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Stratford member wins ‘Excellence’

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Central Taranaki Automotive took out three of the top awards at the recent TSB Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

MTA member Kevan Old was absolutely delighted. He bought the Stratford business back in 2013 with his wife Wendy, and in 2015 they bought the building it was in. “We started extending, putting in another five bays to bring us to six, which has helped us grow the customer base from 640 to 1,114 and we’re still growing.”
Central Taranaki Automotive won the Small Business Excellence, Trades Excellence and Health and Safety Awards.

“Entering is a big deal. It took us a year of hard work, with the help of my sister Jennie Reed, to put together all the processes and paperwork we needed to show how we operate.” Kevan says entering the TSB Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards has really helped develop his business.

“We first entered in 2015 and won the Small Business Excellence Award, and Environmental Sustainability Award. We were also commended for Service Excellence, and Health and Safety Excellence. It was a great experience and we learned a lot from it. We decided we would enter again in a few years and over that time we really focused on the business and what we wanted to achieve. Knowing what the judges look for helped us with our planning.” The couple, and Jennie, needed to prepare the business by setting goals, preparing financial information, and supplying staff contracts, their marketing plan, job processes and other documentation for judging. “Our three staff were very supportive and we couldn’t have done it without them.” Kevan is particularly proud to have taken out the award for Health and Safety Excellence – beating off much bigger companies, including one with 250 staff and dedicated health and safety advisors.

“My sister Jennie has provided us with a huge amount of help to develop our various policies and procedures over the past few years. After our success in 2015, we’ve had other auto companies come in for a look and she’s provided them with ideas as well.” He says former MTA advisor Felicity Wilson also contributed to their environment and health and safety systems.

Judges in the various award categories praised Central Taranaki Automotive for their planning, team building, vision, financial performance, customer service, and commitment to the business. In the health and safety award, the judge’s comments included a note about how Kevan and Wendy showed they cared for their workers by providing flu injections, warm clothing for winter, even paying for dental care for one staff member. “These examples illustrate a genuine concern for worker health and are beyond those of much larger organisations,” said the judges.

They also praised the way the couple ‘lead’ rather than ‘manage’ their staff to make safety improvements. “This gives the staff ownership of the ideas and changes they implement.” MTA Chief Executive Craig Pomare has congratulated Kevan and Wendy, saying they’ve set a great example for other members to aspire to.