Decades of dedication: Hydraulink Tokoroa's legacy of service excellence
Hydraulink Tokoroa’s Geoff Gurr (Area Sales Manager) and Doug Griffiths (Branch Manager) have seen the town grow from being perceived solely as a timber industry leader, to also become a broader hub for a wider host of producers in the bustling South Waikato centre in New Zealand.
“This town always had a good strong heart of hard-working, genuine people who believe in their community. If you serve them well, and share their vision, they will reward you with good old-fashioned trust, respect, and strong business relationships,” says Hydraulink Area Sales Manager Geoff Gurr.
Geoff and Doug have witnessed the transformation of the town over 30 years, the most recent 15 as a wholly owned Hydraulink NZ investment that has flourished with the local community as an integral part of the Hydraulink network extending over 400 service points in New Zealand, Australia and up into SE Asia.
“Tokoroa was known almost exclusively back then as a timber town, which was and is a great business. But far-sighted businesspeople could see broader opportunities too, which have seen it evolve into what locals often call the Hub of the Country, being very central to both coastal areas and cities. This close-knit community has a vast range of industries nowadays, with engineering, motor vehicle, marine, manufacturing, mining and milk product sites situated on the main railway line to Tauranga for exporting goods to Australia and worldwide.
“Some other service industries have come and gone, in Tokoroa, but we have grown with the opportunities the town presented, by delivering persistently good performance and belief in Tokoroa’s future,” says Geoff, who with Doug and his team is celebrating 15 years since Hydraulink extended its confidence in the town by establishing a wholly owned branch of the company there.
A community based on trust
Doug Griffiths says many competitors have tried to compete with his team over the years, but the team at Hydraulink has worked hard to know the ins and outs of what makes this area tick. And when things get hard, they don’t give up.
“We all live in South Waikato, so this community is full of our family and friends. You can guarantee to see a Hydraulink hat, jacket, or umbrella at any community event here, where we sponsor such events as part of our community involvement. Our people are diverse in background, but we are all invested in making the community strong.
“The people in Tokoroa are great down-to-earth people who tend not to sugar coat things – but they are happy to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the mahi (work) and to join us for the play too.
“Local sponsorships have ranged from snooker and chainsaw racing events to local hot rod and drag racing turnouts – all conducted under top safety standards of course, but we know how to have fun.
“Knowing the people is what has made the business a success – the Tokoroa team know the people and had the drive to make sure customers had top service 24/7, which has made Hydraulink a household name in Tokoroa.
“One of our technicians, Daniel, was 17 years old when he started 22 years ago. He was a keen young guy wanting to work and went door knocking to find a job when our franchise operator back then, Tokoroa Hire centre, took him on. Team member Phil started at the Hire Centre 24 years ago, fresh off the plane from England, and he is still well known in Tokoroa as Pom.”
Geoff Gurr’s association with Tokoroa started in the mid-90s, when Hydraulink was a franchise operation on Browning Street that employed his mechanical skills as a mobile service technician travelling out to remote sites where hydraulic service was vital to the uptime of highly mechanised logging operations.
Geoff and Doug – who heads a team of 12 Tokoroa staff, including five mobile technicians – has helped guide the growth of the Tokoroa operation since Hydraulink established it to bring essential hydraulic hoses, fittings and safety-compliant and traceable service expertise to locations as diverse as urban engineering and logistics sites, to far flung primary industry and farming sites.
“As our business has grown, so also has our commitment to big new business opportunities such as dairy, which is huge. Our 4WD service vehicles are key to serving this industry because cows don’t feed on roads, we have to go out to their paddocks, so the fleet of off-road vehicles is key to keeping the industry going on-site, where they are needed,” said Geoff.
Geoff says continuous investment in both on-site and off-site service and training of staff in local needs has kept Hydraulink Tokoroa close to the pulse of the of the local economy. This has made the branch another success story among the Hydraulink group’s extensive network. All service points are bound together by a commitment to top customer service – as expressed by the corporate signature ‘Best Under Pressure’ – with uniformly high standards of training, integrity, safety, compliance, and traceability.
Expanding safety and uptime
“These commitments are important because over the years, Tokoroa has seen a number of our competitors come and go, including other major operators. But we are the ones who adapted best to changing needs. At the end of the day, Hydraulink is the one that has invested time and training on its people – and business loyalty and satisfaction has recognised this, coming back to us for our world-class experience on a wide range of machinery, and employing local people to deal with local people to get the job done properly the first time and to keep the area humming.”
Doug says local business knows Hydraulink is in it for the long haul “and has invested lots into the branch here with modern equipment, vehicles and the great group of staff that know what it takes to be the ‘Best Under Pressure’”
“Safety is always number one for us and our customers. It is part of our culture and our customers’ culture – the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude doesn’t get a look in here. And our new fleet of modern well equipped 4WD utes makes getting to jobs easier for our team, which then makes things faster for customers to get them back into production.
Geoff Gurr says, “Customers value the fact that we deliver the same industry-leading standards of service from the one brand, with efficiency and consistency, whether delivered on-site at the customer’s facility, or at Hydraulink facilities. The peace of mind achieved by assurance of quality and safety is a major plus to operators big and small who are our customers.”
Experience is vital
“Production machinery must be maintained in peak productive capacity to achieve the safety and efficiency required on major equipment brands such as CAT, John Deere, Tigercat and Hyundai. Equally vital transport machinery that depends on good hydraulic service includes Kenworth, Scania, Freightliner and diverse trucks, harvesters, specialist agricultural and civil engineering machinery, bin trucks, and forklifts.
“It is very reassuring to customers that the people we send out to them are already familiar with the specialised needs of their machinery and worksites. This is a great time saver – which translates into high efficiency – but also it is a great asset to high and uniform safety and compliance practices over many sites.
“One of our big pluses in branches such as Tokoroa – and through our associated mobile operations – is that we have all this experience and capability concentrated under the one brand.
“The benefit of this is that customers know that the quality product and service they receive from one location will be the same excellence delivered to the same standards at other places.
“This consistency and quality is very important to Tokoroa and to the district’s customers with the diverse and multiple sites, who want traceability and uniformly high standards of service and safety delivered across their organisations.
“Tokoroa (population 14,500) mightn’t be the biggest place on the map in New Zealand. But it is home to some mighty industries on a world scale, including timber and dairy. And its engineering, manufacturing and export industries also have to set to world standards, so it is important that as a Hub of the Country, we are also Hub of Excellence for safety, compliance and traceability in a world that insists upon these qualities. That combination of local knowledge and global capability helps give us a winning edge in this winning, vibrant town.”