Looking to the Future

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-By Aleisha Parr

In difficult times such as these, where the Australian weather has taken its toll on major areas of the country, the result has been prolonged drought situations throughout major regions and severe Government instituted water restrictions. More than just a short term solution, reliable and lasting water solution systems are essential to helping Australians make the most of their own high quality water sources in a sustainable way. With the slogan, “water solutions for life”, Team Poly offers just that: affordable, durable and innovative water solutions to last a lifetime, helping bring one of Australia’s most precious natural resource to its people.

Says Bob Hill, National Sales and Marketing Manager of Team Poly, “The product we bring is from Australia, it’s manufactured in Australia and it’s delivered back to the people of Australia. We’re very happy that we’re not combating with imports from other countries; this is a true Australian product, catching Australian rainwater and using it to go back to the people who deserve it.”

At the moment, the water tank industry in Australia is fairly flat, despite the constant pressure for more lasting water solutions and infrastructure nation-wide. Like many other savvy businesses, Team Poly is choosing to take advantage of this downtime to invest in its operations and capabilities, building a sustainable business to meet the demands of the future.

Explains Mr Hill, “Rainwater collection in Australia is part of its heritage; people have been collecting rainwater since the day the first ships arrived and it’s not going away in the future. We’ll be seeing more and more demand as we become more conservative in our water usage. Inevitably, like any other utility, the cost of water will rise going forward, and it will become more important for people to become a little more self-sufficient in the collection of water. We’ve decided at this point in time to invest in the future rather than sit back and lick our wounds a little with the market the way it is.”

In essence, Team Poly’s role in this is in creating rotational moulds, with a vast array of large rural tanks, smaller urban tanks, cartage tanks of all types and functions, livestock troughs and a variety of water tank accessories and pumps. The company is a wholly owned Australian organisation, a subsidiary of Hills Holdings, with all of its raw materials produced and utilised locally. Team Poly’s product lines are offered in over seventeen hundred retail outlets throughout the better part of the country. At present, most of Team Poly’s work is focussed in NSW, VIC and SA, though Bob Hill says that the company is eager to extend its reach over the next few years. The difficulty in this, says Mr Hill, is not so much in manufacturing the tank, but rather in delivering the product to the customer, which can be challenging due to the large scale and distances involved.

Therefore, to assist in its growth across Australia, Team Poly has been making significant investments into its capabilities as well as into its logistics. “We have three locations that we manufacture from and at the moment, there is not a specific plan to go beyond that even though we are looking at expanding, says Mr Hill. Instead, the company will focus on enhancing its existing facilities in order to service the nation directly from those three locations. “We’ve put new equipment in to enhance how we manufacture, we’ve put new software in to enhance the logistics of our business and how we would deliver, and the final aspect is we’ve significantly invested in the design of new product.”

Equipment

Team Poly has invested heavily in a recent upgrade of its machinery, including replacements for new state-of-the-art technology. By purchasing its equipment from a Brazilian manufacturer, Team Poly has been able to standardise its machines, ensuring a more consistent quality outcome on every tank produced as well as a much higher level of efficiency.

“This falls in line very much with the policy both of this company and also Hills Holdings, who are our holding company, in the fact that we are dramatically reducing our carbon footprint to do this,” explains Bob Hill. “The new machines are much more efficient, they use less gas, and we can control the temperatures much better, so therefore our utility bills and our carbon footprint has been dramatically reduced. The term ‘carbon footprint’ is something that people are talking quite a lot about right now but even before people were talking about it we were working on bringing that down.”

Logistics

To support these new efficiency measures, Team Poly has also invested in new logistic software which will enhance the distribution efficiency of tanks throughout the company. Not only will the new software provide increased automation to Team Poly’s processes, but it will also have an indirect effect on further reducing the company’s carbon footprint with the increase in efficiency. Says Bob Hill, “We’ll move more tanks onto vessels in a more accurate and cost effective manner [which will] reduce fuel bills and truck schedules. This will enhance delivery and also reduce cost and emissions from vehicles because we’ll be moving them much more efficiently than we have in the past.”

Products

“Designs and tanks have not changed over the years,” says Mr Hill. “As we move forward and we’re looking for more innovative solutions, people are expecting manufacturers to produce very efficient, very cheap products but they don’t want a compromise in quality. People look to manufacturers to come up with environmentally sound proposals and we believe we are at the forefront of the market with all of our actions. So with everything we’re doing, we believe we’re going to bring very high quality products at a very cost efficient price into the market that will allow people to continue to invest in this water saving aspect of life at a more reasonable cost than they’ve been able to do in the past – and with less negative impact on our environment.”

Team Poly is currently in the process of finalising the designs of its new and improved products, which it hopes to launch by the end year. The company has just purchased all new moulds for its products, and is confident in the positive effect its solutions will have on its customers. Says Mr Hill, “By the time the year ends, we will have state of the art manufacturing, state of the art logistics, and very, very high quality, brand new designed tanks on the market.”

Looking to the future, Bob Hill says that the company vision is quite clear: “We had an inefficient manufacturing that we’ve taken care of and our carbon footprint has plummeted, so we’ve done the right thing environmentally. One of the aspects we all know about business is that you go forward and you streamline and you become a lean manufacturer… we’re building the best, most sustainable business we can for the future.”

In an industry primarily supported by Government sponsored rebates, the issue of sustainability is of utmost importance, as the funding well will inevitably begin to run dry as Government looks to other necessary issues. “The Government has done its best to put money on the table to try to get people to buy [our products]. We’re trying to build a business that goes beyond rebates though, because rebates can’t last forever, but the demand for capturing water and saving water both in an urban and a rural basis is not going to go away.”

“We’re very proud of our Australian roots; Hills Holdings is an icon in Australia. And in these tough times, some people are keeping their head down and trying to get through it as best they can; we’re standing pretty tall right now, looking to the future. We’re using this as a time to invest and move forward.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

September 19, 2018, 2:05 PM AEST