The remote Kununurra branch in WA has won the Kennards Hire Branch of the Year Award for 2020, the second year in a row the state has taken out the honour.

Now in its 52nd year, the annual Quality of Management (QOM) Awards are a chance for metro and regional branches to show which branch delivers the best on safety, hire centre quality, hire equipment, administration, financials and customer service.

The ultimate winner of the ‘Walter Kennard Group Branch of the Year Award’, named after the company’s founder, is determined through regular, unannounced audits conducted on the 180+ Kennards Hire branches across Australia and New Zealand.

Mateship and a sense of family sets Kennards Hire apart

In Australia, 70% of businesses are family-owned and operated, and in both Australia and New Zealand family businesses employ over 50% of workers. As a family owned and operated business, Kennards Hire plays an important role in local economies and communities.

At Kununurra, the judges discovered a brand of mateship like no other, buoyed by the family feeling that runs throughout the business.

A great local achievement, the win showcases Kennards Hire’s commitment to customer service excellence – whatever, wherever and whenever.

The Kununurra branch is in the state’s far north-east, close to the NT border. It first opened in 2017 at Ivanhoe Road, following the acquisition of CAPS Hire, and relocated to its current address on Bandicoot Drive in 2018.

Kununurra Branch Manager Scott Vidler said the victory is important because it shows the value Kennards Hire places on branch independence when it comes to decision-making.

“Regional branches more or less get to run themselves, whereas the metro branches get visited by their area managers more often,” Scott said, adding it was “pretty special” to see a regional outlet secure the group award over a metro one.

Sheer hard work wins the day

Scott and his team planned hard for the win, with the initial goal of being number one in the state. He said winning the group award was down to team effort.

“We had a plan and we worked it, but you must have everyone committed to achieve these things," he said.

"It’s a highly contested award and quite often it comes down to a fraction of a percentage to get the win.”

Most of the hire requests at Kununurra are for generators, with the region’s electricity needs met by diesel generators due to its vastness and remoteness.

“Our major customer at the moment is running off generators, so we’ve got generators and lighting plants out with them. We also have generators on bores for cattle and also for roadworks,” Scott said.

Relying on your team is something every branch manager does. But at Kununurra, it’s amplified by the isolation. Scott said Kennards Hire trusts its branch managers to make decisions without constant hand-holding.

After all, with the nearest branches being 880km away in Darwin and 1,000km in the other direction in Broome, dropping in to borrow equipment from another branch isn’t an option! Team input becomes more important when you need to be resourceful.

“Kennards place value in their frontline staff, it’s not about management,” Scott said.

“While it’s easy for a company to say they do that, Kennards Hire follows through. Just like in a family, everyone’s got a voice.

“I honestly could not work for anyone else. From the moment I joined back in 1996 as a Service Person Driver, they gave me the empowerment and the trust to do my best and serve the customers."