My 25 Year Anniversary
An Interview with Don Martin
Don Martin purchased Veitch back in 1997 which, at that time, was a well-known and well-respected company in the Stainless Steel fabrication industry. Little did he know that over the next 25-years, the industry would face intense international competition and huge changes in technology. This would lead to Veitch becoming one of the leading and most-trusted brands in the building supplies industry.
To celebrate the 25-year journey, Don shares some of his insights into why he wanted to take on this challenge, what he has changed at Veitch and what he has preserved.
What made you want to purchase Veitch?
Having worked in the industry for 10 years prior, I observed that it was very traditional, lacking structure and transparency. I realised there was an opportunity to stand out in the industry by bringing a professional approach to business and modern work methods. So, when the opportunity to purchase a well-known and well-respected company arose, I jumped at it.
What was the business like when you started?
The company had been previously owned by investors for more than a decade (who were not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business). When I commenced ownership of Veitch, I found that the company had outdated systems, equipment, technology and was in need of attention. The quality of the products was dictated by the skill of the employees which was not going to be a sustainable business model going forward.
The main concern that needed to be addressed was that the business was the same as all its competitors, it was trying to make everything for everyone, without any point of difference. The whole operation needed to change if it was going to meet the expectations of the customers at the time and going forward.
How has the business changed over your 25 years?
The first decision at the start of the journey was to sell exclusively through the Plumbing and Building merchants so that there was a defined customer base that we could work with. We wanted to ensure our customers and their clients were our priority – focusing on us being available to answer their technical and logistical questions, while being totally transparent with them regarding pricing, lead times and relationships with their clients. By doing this, Veitch has become one of the most trusted suppliers in the industry, which is something I am very proud of.
The team and I worked hard to streamline our product range so that we could invest time and money into design and equipment. We wanted to focus on high-quality modular products that could be produced efficiently with short lead times. This is also what we have become known for and, with a greater focus on marketing and product development, has led to an increased market share and value.
At Veitch our employees are very important to us, with most of them having many years of experience. Training and development are very important, and we have implemented a structured employee training program that sees staff learning the base skills, as well as how to use the leading-edge technology.
How has the business stayed the same?
As much as the business has changed, there are three elements that have always remained the same:
- Our company always had a reputation for quality products that were functional and durable. That reputation continues today and has been enhanced by training of staff and improved systems to ensure that we always deliver a top-quality product that is right the first time.
- The good relationship that we have with our customers. We have a reputation for straight talking and straight dealing by being available to give technical information or providing accurate lead times. You can trust Veitch!
- The value we place on the contribution that our employees make to the business.
To date, what would you say your biggest contribution to Veitch has been?
My biggest contribution is the establishment of a culture where there is commitment to doing things properly, whether that be product, equipment, systems, or people.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
Legacy is an interesting thing – especially because I have no intention of going anywhere yet.
However, to date, I would have to say that I would love Veitch to be a business that:
- Treats staff with respect and encourages their development
- Maintains the respect and trust of its customers
- Continues to manufacture in Australia
- Designs and markets high quality, modular products
- Keeps up with and builds on current technology
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By Admin | June 14, 2022