by Simon Lord
last updated 20/01/2011
Franchise Awards 2002 - Full Results
by Simon Lord
last updated 20/01/2011
From the moment the lights dimmed and the sights and sounds of Grand Prix racing filled the auditorium it was clear that the New Zealand Franchise Awards 2002 were going to be all about High Performance. Chequered flags and racing cars abounded and there was a Jaguar sports car in the foyer which some lucky entrant was going to take home for a weekend. The sell-out crowd was set to celebrate as franchising's top performers for 2002 prepared to be named.
They were rewarded with a home win as New Zealand-based Fastway Couriers beat franchise systems developed overseas to take out the top title - the Westpac Supreme Award. Bakers Delight won the Franchise System of the Year Award for the second year running and the Franchisee of the Year title went to Angela Ferguson of Mortgage Choice Wellington. There was more joy for Fastway as their Auckland regional franchise was named as the Master Franchisee of the Year for 2002.
The 2002 Awards followed the easy-to-enter format launched last year. All entrants were visited by experienced judges who assessed their businesses according to the criteria used in previous years. Developed with the aid of the New Zealand Quality Foundation, these measure achievement in seven key areas:
- Strategic Planning
- Customer & Market Focus
- Information & Analysis
- Human Resource Focus
- Process Management
- Business Results
Once again, points were awarded in each category, with business results accounting for almost half the available total, and entry was open to all members of the Franchise Association of New Zealand. According to the judges, the standards of excellence in 2002 were higher than ever and the best systems demonstrated continuous improvement. In addition, the number of entries this year was a new record. ‘This means that an Award is not just a name on a trophy - it is a real reflection of the quality of the winner's business,' observed Robert Fowler, the Association's Chairman.
‘I am delighted to see that the judges selected a New Zealand-based franchise as the winners of the Westpac Supreme Award,' he continued. ‘We have had some suggestions that there should be separate categories for systems developed overseas and those from New Zealand, but I believe this would create an artificial division. When prospective franchisees look at buying into a system, they do not care about where it comes from - they want to find the best franchise which matches their own needs.
'Equally, when a New Zealand-based franchise starts to compete on the world stage, it will benefit them far more to have pitted themselves against international competitors already. Fastway Couriers have proved that New Zealand franchises can compete at that level, and this Award recognises that fact.'
Westpac Supreme Award
The winner of the Westpac Supreme Award for the best overall entry in 2002 is Fastway Couriers (NZ) Ltd. Maurice Mehlhopt, this year's chairman of the judging committee, said that they were very impressed that a home-grown franchise has had such major business success not only in New Zealand but on the international stage as well. Started in Hawkes Bay in 1983 and still based there, Fastway Couriers are now operating via national master franchises in Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Morocco, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Wales, with the rights for Canada having just been granted.
Bruce Speers, Chief Executive Officer of Fastway Couriers, says that with a group turnover of $180 million the franchise is proud to be based in Hawkes Bay and earning export royalties for the New Zealand economy. ‘We are bucking the trend of other companies moving their headquarters offshore and have made a conscious decision to continue to be based in Hawkes Bay,' he said. ‘If you can make a franchise system work well in New Zealand, where you have a small population base, then it can work really well in overseas markets where the populations are huge. As long as you do your market research and adapt your system to fit the country's culture, the potential is enormous,' he says.
Bruce says the European operations are still in their infancy and most revenue is currently being generated in Australia and New Zealand, so the potential for growth is ‘very exciting'.
Franchise System Of The Year
Bakers Delight (NZ) Ltd wins the award for Franchise System of the Year for the second year running. This echoes the company's performance in Australia, where it won the same title both in 2001 and 2002 - a unique achievement. Bakers Delight are currently opening new bakeries every other day in Australia and NZ.
The judges say it is the strength of Bakers Delight's systems that helps them win awards and grow their business at such an outstanding pace while maintaining quality and service. ‘They have an excellent understanding of how the franchise system operates, with very good review, monitoring and improvement processes in place along with excellent documentation to back it up,' said judge Maurice Mehlhopt. ‘The processes were well thought through and delivered with a human touch that impressed us immensely.
