The downturn in Townsville’s building industry could have been catastrophic for local kitchen and cabinet manufacturer Moduline, however the company’s culture of trust and proactive approach to identifying new markets has enabled them to maintain their workforce ensuring they are poised for growth when the market returns.
The fourth-generation family business is part of Ingham Manufacturers, which includes a hardware store, retail furniture store, and factory where the cabinetry is manufactured.
Moduline’s David Gusmeroli says innovative ideas to grow the business are a cross pollination of every division within the family business, and credits the high level of trust to keeping processes simple and cost effective, making it easy to implement new ideas.
“There’s four brothers who are directors,” he explains. “We make a decision and trust each other to get on and do it.”
Moduline has been designing, manufacturing and installing custom kitchens and cabinets across the North Queensland region since 1955. Three years ago, they started targeting the commercial market, which is now a significant part of their business, with jobs ranging from office fit outs to large projects in education, health and aged care sectors.
“There were a variety of reasons for starting the commercial division,” David says. “My nephew Ryan saw an opportunity and wanted to try his hand in that area, and it has grown into quite a substantial business,” he says. “Thankfully so, because the housing downturn in Townsville has been catastrophic. If we didn’t have the commercial division, we’d be a much smaller business.”
It’s not the first time they had taken the chance to explore new markets. Leveraging off their years of experience designing and building cabinetry, the company saw an opportunity in the DIY space and launched Semble in 2012, an online kitchen flat pack business. They created a website to offer an easy design process, and are the only national provider that delivers to the door.
“What we got right is that people can design the whole kitchen, purchase online and have it delivered to their door in a short time frame, complete, the whole lot. That’s the success of it.”
While it was a conscious decision to target new markets, David admits that there was a bit of luck involved with diversifying the business at the right time, and believes the housing market is set to prosper again soon.
“It wasn’t done because we are geniuses and saw such a big downturn coming,” he says. “We did it to grow our business but ultimately it means that we haven’t shrunk. As soon as the Townsville market turns around, which is going to happen, we’ll see some solid growth.”