FAITH IN THE JOB
Business: Workplace chapel helps staff harmony
A GLENDENNING manufacturing business, a global leader in its industry, has adopted a novel way to ensure workplace harmony and, ultimately, improved quality and productivity.
Workplace and storage equipment business BAC Systems has a chapel on site, and owner Walter Bachmann encourages staff to use it for reflection and prayer. The daily monastic hour has “transformed” staff , he says.
GLENDENNING company BAC Systems is one of the brightest lights in Australian and global manufacturing, and the adoption of a monastic hour at work makes it one of the most intriguing.
While founder Walter Bachmann is proud of the achievements of BAC Systems, which showed its workplace and storage equipment for the 36th consecutive time at National Manufacturing Week last week, he is also proud of the Catholic chapel in BAC’s offices where up to 35 employees pray every day.
“I think it’s a terrific concept, the monastic concept,’’ Mr Bachmann said.
“Instead of having a full monastery we have a little monastic break here every day.”
Mr Bachmann moved from Switzerland to Australia in 1977, when he was 27.
During the four-month transit by bus and boat across the world, he drew the initial designs for workshop storage applications.
He opened a shop in Artarmon with 50sq m of floor space.
Now BAC Systems is a global leader in modular storage systems.
Since 1987 it has operated out of a 11,000sq m factory in Glendenning where 75 people are employed.
Not long after BAC moved to Glendenning, Mr Bachmann, a devout Catholic, started using his office to pray the Rosary and was soon joined by a second man.
Mr Bachmann then invited others at the workplace to join if they wished.
After the group slowly grew he dedicated a space off the factory floor to daily prayer, and invited a priest to conduct Mass on Fridays.
Mr Bachmann said the priest suggested asking Parramatta Archdiocese if he could have a formal chapel.
Now 20 to 30 employees pray every day, with up to 35 attending mass on Fridays.
“It has transformed the staff members,” Mr Bachmann said.
“It’s beautiful even for the people who don’t come.’’
He said the workplace was harmonious as a result.
BAC Systems sells its storage systems to universities and large companies such as Caterpillar, as well as to oil and gas companies in Kuwait, Dubai and the US.
“If you don’t innovate you are going to die off today,’’ Mr Bachmann said about the secret to the company’s success in a tough industry.
It has transformed the staff members; it’s beautiful even for the people who don’t come Walter Bachmann
Walter Bachmann in the BAC Systems chapel and ( inset) staff attending Mass in the chapel and working on the factory floor.