‘It was obvious that the enthusiastic team we met at Bakers Delight have a great deal of faith in their system and we believe it certainly delivers for them.' The company also operates an innovative ‘business lease' scheme which allows suitable people to lease stores while they save up for their own franchise. This highly developed scheme has been a cornerstone of the company's growth strategy in New Zealand.
1st Runner-Up in the Franchise System of the Year category went to Fastway Couriers. Mortgage Choice NZ took the 2nd Runner-Up spot.
Master Franchisee Of The Year
Fastway Couriers Auckland
There was more joy for Fastway when their Auckland franchise took the title of Master Franchisee of the Year. Fastway operates via a three-tier system of national franchisor, regional master franchisee and courier franchisees, and it was Auckland manager Marc Wells who stepped up on stage to receive the trophy.
Awards judge Sarah Kay says that Fastway Couriers, Auckland, actively recognise staff, customers, and the community. ‘The implementation of "real time" technology enables this master franchisee to continuously develop and change their business systems and procedures to suit the needs of their customers, the market and business growth. Marc Wells demonstrates leadership, with passion, sound knowledge, confidence and comprehensive documentation.'
1st Runner-Up in the Master Franchisee of the Year category was Green Acres Home Cleaning, Auckland. VIP Home Services, Auckland took the 2nd Runner-Up spot.
Franchisee Of The Year
Mortgage Choice - Wellington
Maurice Mehlhopt says that while Mortgage Choice, a nationwide mortgage broking franchise, has a very strong franchise system, that alone can't guarantee success. ‘Someone has to take that system and add the required professionalism and energy to maximise its value,' he says. ‘Angela Ferguson, the franchisee in Wellington, has done just that. In three years she has developed an extremely successful business.
‘Angela has an extremely high conversion ratio of contacts to new business, which is understandable given her single-minded attitude to success. Her business plan is one of the most comprehensive I have seen for this type of operation.'
Established six years ago, Mortgage Choice was the first mortgage broking business in the country to be franchised . Today there are 27 franchisees from Invercargill to Auckland.
1st Runner-Up in the Franchisee of the Year category went to Bakers Delight, Onehunga & Milford, Auckland. PORSE Hamilton, the nanny childcare agency, were the 2nd Runner-Up.
In addition to the overall titles, the Awards recognise excellence in individual areas of franchise management. The following Awards were presented to franchisees, master franchisees or franchisors who demonstrated outstanding skills in certain categories.
Gavin Hunt, Signature Homes (NZ) Ltd
As the managing director of Signature Homes Ltd and the operator of a Signature Homes franchise himself, Gavin Hunt is leading his organisation by example, according to the Awards judges. ‘With his exceptional passion for growing the business through best practice systems and support for his franchisees nationwide, Signature Homes is set to flourish as a franchise system over the next few years,' they say. The custom-building company currently has 11 franchisees nationwide.
PORSE Nanny Franchise System
One-to-one nanny childcare education franchise PORSE is another success story from Hawkes Bay. With 15 franchises already established, the PORSE team impressed the judges with their passion for their franchise system, the quality of service they provide and the significant advantages that are to be gained for children who are nannied under this system. ‘The PORSE Team is impressive in its cohesion and combined passion and is poised for significant growth and future success,' they commented.
Excellence In Customer Service
Laurie and Judy Fawdray, Have A Snack & Drink! Franklin
First time entrants Laurie and Judy Fawdray, of Have A Snack & Drink! Franklin, demonstrated such determination to exceed customer expectations through focus on customer service that they won the Award for Excellence In Customer Service. ‘They are the number one honour-vending snack/drink provider in the work place for the Franklin area and have retained every single one of their customers. For the past two and a half years they have maintained the highest level of purchases per site within their organisation, and this couple has mastered the art of turning customers into advocates,' said the judges.
Innovation & Technology
Green Acres Franchise Group
‘The Green Acres franchise programme is a very well thought-out system with plenty of support for both the master franchisees and franchisees,' according to the judges. With 655 franchisees, the system is New Zealand's largest and is a past winner of the Franchise System of the Year Award. This year, sophisticated administration processes and the smart use of technology impressed. A new on-line program allows franchisees' diaries to be directly accessed in the field, with the closest and most available person located and selected to deliver the service. ‘A great example of how entrepreneurs can use technology to increase customer service and billable hours at the same time,' the judges commented.
