Tru-Bilt employee Steve Weller (left), with brothers Paul,
Mark and Scott Taylor in the company's Kaikorai Valley Rd
premises. Photo by Craig Baxter
Tru-Bilt Industries has come a long way from supplying
the local domestic garage door market.
The Dunedin-based company, which was established 20 years
ago, branched out into the industrial door market and, with a
price tag of up to $500,000, these are no ordinary doors.
Tru-Bilt has supplied insulated doors to Scott Base in the
Antarctic, folding hangar doors to the Australian SAS,
cyclone-rated doors to Townsville and the door for the hangar
where Sir Peter Jackson's private jet is housed at Wellington
The company has also done work on the Stone Street Studios in
Wellington, of which Sir Peter is one of the co-owners. The
largest door it has made was 68m wide, for a hangar at Nelson
Airport that had been installed three years ago.
Locally, clients included Cadbury, with door systems, and
Fonterra Mosgiel, with custom-designed container loading
The company was established by Lawrie Taylor, who had been
involved in the building industry and was seeking to do
something different, and his son Mark.
Since 1993, it has grown from a two-man business to one with
a permanent workforce of 18 with temps to help in busy
periods. The garage door business was later sold.
Lawrie Taylor is now semi-retired and Mark is general
manager, working alongside his brothers Scott, whose focus is
purchasing and design, and Paul, who is workshop manager at
the firm's Kaikorai Valley Rd premises.
It has three specific product ranges - industrial doors and
loading dock systems for the food industry; specialised
aircraft hangar doors; and safety barriers and bollards.
The safety barriers and bollards grew out of an issue where
industrial doors kept getting hit by forklifts. They made
some bollards to protect doors, and from that came a system.
With growth came challenges. Three years ago, the company
implemented lean manufacturing, through a consultant in
Christchurch. That had helped the business advance without
having to double the size of its premises, Mark Taylor said.
The marketplace was ever-changing, innovation was vital when
it came to ''staying ahead'' and the company was continually
investing in research and development.
One of the strengths of the business was its team had
embraced the culture of continuous improvement and, over the
years, that had really added value to its product design, he
Scott Taylor said there were benefits from being based in
Dunedin. The port was handy for exporting to Australia -
where he believed there was further export potential - while
freight was less expensive going north, compared with coming
south, when it came to servicing the rest of the country.
There were also good suppliers in the city. As a family
business, they all had complementary skills sets.
The success had not come without a lot of hard work, Mark