ABP Group is a commercial furniture and joinery manufacturer with its factory based in Carole Park, in the City of Ipswich. The 100% Australian-owned and -operated business is run by Rob Kneebone, who took over as Managing Director almost eight years ago. He’s a stickler for quality, honesty and consistency, who steers the company in the same way his family has before him. He leads by example, takes care of those that work for him and doesn’t shy away from speaking up for his regional community.
A loyalty to staff translates to loyal customers
When he took the top job, Rob remembers “the business was a good business — it was profitable — but it needed some reinvigoration”. “We’ve battled on together over the eight years I’ve been involved and done a lot of things we can be proud of. We have a strong balance sheet and we’ve expanded. We’ve kept all our staff employed and didn’t have to let anyone go during the GFC.”
Keeping stable, worthwhile jobs in the region is something Rob feels strongly about. “We put a lot of effort into our apprentices, we put a lot of effort into our relationship with the Ipswich City Council and we put a lot of effort into supporting local events, schools and the community,” he says. This investment into Queensland has meant staff and customers alike stay loyal to the business.
Sustainable growth stemming from consistency
“We work very successfully in our little area and we could quite easily enter into the eastern seaboard to grow the business, but there’s a few things we want to get right here in Queensland,” says Rob. ABP Group’s longstanding relationships with suppliers known for their quality, such as PolyVision and Laminex help to deliver a consistently good service. Rob says, “It’s consistency that gives us an edge.”
“Over the last 30 years, we’ve really had no marketing strategy. People know we’re here and use us because we manufacture quality products. Getting ourselves out there means we could pick up a lot more work in a very short period of time, but it’s about having the systems in place to do that and making sure we can deliver on what we say we’re going to deliver on. We’re getting there.”
Priming his qualified and skilled staff for a new era of growth, Rob is also excited about expanding the company’s manufacturing facilities. “We’re just about to build ourselves 1,000 square metres and it’ll give us great opportunities having a bit more space. The opportunities for the business are endless,” he says.