Having been at the helm of JELD-WEN (JWA), Australia’s largest window and door manufacturer, for more than two decades, Nigel Lapping’s passion for the role shows no sign of diminishing. Shunning adulation, Nigel prefers to reflect on the achievements of his management and staff.

In an industry that traditionally experiences high staff turnover, Nigel is immensely proud that JWA staff have made a long-term commitment to the business. “The average management tenure is eleven and a half years,” Nigel says. “If you have a management team that has been at the helm for that long, you have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and depth. Our workforce of 3,500 people shows an average employment duration of six and a half years, which is equally impressive. I am very passionate about the welfare of our people, their job security, and their capacity to earn a good

Lack of scale and high costs of distribution are characteristic of Australia’s young, isolated, and dispersed economy. “By any measure, JWA would be considered a medium-sized business at a local level; but on a consolidated basis, we are a very large entity and sit in the top 300. In our European and US operations, we have factories that produce more in a month than an Australian equivalent factory would produce in a year. With discrepancies in scales of that magnitude, it is inevitable that the local management talent pool is limited, so you either import your needs or invest in your people to better equip them to perform at the level you require of them to be globally competitive.

“Attracting, developing, and retaining a skilled team is always challenging for any business, and despite the longevity of the JWA team, there have been many individual casualties due to the changes and challenges the business has had to face. I am pleased to say the residual by-product of these efforts has produced a strong, stable, competent team that would rate on any global platform.”