Conroy Removals was established in Napier in 1972 by David Conroy. Steve Jordan recently interviewed his daughter, Fiona, about the company and its plans for the future.
It was 44 years ago that David Conroy started the moving company that carries his name in Hawke’s Bay, Napier in New Zealand’s North Island. Only the following year his brother, Gary, opened in Napier’s twin city of Hastings just a few miles away. From that moment on the irresistible urge to expand has driven the company to become one of the largest and best known companies both in New Zealand and Australia employing upwards of 260 people.
Fiona said that it was not the brothers’ intention to grow the business but as volumes increased so they took opportunities to expand into Auckland, Tauranga and later to Wellington, and into the South Island cities of Christchurch and Nelson.
At first the work was purely domestic and commercial removals. However, there is a high flow of traffic between Australia and New Zealand and Conroy soon added international moving to its offering. “We got the opportunity to buy into a business in Brisbane,” explained Fiona. “Ten years later we had expanded up to Townsville and have now added Sydney, Melbourne and to Perth in Western Australia.”
The Australian traffic is mainly import/export work; New Zealand remains predominantly domestic with approximately one third of its traffic either originating from or going overseas. In 44 years the company has done very well. So what does Fiona put the success down to? “A lot of hard work and taking opportunities as they have come along,” she said. “We have always tried to keep it simple and not to take anything for granted. There are always challenges out there.”
For the future Fiona sees the main challenge to be the integration of a digital offering. “There are a lot of companies offering an online service,” she explained. “We are very focussed on that. It has become very important for us.” The company already offers a small load service online in which customers can book and pay for local deliveries of one or two boxes quickly and easily with just a few clicks of the mouse. But Fiona does not see the technology standing still.
“People are time poor,” she said. “They all want 24/7 access to services and the software is becoming more easily available. What we can do online is increasing all the time and customers are often willing to give something new a try. They are very quick to tell us if it’s not working properly, so it’s important to listen carefully to customers and respond quickly if necessary. That agility and speed is really important.”
There are companies springing up all over the world that are successfully offering online services to their customers. Traditionalist will scoff of course, saying that it’s impossible to replace the experienced estimator and people will always want their hands holding, especially when it comes to international moving. But maybe not. Perhaps the days of the 100% online moving service is just around the corner. Whether it is or not, like Conroy, companies the world over would do well to make plans.
Photos: Top: David and Gary Conroy; above: Conroy have expanded across New Zealand and into Australia since the company was started 44 years ago.
Click here to see the next Editor's Pick