Whangarei maritime industrial company Rudolphs are reaping the benefits of the mentoring and advice they have received from the Regional Business Partnership (RBP) programme.
The RBP is funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation and is delivered by the economic development agency Northland Inc and the Northland Chamber of Commerce.
Rudolphs’ owners Wayne and Caroline Erceg have changed the way they run their business, its structure, as well as developing strategic plans for future growth.
“We’d done a lot of health and safety and industry-specific training, both internally and externally, but it was trying to move some of our senior staff into thinking about the bigger picture as opposed to the day-to-day work that was the challenge,” says Caroline.
“When we signed up for the RBP with Northland Inc, it was initially about training and upskilling our existing staff and; looking at what was available outside the industry to support that process.”
The company sought input and facilitation from Northland Inc to secure services from recognised and proven business mentors to help develop their business structure, governance approach and upskilling staff.
Jaki George-Tunicliffe from ‘Fusion at Work’ worked with the couple and took several of Rudolph’s staff members through their Pro-activate Programme.
“We also worked closely with Ken Wilson (mentor) of ‘Advantage Business’ on exit and succession planning which we started looking into when we joined the RBP three years ago.”
For Rudolphs it was also about instituting better accountability practices, better management, and a better strategic approach for the future and a clear governance structure.
“Over the last three years we have implemented recommendations and appointed an Advisory Board which has been one of the key things we needed to do. It has helped give Wayne and I the confidence to know that we are making sound decisions that are right,” Caroline adds.
The Board also provides a strong framework for the company’s future outlook
The changes made in the last three years, through the RBP, have resulted in good financial results while their Advisory Board is now focused on strategic opportunities.
What was essential for Rudolphs to innovate and grow their business was to shine the spotlight on improving their business processes.
“It was time to develop the culture of our organisation and create pathways to management, and support for our people to really think wider and engage in a more strategic way,” says Caroline.
Changing the way Rudolphs works has them now considering new service-provision products and aspiring to look outside Northland and New Zealand for the opportunity to grow.
“We’ve also built a new 750sqm shed at our Ruakaka site as well as gained the confidence to recruit and appoint a new general manager, Fraser Johns.”
The harbour-based specialists in abrasive blasting and coating are now in the process of becoming Certified Installers of Engineered Composite Wraps; the first NZ-based company to offer this. “It is a method to reinstate integrity to corroded or damaged process-pressurised equipment in high risk industries,” says Caroline.
Rudolphs are now on a clear path to being a leader for the industry in Northland and New Zealand.
Wayne and Caroline have expressed their gratitude to Northland Inc and the Northland Chamber of Commerce for the support to bring in external consultants and provide exposure to mentors which have proven to be exceptionally valuable