Growing a historic business from the holiday house

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With 74 staff all over the district, Managing Director of Parr & Co Damon Odey was dedicated to finding a solution that could keep everyone in the company connected across the board and sharing live, up-to-the-minute data. The ‘magic button’, as it turns out, exists – enter simPRO.

In the video interviews below Ben Smith, then General Manager and Damon Odey, Managing Director outline their experience in building the business and integrating cloud software across a widely dispersed team all with an emphasis on work/life balance.

Early beginnings

The Parr & Co name has been around since 1871 when two farmers began a blacksmith shop in Timaru, powering the machinery with a windmill. Nowadays, Parr & Co have a range of manufacturing, maintenance and even retail interests and still open to new opportunities.

Software considerations

In their search for the right job management software, Damon Odey and his team’s major consideration was finding software that could produce thorough financial and productivity reports.

Nowadays, thanks to simPRO, rather than waiting months to understand their own financial and productivity data, Damon can view daily reports – even while holidaying on the Gold Coast in Australia.

The second major consideration in their search for job management software was a seamless connection of data and communication across all staff.

simPRO has been hosted in the cloud since the beginning, so the right choice quickly became clear.

Predicting the market

Parr & Co rely on diversity to grow the business. simPRO Enterprise enables Parr & Co to monitor market trends to understand where business strengths and weaknesses occur, turning their attention to wherever they identify strong business growth.

Hard lessons learned

We recently visited Excel Refrigeration where Stephen and Donna were quick to point out the value of dedicating a staff member full time to becoming the ‘simPRO Champion’ – an expert on all things simPRO, so to speak. A simPRO champion is responsible for the successful role out of the product, liaising with simPRO and their own staff to ensure smooth integration.

Ben Smith, General Manager of Parr & Co, strongly agrees –  in hindsight. Taking that one step further, Ben suggests an external third party to take on that role in order to look objectively at existing business processes.

Upskilling the staff

It’s the theme that underpins many of our stories from New Zealand. The trade services industry in New Zealand leads by example when it comes to upskilling staff for personal and professional growth. It’s a win/win. The staff appreciate the investment by the company and benefit from their increased skill set, and, of course, the company receives both loyalty and the benefit of their increasingly skilled staff.

Livin’ the dream

The people in New Zealand certainly understand the value of striking a work/life balance. Skiing, hiking and all manner of outdoor pursuits are high on the agenda in the land of the long white cloud.

Cloud software enables managers to stay in touch no matter where they are.

“If you can do your work from the Bach, do it from the Bach.” Damon Odey, Managing Director. Parr & Co.

Video Interview - Part 1 of 2

Video Interview - Part 2 of 2

The Mayor of Timaru

Damon Odey owns several ventures. He’s also the Mayor of Timaru. His passion for the town, the people and the lifestyle shine in this interview. He’s certainly got the gift of the gab and his demeanour is typical of the hard working yet casual lifestyle afforded by the people in the region.

In a following video, we’ll be digging into more detail on how Damon finds time to also fulfil his role as Mayor of Timaru.

We’d like to thank Parr & Co for their time and hospitality.

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