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Port Hedland small business, AIE, on growth path after joining BHPs Local Buying Program

AIE is a small business based in Port Hedland, which specialises in Asset Integrity Engineering – namely the inspection and testing of concrete in industrial settings.

In 2018, AIE were looking for new opportunities to expand the business when they discovered BHP’s Local Buying Program. The program makes it easier to identify and bid for work opportunities with BHP and includes a streamlined onboarding, procurement and payment process that includes 21-day payment terms or less.

In the two years they have been part of the program, they have sourced 56 separate work orders, and according to AIE Owner, Kale Billet, the program has made it easier to identify and win work in Port Hedland and the Pilbara.

“The Local Buying Program has created many opportunities for our business. In the two years we have worked through the program we have sourced 56 work orders. Work has included concrete condition audits on critical infrastructure, and project management of stacker, reclaimer and shiploader rail systems.”

Kale said The Local Buying Program has enabled AIE to grow from a company of three people to a company of 10 in just two years.

“Continued support from BHP and C-Res has helped our business grow to 10 people since our first contract with the Local Buying Program and we now have people based in Port Hedland, Perth and Newcastle.”

AIE is part of  the Port Hedland WEB business hub,  a BHP-funded centre which is creating opportunities for small businesses to collaborate, including a partnership between AIE and Tan Ninety.

BHP has used Tan Ninety’s 1TASK software to help frontline teams work more productively, collaboratively and safer.

“We just used Tan Ninety’s 1TASK software to complete an audit of 900 ladders across both BHP port sites – capturing data live in the field, removing any need for paper based reporting. It was sensational - the data was instantly available for our team and the client to review as work progressed,” explained Kale.

Kale has big plans for AIE, and hopes the business can continue the growth journey it has been on these past two years.

“Our ultimate goal is to build a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy in Port Hedland and a steady stream of work from BHP will help us achieve that goal.”

BHP has spent more than $500 million with over 1,450 local businesses across Australia since The Local Buying Program was launched in 2012.

The Local Buying Program helps to keep jobs, businesses and families in regional communities, contributing to the longevity and vibrancy of the towns that are home to our operations. 

The Program exists in partnership between BHP and C-Res. It has operated successfully in Queensland since 2012, in New South Wales since 2016, and in South Australia and Western Australia from 2017.

To read more about the Local Buying Program click here.