Foreno Tapware Ltd has been named winner of the Supreme Award at the 2021 NorthChamber Northland Business Excellence Awards.
The announcement comes just weeks after it won the NorthChamber’s Excellence in Business – Medium Business Award.
In announcing the Supreme Award, Convenor of judges and BDO Director Greg Atkins says Foreno’s journey has been a privilege to be on.
“The team really took on our feedback when they entered for the first time in 2019. They went away and worked hard on the business and here we are now,” says Mr Atkins.
“Foreno is a Northland business quietly achieving success at a national level. Designing and distributing beautiful tapware throughout New Zealand, the team have developed efficient systems and skills to create innovative products that we all want.
“The judges were impressed with their clear understanding of the customer needs, design process and their supply chain. A diverse leadership group also adds valuable guidance to meet the businesses strategic goals.
“Foreno is a great success story for a Northland business and business excellence. All these qualities help Foreno stand out as the Supreme winner for 2021,” says Mr Atkins.
Foreno General Manager Kerry Lord says the Supreme award announcement last week took him completely by surprise.
“From where we came from to where we are now really is chalk and cheese and to be honest it is down to the team we have. We have semi-reenergised and rebuilt the team in recent years and we have a whole new sales team, people in the factory and in management,” says Mr Lord.
“I did not expect the award. Being involved in the NorthChamber Northland Business Excellence Awards is well worthwhile even if you don’t win. The feedback you get from the judges is really constructive. They tell you what is what and tell you what to work on.
“Every Northland business should enter and give it a crack. Only a week before we received the award I was asked by other businesses if the awards are worthwhile and I said absolutely because you learn so much and can improve your business so much. But it was pretty cool when the phone call came through.
Like Mr Lord, Foreno’s Managing Director Jon Doherty has worked in the plumbing and bathroom sector for over 30 years and says the win is testament to the effort of the staff.
“This award is their award so it is great for our people in the business to be able to celebrate. It has been a tough couple of years so it is really pleasing to come out with this,” says Mr Doherty.
“We had started on a journey to reset the business in 2015 but the feedback we received from the judges in 2019 gave us even more to work on which has been invaluable. We have continued to look at ourselves, our processes and our brand.
Until you go through the process you don’t realise how much work you can do to improve your business and as a result we have been growing at 25% to 30% year on year and in five years we have more than tripled our top line sales and expanded our product line and customer reach around New Zealand.
“I would absolutely encourage businesses to commit the time to enter the 2022 awards and to make sure they do the process justice by being really thorough and drill into their business,” says Mr Doherty.
Along with Principal Sponsors Top Energy and Northpower, NorthChamber CEO Steve Smith has praised Foreno.
“Of all the businesses we have come to know intimately during the 2021 awards, these guys really stood out. They came to understand that the awards are less about winning but more about the journey and the process,” says Mr Smith.
“They have enacted the advice of the judges from 2019 and as a result they are really cranking. The team at NorthChamber is really excited for their future. We will continue to support them and look forward to continuing the journey with them.”
Northpower Chief Executive Andrew McLeod says Foreno are absolutely deserving of the Supreme Award.
“I came to Northland four years ago to work the Team at Northpower, and of course Russell Shaw has been up here quite a bit longer with the Top Energy Team. We both get a real kick out of meeting the people behind businesses operating out of the North – they really are world class. It’s pretty neat that the Foreno taps we see in our hardware stores are a truly home grown product. ” says Mr McLeod.
“Hat’s off to the team at Foreno and to all the businesses that took part in the awards this year – the owners and the people in them have a great work ethic, support of each other to the hilt, and keep their focus on making a difference for the North. Like Top Energy, we’ve enjoyed getting a sense for that and being part of the awards.
We are looking forward to the 2022 awards and discovering yet more local success stories. I strongly encourage businesses to enter, we learn so much from each other being part of the experience.”