Project Description

Improving Leadership

Forestry & Logging

Stubbs Contractors, a logging business on the East Coast, engaged with The Lean Hub two years ago, looking to improve their middle management and crew leadership capabilities. The project was lead by Robert Stubbs the owner, and Trev Hall from The Lean Hub.

Lean manufacturing New Zealand

The Process

“The more my leaders knew about what they were doing and the responsibility of running a crew, the less micromanagement they would need,” explains Robert. One of The Lean Hub’s biggest advantages is the fact that their Operational Excellence Specialists get to see what works in one industry, and apply it to another industry. As Trev puts it, “we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so it makes improvement of a business a lot cheaper and a lot faster.”

The initial sessions had the Stubbs team working with Trev on team building exercises, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses within each crew, and giving them a deeper understanding of teamwork. Then, Trev came every two weeks to work with crew leaders, Supervisors, and Robert, on planning and organisation, understanding their roles as leaders, how to measure production, and how to measure, understand, and prevent wasted time, money, and product.

“One of our goals two years ago was to make his business an “Employer of Choice” so we could build a business people would want to come and work at because they know it has exceptional systems, it is safe, they get rewarded for productivity, they get looked after, and they become part of the Stubbs family.”

The Results

Robert says he and Trev have now created an environment where staff are happy to be. Staff turnover has reduced and the company hasn’t needed to advertise for staff for six months. “People are constantly walking in the door looking for jobs. I must be doing something right!”

Robert has since employed two mechanics to look after his plant and machinery, immediately fixing breakdowns, reducing downtime, and enabling each crew to consistently hit production targets. He has also employed office administration staff and has moved from his home-based office to a purpose office and workshop facility in downtown Gisborne.

The business is solid and growing, and Robert has started a new roading construction and earthmoving crew. But it’s not just about business results, last year, Stubbs Contractors took out the special award for Business Excellence and placed in four other categories of the Westpac Gisborne Business Excellence Awards. They also won Outstanding Health and Safety Management at the 2018 Forestry Awards.