Optimising Price, Product and Performance

HK Joinery Design

HK Joinery Design began as Homestead Kitchens and Joinery in 1980 when it was founded by Geoff White as a two man business operating out of a small shed space. After two years, the company moved to a larger location to provide its renovation services, custom designed projects and joinery work.

In 1991, Geoff’s brother Fred came to help out and they have been partners ever since. Fred has a very personal interest in the viability and success of manufacturing in Australia. As the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Furniture Industry Association of Australia, he also has a strong interest in establishing a fair playing field in which business transactions can take place.

In 1995, the brothers built a new location in Tuggerah. The company still operates from this location today as it continues to grow and add employees.

Throughout its thirty-four years in the business, HK Joinery Design has never experienced flat growth. When asked how HK Joinery Design is able to maintain this consistent growth and strength in the market, Fred White attributes it to a combination of the company’s strong work ethic, its hard work, its philosophy, its team and its ability to engage and embrace technology.

HK Joinery Design operates on the philosophy of, “the ‘Triple P’: price, product and performance.” It is its goal to competitively price its world class products and services in the marketplace.

In-house, HK Joinery Design is always looking for the latest innovations in design, technology and machinery, such as computer time tracking and workshop management software to ensure that the business is continuously innovating. The company employs computer aided technology to complete production drawings; operate the machinery to cut, bore and machine products; complete ordering, manage stock control and even delivery schedules.

By engaging new technologies, HK Joinery has been made more effective and efficient in day to day operations. The philosophy has allowed it to find ways to optimise investments and increase efficiency and quality standards and output with regards to its premium products and top of the line customer service, as well as its commitment to the nation in which it does business.

HK Joinery is committed to using Australian supplied products, wherever possible, in the joinery items it produces which puts it in “a position of integrity on jobs” as “commercial builders employ us because they know that our product will stand up to the standards expected by the clients.”

HK Joinery Design is forward thinking in all that it does. In order to stay ahead of the trends, besides sourcing the best local resources possible, the company regularly sends representatives to trade shows in Europe and other locations overseas. This allows its staff to stay informed and educated on the latest innovations in design and machinery on the market.

It is because of its proven commitment to quality and excellence, and proactive efforts to stay ahead of industry trends, that HK Joinery Design has been selected to work on a vast number of projects. The company, in partnership with Hansen Yuncken, worked to complete the joinery for the Raymond Terrace, HealthOne integrated health centre. As well, it has been selected to complete the fit-out for student accommodations at Newcastle University. The job will require its services on 778 bedrooms and 335 apartments.

HK Joinery Design sets its own standards when it comes to quality and in doing so it uses a highly skilled and loyal workforce. It has enjoyed a very low turnover of staff and will often employ individuals who will grow with the company as they learn new processes and develop a true understanding of what the company is trying to achieve.

Skilled labour is hard to find in its industry, and the company believes that the best way to ensure skill levels and quality standards are met is to use its own training methods and approaches to ensure individuals with the right mindset and attitude obtain the necessary competencies.

Though the company does employ junior apprentices, over the past decade, there has been a focus on investing in unschooled adults to become skilled workers in the industry. Through these apprenticeships, it has helped train close to ten people to be trade qualified through on the job competency based training. This creates what is likely to become a very loyal, long-time employee, as a direct result of being given an opportunity not previously offered to them in their lifetime.

Major industry challenges, such as dealing with an unskilled workforce, need to be addressed at the government level, especially considering high rates of unemployment. White would like to see an increased government commitment to skill idle labour to be utilised in growing industries, like his.

Another issue being faced by the industry is to do with government procurement policies that do not give proper consideration to products that are manufactured within the country. Domestic products meet or exceed the required standards of manufacturing, whereas outsourced products from overseas may not be compliant to Australian standards.

If the government was to invest time and resources to these two areas of focus – skilling the national workforce that is sitting idle, as well as improving procurement policies in support of locally produced, locally sourced products – while enforcing standards of quality, Australia could see great economic benefits.

In improving its procurement policies, governments could ensure that taxpayers’ money is being spent as effectively as possible on government jobs, levelling the playing field for companies like HK Joinery Design and others, which are supporting its local and national economies.

HK Joinery Design has not allowed the industry challenges to stand in its way of growth. Currently, White has made efforts to identify like-minded companies with which it can cluster resources, to more effectively and efficiently utilise resources industry wide.

By clustering resources with certain companies who are under-utilising investments, these arrangements have allowed for products to be produced more efficiently, helping them get to site faster and increasing the ability to manage jobs more effectively, allowing HK Joinery Design and partners to achieve bigger jobs and industry wide growth, with individual and collective benefits.

Clustering resources has proven to be a sound economic decision and a win-win for companies on both sides of these arrangements. Partners are able to maintain a strong, steady workforce that is being fully utilised, while maximising resources and managing bigger contracts, enjoying success in the process – feats that would not have been achieved individually.

Whether it is its tight quality control, its emphasis on price, products and performance, its commitment to continued excellence and innovation or the shared efforts to improve the industry and strengthen the local and national economy, HK Joinery Design is world-class in all that it does, ensuring it gets the jobs done in a timely manner and to client specifications.

From inception, it has not been afraid to put in the hard work that success requires, giving Fred White every reason to be, “very proud that we have been able to maintain a business for all these years – thirty-four years employing local people, using Australian made products to produce our joinery items and being able to service a healthy local market.”

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 25, 2018, 8:18 AM AEST