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kate de Lautour


Hastings firm Wine Country Sheet Metal and Engineering are proving that a high performing work culture can ramp up business growth. The company, headed by owner Noel Pulford, has been a participant in the High Performance Work Initiative (HPWI) for six months and in that time, three highly skilled jobs have been created, together with new business opportunities.

The initiative has encouraged management to take a hard look at the business and how it could succeed in the current economic climate.

 “Before we started on HPWI we had a good business. We have refocused on our business, to turn it into a great business,” Pulford says.

The recent acquisition of a, state of the art, press brake from the Amada Group in Japan, is adding to the range of services offered by the firm and is the perfect complement to the laser machine, purchased in 2011.

The press brake is a precision machine, which folds and forms sheet metal and plate to a world leading standard and Pulford says it is second to none, for its speed, accuracy and quality.

“It will minimise fabrication and assembly time, which in turn saves money and time for the customer and the fast turnaround gives our clients a competitive edge over their competition.”

The press brake and the laser effectively allows Wine Country to offer a complete wrap-around service,  as most manufacturing procedures require components that are assembled, rather than fabricated, to save cost and time in various ways. In order to do this, the cut material has to be precise, as well as the forming and folding.

“On average 75% of what goes through the laser needs to be formed. The cost-effective laser and press will work as a great team and Hawke’s Bay businesses will certainly notice the benefits quickly.”

Pulford and Wine Country’s component manufacturing manager Brandon Duncan spent a week in Japan training at the Amada manufacturing plant at the base of Mount Fuji, and say they were impressed by the lean manufacturing culture there.

“Businesses in Japan create their own procedures and systems to suit their company. The biggest difference Japan has over New Zealand is the difference in culture. “

The Japanese look at things differently to us, some of which is hard to understand. For example, if something is manufactured incorrectly it is not the employee’s fault , rather the fault has come from a glitch in the company’s system. They study the system and alter it so the problem won’t occur again.”

The Japanese are still at the top of the manufacturing systems’ chain in the world. There is a lot we can learn from them, not only in manufacturing but also in general culture.”


Any company wishing to register their interest for the 2013 HPWI programme should contact Craig Cameron [email protected]   or for more information  www.hbhothouse.co.nz