Sponsored by Vodafone Business
Local businesses are booming in the BOP and creating a better environment in which to live, work and play. Innovative companies are creating new opportunities in the region – this is being further stimulated with great connectivity technology. Trimax Mowers is one such business benefiting from Vodafone’s increased investment into the region.
Trimax is based in Tauranga. Originating in the Bay of Plenty in the 1980’s, the business was originally developed for the booming New Zealand Kiwifruit industry.
During the 1970’s New Zealand kiwifruit boom the Bay of Plenty underwent a complete transformation. Large areas of pasture became orchards almost overnight and numerous businesses competed to service the new industry.
A real ‘Kiwi business takes on the world’ success story
It was during this time Trimax founder Bob Sievwright innovated the Gamma Flail™, a new type of flail for mulchers which were an outstanding success.
The Trimax ProCut was later developed, along with a range of rotary mowers for various turf applications. This founded a new era for Trimax and the company began exporting in 1985. Demand grew from groundsmen and turf managers who had heard of the mowers’ reputation for durability, quality of cut and low maintenance.
Today the company designs and manufactures a wide range of rotary and flail equipment, which has become the benchmark worldwide, from England’s Windsor Castle to US PGA Championship courses.
Now the business is a global player servicing Australia, UK, EU and US markets – all from a hub in Tauranga. Half of the team of 140 is based in the Bay of Plenty, with the rest overseas and spread across New Zealand. Establishing efficient communication across the organisation’s widespread structure offers both challenges, and opportunities to shine.
According to Trimax CEO Michael Sievwright, the challenges of doing business in the Covid environment in the last couple of years have meant finding new efficient ways to communicate within the company. “We have a strong market in New Zealand, but a lot of our development is focused overseas,” he said.
“Our local team concentrates in particular on finance, strategy, administration and engineering.”
With manufacturing and distribution arms in different countries on different continents, travel and communications have been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. From Michael Sievwright’s perspective, this is all the more reason to focus on strong client interactions.
“Export businesses have to adapt,” he says. “And we have to remain customer focused.”
He says video calls have become a normal part of business. “We have to be able to have good connections without awkward lags, not just when you’re on fibre, but also when you’re away from the office as well.”
“We now often make sales presentations remotely, whereas once we would have had our team in the market. Some of those habits will probably carry on ‘post-Covid’, if there is such a thing as ‘post-Covid’,” he quips.
“These new ‘habits’ require good connections, good internet and good quality systems driving them in the background. The tools available now make it possible.”
Asked about what makes the Bay such a good place to do business, Michael is enthusiastic: “Although I’m from Tauranga, I’ve lived and worked around the world – US, UK, Auckland.
“We have the best port in the country, great export businesses and small businesses we can all learn from – it’s a great ecosystem.
“As far as lifestyles are concerned, the Bay offers a lot of diversity; In our team we’ve got people who love the beach and others who love having space around them; Some like a city feel, but not too big a city. But there’s more to Tauranga than the beach,” he points out.
This has seen Trimax attract people with a diverse range of skill sets to their team. These skill sets have enabled the business to grow and deliver globally.
From a logistics perspective, proximity to the port has been a real advantage for Trimax’s export container shipments.
And when it comes to real-world product testing, how refreshing to be able to do trials on a horticultural block 10 minutes from the headquarters. “Having grown to a global entity, it’s great to still be able to go back to our roots on a Kiwifruit block in the Bay after 40 years,” says Michael.
Trimax’s success is increasingly empowered by the connectivity solutions Vodafone supplies.
Vodafone’s technology providing real stimulus
Vodafone is helping the BOP region to thrive via remarkable technology. In February 2021, Vodafone announced a turbocharged network investment program, spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually to better connect Aotearoa. This included building or upgrading 800 cell sites nationally, in addition to adding more than 200 cell sites being built by the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) over the coming 2-3 years.
Despite navigating the challenges of Covid-19 and additional health and safety measures, Vodafone upgraded 38 mobile cell sites and built 14 new cell sites across the region in 2021 in addition to eight new Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) sites. This has improved the critical digital services that keep people connected so they can work, learn and play remotely.
Vodafone first switched on 5G technology at the Mount in March bringing the latest generation mobile network tech to BOP – and now, after more investment in the BOP region, independent testing shows Vodafone offers customers the best mobile network in the BOP region.
Vodafone scored highest on mobile data performance and voice call quality. The audit report conducted by the global leader in mobile benchmarking umlaut in November 2021.
According to umlaut’s independent testing Vodafone has the best mobile network in the Bay of Plenty region, scoring 700 points out of 1000 overall. The Vodafone network is more than three times faster than any other mobile operator in the Bay, meaning Vodafone customers get the fastest mobile downloads.
The network improvements enable businesses to do what they do best, faster and more reliably, from any location. This allows them to focus on doing business and driving profits.
A robust network also means staff can work from anywhere, enabling a better work-life balance for those who want to work from home or from a bach while on holiday.
To learn more about Vodafone’s 5G network head to www.vodafone.co.nz/5g/