Busi­ness: Work­place chapel helps staff har­mony

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

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

Pic­tures: Peter Kelly

Wal­ter Bach­mann in the BAC Sys­tems chapel and ( in­set) staff at­tend­ing Mass in the chapel and work­ing on the fac­tory floor.

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