Peninsula Timbers

Setting up to semi-retire, owners John and Barbara ensure their business is in good hands

Peninsula Timbers commenced trading in 1983 when John and Barbara Reid bought a long-established timber yard in Narrabeen Road, Narrabeen from the Eaton family. As John remembers “We borrowed everything and bought the land, and the business lock, stock and barrel. We kept most of the existing staff of 8 people and began a journey that has seen the business expand and prosper.”

John and Barbara also owned a wall and truss manufacturing plant in Cromer and, in 1999 as the Narrabeen business expanded, they consolidated operations at their Cromer site where they employed another 6 staff. A decision was made to sub-contract their manufacturing operations to ABC Trusses, as ABC delivered to the high standards their long-term loyal clients had come to expect from them. They found that it not only made good business sense, but it was better use of their space and allowed them to concentrate on supplying the highest quality timber products, while ABC supplied the manufactured products.

The result was both immediate and spectacular. In 2000, barely a year after opening, Peninsular Timber won the TABMA Best Traditional Timber Yard. Such was the quality of the site layout and the continued exceptional customer service offered, Peninsular have won this prestigious award every year since with the exception of 2004 when the award was won by the large Saddington’s site in Newcastle.

Ironically in that year Peninsular Timber won the Timber and Hardware Award for the “Best NSW Store up to 3000m2”. They were nominated by the HBT Buying group whom they joined in 2000. John says “After we first won the TABMA Excellence award in 2000, we were approached by Tim Starkey to join HBT. We decided it would be a good move and haven’t looked back. Quite apart from the extensive benefits the group has provided us, we thoroughly enjoy being a member. We find the members friendly and willing to help us in any way possible and we never miss an annual conference. We have travelled to great locations like Cairns, Adelaide and Perth and we are very much looking forward to next year in Darwin. It is a chance to meet members as well as preferred suppliers … and have a great holiday as well!”

After a long and impressive career in the timber industry, John was rewarded with Life Membership of the Master Builders Association where he has been a Board Member for the last 25 years. John was also awarded an MBA Gold Medal, one of only 12 awarded since the MBA was founded in 1890.

Pretty much at the insistence of Barbara, John and Barb have decided to scale back their day-to-day involvement in Peninsula Timbers and semi-retire. They have a perfect deputy in long time employee Rick Mangano so it will still be business-as-usual. Rick is not so sure it will be as simple as that.

“John has so much knowledge on everything from timber quality right through to pricing on the smallest hardware item and we are going to find that hard if not impossible to replicate. We discussed this at length and decided we needed to install a computer system that would handle most of our tasks. We selected Sterland’s ProStix because of its impressive client base and industry expertise, but mainly because it fitted our business without any modification. John will provide the information to the Sterland guys to configure the system to continue to run Peninsula Timber the way John has so successfully done for the last 30 years.”

“We take great comfort in the fact that Sterland will be there to assist us at every step”

As John points out “We have 9 competitors in our immediate vicinity so we have to be on the ball. We have to do things better than the competition and still be conscious of cost, but customer service and quality of product is the key. We feel we needed more accurate information, stock control and cash flow management. Pricing maintenance, especially customer specific pricing has been a pain for us and very time consuming. Using ProStix will take a huge clerical workload off the staff and allow Rick and the guys to spend more time with our customers and growing our business.”

“I was reading in Sterland’s last newsletter where our fellow HBT member at Wagga is implementing ProStix and what he said was perfectly put. He mentioned how the onus was on him and his staff to embrace the change required to maintain customer service standards. It will be exactly the same for us but we take great comfort in the fact that Sterland staff will be there to assist us at every step.”

If the quality and scope of John’s achievements in the past are any indication, installing ProStix will be a walk in the park.