13/01/2004 - 21:00

Kerbing firm has concrete plans

13/01/2004 - 21:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

WHEN Kerbing West director Brian Kennewell enrolled in Curtin Business School’s growth program, he had more than 20 years of business success behind him.

WHEN Kerbing West director Brian Kennewell enrolled in Curtin Business School’s growth program, he had more than 20 years of business success behind him.

But despite his experience, Mr Kennewell was wise enough to know that he could still learn more.

Mr Kennewell also recognised the need to respond to the changing and more complex business environment.

“It stacked up everything I had learned over 20 years, sifted out what had changed, what I could use and what could help the business,” he said of the course.

One of the biggest changes Mr Kennewell has introduced is greater financial control over his business, which has five kerbing crews as well as a modern machine for slipform concrete barriers.

“Budgeting is much more rigorous. We used to be more blasé about the way we did our budgets,” he said.

For instance, Mr Kennewell now calculates the expected impact on profits before he commits to replacing equipment.

The business has improved its management and computer systems so they now have access to improved information.

The changes adopted by Mr Kennewell partly reflect changes in his management team.

He originally recruited two experienced operators when he established Kerbing West in 1998.

One of those people became general manager and adopted a successful but ‘raw’ management style, operating on gut feel and keeping most company and client knowledge in his head.

Mr Kennewell also had an experienced workshop manager, who kept all of the equipment in top working condition.

The retirement of these experienced staff created a number of challenges, which have only been overcome by the adoption of more formal and structured processes, exemplified by the detailed records and spreadsheets maintained by the new general manager.

Mr Kennewell said human resource management was a big part of the growth program at Curtin.

He has found that the expectations of staff today are a lot higher compared with when he started working as a fuel wholesale agent in the Wheatbelt in the 1970s.

Mr Kennewell successfully expanded the fuel business over the years, taking over other agents and introducing new services for his farming customers.

Like many people who grew up in the country, Mr Kennewell was prepared to do a deal based on a handshake.

Harsh experience has taught him that most Perth business people do not operate that way.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options