WINNING FORMULA FOR GREENKEEPING

Recreational Turf had modest
start in 1992 says its founder, Brett Turner, when he won the contract to service the Takapuna Golf Course.
The former greenkeeper had worked there and knew the golf course. But it wasn’t until he won the tender to look after the North Shore outlying sports fields in his second year, that things began to fire up. “The beauty was we had most of the resources in-house, and we needed to utilise that machinery.”
His sister and brother-in-law – both accountants – joined Turner and his wife as directors, and the company instituted management systems which, according to the judges, put them in the winners’ circle for the excellent service award.
“We’ve always been process oriented. We put good systems in place early on because we believed it was better to have them working while we were small and growing, rather than waiting until we were larger.
“It was part of realising we wanted to get it right at the beginning. We’re always looking for improvements, though,” he adds.
Two years ago they won the contract to partner with the Auckland City Council for the care of its recreational fields, and today they manage total of 160 fields for the North Shore and Auckland councils. This includes looking after the field bookings, the greens, planting and rubbish.
They recently won the Eden Park contract, although, says Turner, they had been doing the work for while.
The key for Turner is the partnering concept.
“It means everyone knows what they’re trying to achieve and you’re all working towards that goal.”
Sure he says, things break down at times, but things can always be improved.
In the long term, Turner hopes the benefits of the systems and procedures will be realised by selling them – not necessarily as full franchise, but maybe to employees.

camsensor

How to spot rejects on the
production line has been the starting point for many an innovative idea.
One idea that’s proving winner in spotting rejects, also won two awards; one for the best emerging business and one for excellence in innovation.
Camsensor makes camera system that views products as they move along conveyor line. The camera takes digital image of each product moving along the production line, and, according to the information encoded inside it, decides whether it’s flawed, and should be rejected at the end of the line.
From beer bottles speeding past at 15 per second, or aluminium cans racing past at 20 per second, it can see if label is stuck on, and whether it’s in the right place.
Or it may be cheese slices, where it will pick up the sight of any foreign matter, and alert the gate at the end of the conveyor system to take the product off the line.
The project got off the ground three years ago, says director Pete Bethune, when two engineers came to him with the idea for using video cameras with chip and processor technologies. After trialling the system and realising its potential, they put together business plan to get the business under way.
“Three of us carried on in our own day jobs and spent the evenings and weekends getting started.”
The idea was to get their cameras into the export areas such as meat, dairy and timber, where New Zealand is internationally competitive.
The company runs virtual office, with most of the six engineers working from their homes, and using technology to communicate and talk through their projects. Developing projects is an iterative process. Says Bethune: “We take images, send those images to the engineer who writes the software code that detects the flaws. They then send it back for downloading on site, testing, and adjusting.”
To grow their customer base, Bethune says they’ve worked closely with the suppliers of their key targets.
“We found lot of innovation came from those suppliers – in meat companies for instance, the packaging companies have lot of innovative ideas. So we talk to them and the company’s engineers.”
While Bethune feels like an evangelist for the cause of Camsensor, he believes its riding the wave of growing awareness of the benefits of imaging technology.

The Bruce Mason Centre

The marketing award went to The Bruce Mason Centre for its
innovation and adaptability. Since it opened in 1996, the Centre has become valuable attribute to the North Shore as popular venue for the performing arts, conferences, conventions, meetings and awards ceremonies.
As well as being function venue, the Centre now sources and brings to New Zealand many national acts such as the highly acclaimed Georgian State Dance Company. It has become the focus of many events not just for North Shore people, but around the Auckland area.

New Dawn Partnership

The New Dawn Partnership runs
educational programmes for North Shore residents over 21 who have multiple disabilities. For helping develop the skills and assimilating these people into the community, New Dawn won the community contribution award.
The Partnership began six years ago when group of parents of young people from the Wairau Valley special school wondered how they could cater for their children when they reached 21. (The Education Department stops providing special education after 21 years.)
While 60 percent of their funding comes from Work and Income, the remainder is sought from community projects.
“Our programmes focus on involved learning about specific subjects, for instance if we’re teaching the subject of flight – we’d visit airports and museums, and involve people in the community,” says CEO Andrew Kaye. “Each person has special programme and goals they’re aiming for.”
While there are similar programmes in the South Island and Wellington, New Dawn is unique to this area.

Barringtons

Albany-based Barringtons Fine Food
won the award for managing and developing people.
Barrington’s plays supporting role to many of Auckland’s prominent businesses by providing catering services to the corporate sector in the CBD and the North Shore.
The company stood out as good manager because of its workplace practices, which include employees helping prepare business plans, solving problems and setting standards.

High times for HiWay

The excellence in technology
award was won by HiWay Stabilisers.
Director Paul Boocock says it was especially welcome because technology these days usually means high tech, so it was good to see roading expertise being recognised as technology.
HiWay Stabilisers was founded by Paul’s father 15 years ago, and has become leader in constructing and stabilising pavement and soils.
The company’s projects include the roading network and embankment around the stands at North Harbour Stadium, most of the roading in the Albany basin, including the new State Highway leading to Orewa.
“The most rewarding part of the award is that we’re from an industry that’s relatively low tech, and probably seen as bit ?fly by the seat of your pants’.
“But our development and commitment to adopting strong technology element has been part of our success. So that’s pretty neat.
“Our clients want cost effectiveness, longevity, environ-mental responsibility and safety. And in today’s competitive market I don’t believe you can offer that level of service to clients without being credible.”
The company is currently pricing work in the Pacific, and undertaking contracts in Fiji.

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