Intex Group has provided tools and materials to the New Zealand finishing trades, and especially the drywall trade, for three generations. They’ve been a reliable wholesale business that’s established a stable, long-term clientele accustomed to a high level of expertise and customer service. While some executives might rest upon those laurels, Intex' General Manager, Gerry Suckling, has chosen to take the company to a new level instead.
He’s behind their “Vision 2020” plan, designed to make them #1 in the drywall market by that date. “We’re really focused on providing the ultimate service, backed up with the widest range of products, to the drywall market in New Zealand,” he explained. “Our core purpose is ‘to make drywalling easy and beautiful spaces affordable.’ That’s what every effort, every breath of the company, is aimed at.”
RESULTS’ Head of Strategy, Stephen Lynch, had a hand in helping them articulate Vision 2020. “He cut through the noise and identified our 3-5 year goals very succinctly,” Suckling said.
He sees opportunity in the fact that, right now, it’s 20-30% more expensive to build a house in New Zealand than in Australia. That's largely because of the finishing trades. Suckling says that the higher costs are due to “market dominance by a few of the leading providers.”
Since Intex Group has such an established presence, they’re able to buck that trend. They put a variety of products through trade and government certifications, and found that alternative products and methods actually scored better. Thanks to that, inspectors now pass projects they might not have before.
“Our Core Purpose is to 'make drywalling easy,' so we’re taking a much broader approach, saying, ‘Here’s the system, here’s the products we recommend, but it doesn’t have to be our product.’”
Obviously, in order for Suckling to lead an industry change like this, every employee has to be completely onboard and aware of what the company is trying to accomplish. “Everyone in the company knows, to the detail, what we’re doing,” Suckling said. “There’s no question that RESULTS helped us accomplish that. It is one of the most used programs in the company by a long shot. Even our 5 minute stand-ups are done on the platform so everything is recorded right through.”
He’s using RESULTS to execute Vision 2020, “We’ve got some vigorous growth planned,” he said, “to the point that we’re going to be doing ten times what we’re doing now.” Extreme growth means onboarding new people and getting them aligned quickly. “We’re hiring experts, the top notch in their fields. We’re aiming to catch apprentices as they come out of training schools.
“Critical to Vision 2020 is the right person in the right seat with the right attitude. To get people on board, there has to be transparency, and clarity, and the only way you get that is by sharing detail,” he said. “So, RESULTS is the first program we show them, to get their heads wrapped around the company. Otherwise, it just becomes a lot of in-house manoeuvring and discontent and poor performance.”
Instead, “we show them the strategic plan, which kicks off our core values, and gets everyone on the same page. It gives them a very clear overview. Then they have the assurance to rely upon our system.”
Suckling also makes sure that each employee knows exactly how they contribute to Vision 2020, and that they can prove it. “We try to ensure that we give any new staff, even temporary staff, a meaningful KPI or two that they can work on every week, to make sure they’re part of the All Hands meeting we have every Friday.”
Becoming a manager who would share strategy and data like this took some effort, Suckling said. “It was a big step for myself to share the detail of Vision 2020. For me to let go of the intricate details of our planning was bit of a step. But, as long as you have the confidence, it makes a big difference. We got a lot of positive buy-in from that."
In fact, it’s a difference that RESULTS lets him measure. “In 2016, our first year with RESULTS, we had a vigorous YOY growth target set for ourselves,” Suckling said. “And, with the help of the platform, we exceeded it by 23%.”
This year, it’s all about building and serving their customer base. “The success of any large corporation, if you look at it, is the community,” Suckling said. “Our aim is to have a drywall trade support system that is superior to anything else in New Zealand.”
How’s it going so far? “We can’t keep up at the moment,” Suckling said. “We had a very, very good January.”
"Here at Intex, we firmly believe in one mantra: work smarter, not harder. Our array of drywall tools makes sure that you heed these words in your own workplace."
Cover Image: Clyde Quay Wharf - Wellington NZ: Intex product was used in this project