Contribution To The Community
Pete's Post, New Plymouth
Pete's Post New Plymouth operates a franchise based on the deregulation of postal services in New Zealand. They target clients who normally wouldn't qualify for any financial benefits from the mainstream postal service, offering them savings and convenience. Their passion for the business is clearly evident as well as their desire to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses in the regions in which they operate. ‘Their community involvement is clearly evident in all elements of their franchise system and is an underlying philosophy of their business,' said the judges.
Most Promising Franchise System
David and Melissa Bowen of Stretch-N-Grow are definitely a team to watch, the judges feel. Since launching the Texas-originated franchise here in 2000, they have focused on developing an impressive franchise system designed to educate and inspire pre-schoolers and their parents about the importance and benefits of exercise, nutrition and general wellbeing. ‘With their passion and in-depth business knowledge, this new franchise is already showing promising results.' Stretch-n-Grow was also named the Best Emerging Franchise in Australia this year.
The Regional Awards recognise that franchise excellence exists all over the country, and encourage the promotion of franchising on a regional basis. Awards were presented to the best overall entry from each region regardless of whether the entrant was franchisor, franchisee or master franchisee.
Winners of the Franchise System of the Year, Bakers Delight (NZ) Ltd also won the Auckland/Northland regional award for 2002.
Bay Of Plenty/Waikato
Karleen Hennessey, PORSE Hamilton Nanny Childcare Agency
PORSE franchisee Karleen Hennessey stood out among the entries from this region. ‘Karleen had a detailed business plan which was organic, reviewed and reported on monthly with the master franchisee. She impressed the judges with her love of her business, and is showing her commitment to the franchise by being in the process of buying another franchise area in the Waikato,' according to the judges.
‘We were impressed with the financial information provided and were confident that she knew exactly where she was going. Karleen wants a balanced lifestyle as well as a successful business and clearly showed she was getting this balance right.'
Fastway Couriers (NZ) Ltd have proved that it is possible to run a multi-million dollar international franchise from New Zealand - and not from one of the major cities either. Their success should act as a spur to other franchises who are uncertain about tackling overseas markets.
Pete's Post Ltd
Pete's Post currently handles 20 million articles of mail per year but conservatively expects to achieve sales of 90 million articles per year by the end of their fifth year of operation. They have fully operational franchises in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Taranaki Districts, Napier, Hastings, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Wanganui, and Gisborne. The Pete's Post franchise system employs 180 people and has more than 500 mail receivers on city streets.
Angela Ferguson, Mortgage Choice Wellington
For many systems, Wellington can be a difficult place to recruit franchisees. Angela not only shows the way to her fellow capital-dwellers, but also won the overall Franchisee of the Year Award.
David & Nicola Shanks, Brumby's Hornby
Winners of the Team Excellence Award last year, this year Brumby's Hornby were judged the best franchise business in the Christchurch region. ‘Brumby's Hornby are progressively increasing their profits, they have high energy, strong customer orientation, good team dynamics, good employee development and they are creative and enthusiastic,' said judge Professor Gael McDonald.
David and Nicola Shanks say they have a great team spirit in the bakery, with a young and energetic team. ‘We are very customer focused,' says Nicola, who has responsibility for the front of the bakery. ‘We are generous with our servings and only produce quality baking.' The good word of mouth and customer loyalty being generated by Brumby's Hornby is translating into 15-20% growth. Nicola Shanks sums up the business philosophy as ‘treating people the way you like to be treated yourself, and being honourable.'
Dunedin-based Mortgage Choice (NZ) Ltd is the winner of the Award for best franchise in the region for the second year running. Judge Maurice Mehlhopt says you would expect Miranda Caird, the principal of the Mortgage Choice franchise, to have a deep interest in the success of her business. But, he says, in her case it is more than a deep interest - it is an all consuming passion.
‘She totally believes in the concept of mortgage broking and is determined that her franchisees will have the very best systems available to offer the highest levels of customer service and professionalism to her clients. Her personal investment, both in time and money, is very substantial. She has now established a system that appears to have every ingredient for an extremely successful future for her and for the people who invest in the Mortgage Choice programme,' he says.
