First impressions of Trade Services the Kiwi way

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New Zealand landscape

Last week Steve Hirst and I returned from a 2 week trip visiting clients happy to share their simPRO story with the world. We visited Auckland, Hawera, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Timaru and a few in between. The scenery lived up to expectations, the weather, supposedly freezing, didn’t.

A couple of things I wasn’t expecting...

Firstly, the sheep - they're so fat! I grew up on a sheep station in Australia. Maybe they just have an extra layer to keep out the cold but the New Zealand sheep looked like something out of a cartoon.

Secondly, the scenery, also out of this world.

And third, the All Blacks are bigger deal than I realised. In Australia sometimes you’ll see an Australian flag flown in a front yard to show patriotism for the country, over there instead they fly the All Blacks flag. The once-every-four-years world cup was on while we were there which would explain the tangible presence of the All Blacks pride everywhere. That sure was an exciting game and a well deserved win.

Team and culture

In business, what became apparent quite quickly was the emphasis on team and culture. Dalton Electrical was the first stop. Bruce (the owner) shared with us his eagerness to get each of his staff along to Outward Bound to instill resilience and improved interpersonal communication.

“It fosters a team culture so if someone is at a job at 1am in the morning and they need a hand, they can call on a colleague to pull themselves out of bed to help. There’s always beer in the fridge on Fridays and a lot of us are mates outside of work as well.” Bruce Dalton

It's no surprise then that the Daltons team continue to take out award after award. More on that in a future post.

Daltons team. Hard at play.
Daltons team. Hard at play.

At Excel Refrigeration every staff member at head office has a stand-up desk. Not because they asked for it, but because of the recent press surrounding the perils of sitting all day. Steve (the owner) also insisted everyone has the best gear. Field staff all have the latest iPhones, iPads, simPRO Connect and whatever else they need. They even have their own internal eCommerce site where staff can purchase whatever gear is required. That’s empowerment.

The lifestyle

Just about everyone we interviewed enjoyed some football, snowboarding, mountain bike riding or similar on the weekend. It appears those Kiwis have this whole work/life balance thing taken care of.

The result is a work-hard, play-hard attitude. Never before have I seen a better example of someone giving just about everything and anything a go than Damon Odey of Parr & Co. He saw an opportunity to run for Mayor of Timaru, and took it. Another interview we're sure you'll enjoy.

Myself and Damon Odey (Mayor of Timaru, New Zealand)
Myself and Damon Odey (Mayor of Timaru, New Zealand)

The hospitality was exceptional everywhere we went. A special thanks to Lindsay of Allied Alarms (another award nominee) and wife Annette for sharing some fine dining with us in Timaru.

Software implementation

A common theme I've heard in the past and continues to appear is the need for a simPRO Champion. It’s something we at simPRO highly recommend. Donna Hoyle at Excel threw herself into 12 months of rolling out simPRO into 11 branches across the 2 islands. It was a demanding time but the company is now enjoying the new structure and financial and operational control.

Those who didn’t dedicate a resource to the the role wish they had and realise they need to now in order to move forward to make the most of the software.

Next leg of The Journey

Over the coming months a new Journey website will also bring with it the fruits of our trip in New Zealand and a whole lot more.

There’s a lot to be learned from our Kiwi friends as we're sure there will be from all over the globe as simPRO continues its international growth.