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Significant growth for Christchurch manufacturer

Significant growth puts Christchurch manufacturer on both sides of the fence


With sales doubling in the past three years, Christchurch company Warner Fences has run out of space at its manufacturing plant and has had to double its size with an extension, which was officially opened today (Tuesday) by the Prime Minister.

Over the past seven years, the company’s turnover has increased three-fold - with sales in the past three years doubling. And the company’s owners are not stopping there, aiming for turnover to be three times what it is now within the next eight to 10 years.

To cope with the demand, it has extended its plant and has imported from Australia a new 125 metre automated powder coating conveyor system, custom-designed for powder coating fences and gates. It is the only one of its type in the South Island and Warners is the only fencing manufacturer in New Zealand using this system.

When Tim and Mandy Austin (above) bought the business eight years ago, it used external contractors to manufacture its fence and gate products and sold them through a network of retail franchises.

They bought a building and set about establishing their own manufacturing plant, drawing on Tim’s previous experience as chief executive of Versatile Buildings in Australia.

“Back then my vision was to create a highly efficient and high-quality manufacturing facility specifically for fences and gates. But I wanted to offer a service almost as much as a product, by having a facility that could produce custom-made fences and gates.

“People want choice - be it height, width, style or colour - and, most importantly, they want individuality. In England, you get the terraced houses which all look the same with a front garden that looks the same and a fence that looks the same as the one next door.

“New Zealanders don’t necessarily want that, and that’s Warner Fencing’s point of difference. We can make a huge variety of walls, fence and gate designs, and now we have an app that allows our salespeople to show customers what the design elements will look like on their property.”

Tim says a key contributor to the company’s growth has been its commitment to innovation.

“We are constantly working on new products such as weatherboard-style gates made from aluminium, and tongue and groove gates made from aluminium which we powder coat from a range of colour choices. Another example is our new Warner Wall which we’ve developed over the past 12 months.

“Made of an aluminium skin over a honeycomb inner, the wall is very light but also very strong. It’s similar to the technology used on Scott Dixon’s racing car which protected him during his recent crash in the United States. When the wall is powder coated with a textured finish it looks similar to a concrete wall, but is about half the price.”

Warner’s plant extension in Wigram was opened today (Tuesday) by the Prime Minister Hon. Bill English at a function attended by staff and clients.

ENDS

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