The winner of the Franchise Association of New Zealand Media Award for the second year running is Jon Stephenson, freelance reporter. Judges say Stephenson again demonstrated a commitment over the whole year, with good coverage of both local and overseas franchising issues contributing to a greater understanding of franchising in New Zealand. The judges also congratulated the editor of The Independent, which publishes many of Jon's stories, for its coverage of franchise issues.
Win A Jaguar
Maurice & Jenny Frost, Pete's Post Central Districts
Maurice & Jenny Frost were the lucky winners of a Jaguar sports car for the weekend, courtesy Jaguar New Zealand. Their name was drawn from among all the entrants on the night by MC Brett Rutledge. The couple are torn between the idea of using their prize car as a means of speeding up their deliveries even further or using it to turn their neighbours green with envy.
As the Awards grow larger, so judging becomes a major process involving many people over many months of work. This year, Association Chairman Robert Fowler invited all the judges up on stage to receive the thanks of all present and a small token of appreciation. Senior judges Maurice Mehlhopt and Professor Gael McDonald, who returned yet again for 2002, were this year supported by a number of people who gave generously of their time.
Maurice Mehlhopt was unable to be present at the Awards Dinner itself, but he made the following comments to entrants. ‘I know that a number of you have asked for individual comments about how well or not you have done, and for a range of reasons we are reluctant to do that, but I think there are some general comments that we can pass on that may help explain why some of you fared a little better than others.
‘Every year, judging the Franchise Awards gets harder. In my time as a judge, I have noticed an extremely strong commitment to the development and continued enhancement of the systems themselves. Generally speaking, franchises across the board have now developed an extremely high level of detail and excellence. Therefore, as judges it is getting more difficult for us to define degrees of excellence when comparing systems.
‘So what we now tend to look for, whether that be in the system itself or among its various franchises, are points of difference. We are looking for people who have taken a concept and gone the extra mile. We are looking hard at key elements of the system: things such as franchise councils, complaint handling and documentation, with particular emphasis on elements of the system that give the customer a feeling that they are being treated in an extra special way. We are looking for the true marketing or customer-driven approach.
‘What else do we look for? A very high ranking for us is profitability. This means that unless the business has been operating for a reasonable period of time, there is simply not enough empirical data for us to be able to judge you as a winner. You may well have a brilliant idea, a brilliant system, and a brilliant franchise network, but you need to demonstrate you have been in business long enough to establish ongoing profit growth - real not projected.
‘So if you have a young franchise and have been disappointed this year, don't be despondent. Simply allow time to take its course - and use that time wisely before next year.
‘The other area I want to comment on is business planning. Generally speaking (and particularly at the franchisee level) we are looking for companies who are developing a sound business plan. To use an old cliché - a number of you are often spending too much time working in the business, and not on the business.
‘You may well have all the ideas in your head, and I am sure not a day goes by that you, and often your family, (which is another great thing about franchising) are not thinking about the business and where it is going. But from the judges' point of view we need to see detail. I know a number of franchise systems now provide templates, but generally speaking, if you didn't present a well-developed business plan to the judges, it counted against you.
‘Also some businesses were in transition phases - strong early growth, expanded premises etc. We applaud their vision and would like to revisit those in a year or two to make sure that all has gone according to plan.
‘Finally, over the past five years I have seen tremendous development in franchising throughout New Zealand. I have now had the privilege of judging a number of different franchises from top to bottom, right across New Zealand, and I have been very excited about the tremendous growth of systems, quality and results I have seen in that time. To all those who have won, congratulations. To those who entered, I hope you have found the experience valuable. To those thinking about entering next year, we look forward to meeting you then.'
Sponsorship for this year's event was generously provided by Westpac, ANZ, Brebner Print. Franchise New Zealand magazine & website, Action International, Franchize Consultants (NZ) Ltd, Govett Quilliam, GS McLauchlin & Co, Harris Tate, Jaguar New Zealand and Telecom New Zealand. The Awards were organised by the Franchise Association of New Zealand Inc.
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