest and most respected names in Australia’s electronic security
industry and it has a loyal pool of customers. What would you like to say to Ness
Corporation clients?

NC: That’s easy.
Firstly, I’d like to convey my sincere gratitude to our customers their
loyalty, particularly through the difficult times. Secondly, I’d like to communicate
to them my vision of consolidating Ness Corporation into their total solutions
provider. Ness Corporation’s success is inexorably tied to that of our
customers and my desire is to collaborate closely with them so that we may grow
our businesses together.

“Ness
Corporation’s success is inexorably tied to that of our customers and my desire
is to collaborate closely with them so that we may grow our businesses together”

Naz Circosta