Based in Sydney, Beehive Industries supports seniors, long-term unemployed and people living with disability by creating a socially-inclusive place for them to take part in social activities and volunteering. Beehive operates a successful and competitive packaging assembly and mail house service, providing timely and cost-effective services to a range of customers from the corporate, government, and not-for-profit sectors. Beehive also operates a leisure centre, learning centre, and art recreation activities as well as running a full commercial kitchen and dining room where it provides free breakfast, morning tea, and lunch to its service users each day.
The commercial enterprise funds Beehive’s support services that aim to beat the isolation faced by seniors, long-term unemployed and those living with a disability.
To run its mail house services, Beehive had to use local print shops to print out flysheets, letterheads, and so on. This external cost meant profit margins were negligible, making it harder for Beehive to raise the money it needed to support its service users.
Beehive currently receives modest funding that covers only a fraction of the team’s costs. The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme meant Beehive would lose a significant portion of its recurrent funding, making it difficult to continue providing services.
Brendan Lonergan, CEO, Beehive Industries, said, “Faced with such a substantial loss in recurrent funding, there are generally two options: cut services and support fewer people in need; or expand revenues to continue to support as many people as possible. Obviously, Beehive preferred to expand revenues.”
Beehive intended to launch a program called Beehive2Work, which would expand the commercial services it offered and provide employment opportunities for the people it supports.
However, Beehive had no printing equipment in-house and no budget to purchase state-of-the-art equipment. This severely limited Beehive’s ability to add value to customers and explore new revenue opportunities. With all profits going back to provide services and support to Beehive’s service users, the team needed to find a way to improve margins and efficiency.
At a chance meeting with Konica Minolta CEO Dr David Cooke, Brendan Lonergan outlined the issues Beehive faced.
Brendan Lonergan said, “We’re looking after more than 200 seniors, people with disabilities or long-term unemployed. The bulk of the money for the services we provide comes from running the commercial business. Dr David Cooke asked how Konica Minolta could help; it was clear that printing and document scanning equipment would be ideal to help us expand our commercial services and improve our margins.”
Konica Minolta immediately began sourcing ex-lease equipment that could be put to work at Beehive, donating a bizhub C654 including booklet finishing technology for Beehive’s in-house printing requirements. Konica Minolta’s partner, ACA Pacific, also donated a Kodak i4600 scanner and associated training and implementation. Konica Minolta also donated furniture, computer equipment, shelving units, and more.
Beehive Industries received ex-lease equipment that was in as-new condition, which has let it launch its Beehive2Work program successfully.
Brendan Lonergan said, “The equipment was so well refurbished that when the Konica Minolta technician arrived to do the install, he initially thought it was a brand new machine.
“This incredibly smart piece of equipment has delivered two key benefits. First, we can now offer printing services to our customers, which also means we can make a small margin on the printing. Even at a few cents a page, it
soon adds up over thousands of pages and helps cover our funding needs.
“The second key benefit is that we’re now a lot more useful to our customers and potential customers. We’re no longer asking them to do their own printing or incurring costs at a local print shop. Instead, we simply ask them to send us their data files and we can do the rest. That makes us more competitive and a more realistic alternative to traditional print shops.
“We can print everything from membership stickers to flysheets for magazine mail-outs. This has created new lines of business and more work for the business. That means more cash flow as well as more activity for our people to do.”
Beehive’s service users are socially and economically disadvantaged. The Beehive2Work program gives them a place to go and work to do. It also provides training opportunities that can translate into longer-term employment in private businesses.
Brendan Lonergan said, “What Konica Minolta has contributed to Beehive Industries is a lot more than just equipment. It’s opened up new opportunities for us and our service users, which is priceless.”