From 1989 to now: Q&A with Sandfield’s original software developer | Sandfield

05 August 2019

We’ve just celebrated our 30th anniversary at Sandfield and two of the three original team members are still waving the Sandfield flag today. Bruce Copeland, our MD and Brent Tyler-Davies, Solution Manager, have witnessed incredible changes in technology in the last 30 years and are still breaking ground, adding value, and having fun.

In honour of being “Bruce’s first hire”, we asked Brent about his three decades at Sandfield. Here’s what he had to say:


When you think back to year 1, what stands out?

After writing a container control system for Pacific Forum Line, I got to go to Wellington, Lyttleton, and Dunedin to train the Stevedores on using it. It was a very busy year as we started taking on new customers.


Biggest personal career highlight? What are you personally most proud of?

Over thirty years I don’t think there is a single biggest highlight, but quite a number:

  • Designing and writing core frameworks for our EDI and Accounting products. Designs which are still in use today.
  • Writing and implementing systems for Mainfreight, Pacific Forum Line and “K” Line.
  • Writing a suite for conducting benchmarking for Mainfreight. Running tests on servers in Sydney.
  • Being involved in the design of the Australian Customs messaging.
  • Implementing On Account in Chicago, and the big weekend migrating the data.
  • Overcoming technical challenges for printing forms and barcodes.
  • Building a web server and web service from scratch to enable our web applications to talk to our Reality Shipping System.
  • The impact our systems make for our customers.

Same question as above, but for Sandfield, rather than you personally

The relationship that we have with our customers, that we have long-lasting relationships and the opportunities they have provided us and that we have provided them.


What was your best day at work?

Most days are my best days at work. I don’t think there has been one better than any other. As we still break new ground and make new achievements. There have been many all-nighters, ensuring work gets completed and delivered.


Biggest fail?

I do not believe we have had a failing. When implementing Austrak in Australia for Mainfreight we were relying on the performance of the local and international networks to run the servers from NZ. Which weren’t performing, so I ended up flying with the servers over to Melbourne. And when I saw the big server boxes come bouncing down the luggage carousals I was nervous. Fortunately, they were not damaged and turned on perfectly. We had run several tests to try and measure the performance, but nothing is like live usage.


What next for Sandfield?

Over the last 30 years, there have been many evolutions of technology, it will be interesting to see what is on the horizon.


Does Sandfield have a formula for success (that you’re prepared to share)?

Good people and good customers. People that go the extra distance to ensure that we exceed our customers' expectations.

Brent in 1989

Brent, and his daughter, in 2019

Related Articles


Should I leave now? We look at Auckland traffic data

26 June 2018

Auckland traffic has always been a hot topic in NZ. There are regular news articles about the woes of Auckland drivers as they face increasingly congested motorways, and it’s...

Read more 

Case Study

Lassoo: the ‘In-trip’ booking platform that’s changing the travel...

27 August 2019

Tour operators such as car and campervan rental agencies and tour bus/rail operators spend a great deal of time organising ad hoc itineraries and booking activities on behalf of their...

Read more 


Event organisers: Apps to enhance your customer experience

06 March 2018

You may think of phone apps as small and focussed utilities that we use on a frequent basis for simple tasks for short periods of time. A news app is tapped each day to check up...

Read more