New Life at Howard Material Handling ….

Howard Material Handling changed hands from founding owners Gill and Errol Howard in April 2012. Since then with the steady guidance of the previous owners, the business has grown forth into the new developments of the industry and has taken some exciting new directions.


The team — left to right Russell Chasteauneuf, Byron Cummins (Owner), Jaye Walker


Howard Material Handling has evolved reaching the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Founding owners, husband and wife team Errol and Gill Howard, have sold their business to enjoy their well deserved retirement. New owner Byron Cummins and his team are excited by the opportunity to continue the great business legacy that Howard Material Handling (HMH) has established.

HMH began in 1986 when Errol, while working for Titan Material Handling, was made aware his division was to be closed. Literally, as the door closed on Titan Material Handling, the opportunity arose to establish HMH and a short five weeks later it was open for trading.

Errol utilised his understanding of the material handling business, which is known for its wide array of products and unique solutions for customers. The husband and Wife team of Errol and Gill were definitely savvy in seizing their opportunity to set up a business combining their knowledge and confidence in running their own business, and have kept customers satisfied 25 years later.

At the passing of the mantle there was some good sage advice from the previous owners the top pieces of advice Errol would pass onto the new owner Byron Cummins and team:- “Become fully aware of the product lines sold; while learning as much as possible about the product lines available. Understand that customer service is the top priority. And pay creditors on the due date”.

And the best advice to keeping a business ticking over according to Gill? “Consistency is the key — as we have always been there for our customers. You should also maintain consistent pricing for as long as possible.” HMH have also made an effort to respond to customer requests for new product lines, and maintaining good stocks of popular products. As Errol states: “if you don’t have the product you can’t sell it.”

One of the biggest challenges for Errol and Gill had been that with minimum staff they have had limited opportunity to have time away from the business. “We were always very aware that if they were not open for business customers could go elsewhere. If they don’t buy an HMH solution, they will buy it from somebody else and with plenty of big corporate competition in the region that remains a reality. “That’s the biggest challenge of working in your own business — the total commitment to being available during working hours and dedication to the customer. The new team at HMH Ltd are very proud a few years on to say that this tradition and level of customer service has not waned at all and we get many compliments on being a great and friendly place to get looked after — “if you need it go to HMH they told me”! We are very pleased that this is a common statement!

So the fantastic tradition continues and even bigger and brighter changes are planned — new systems to improve customer service and satisfaction have been implemented — updates made to invoice procedure and a clean green aim to minimise paper waste and use electronic invoicing. Fantastic new lines and services are being introduced including the use of the latest in world standard of RFID tagging for all our compliance testing for traceability of assets, new agencies taken on expanding our range of winches with 4WD Winches and accessories from IRONMAN, the best quality for the trade vehicles with roof rack systems and accessories from RHINORACK – all this gear we can easily and quickly install for the customer.

Along with our main core lines of CHAIN AND RIGGING equipment we are bringing in top quality brands GUNNEBO, YOKE for chain fittings and ELEPHANT, & WELLCULIP for lifting gear, all the way through to PETZL, QSI and SINGING ROCK for height safety equipment. Quality is the key to safety and endurance and we continue the tradition of providing the best product for the job with sound and good advice to keep our customers safe and successful in their own workplaces under the guidance of our regulatory body LEENZ — Lifting Equipment Engineers NZ of which we are a full member.

Due to the quality of goods and services provided HMH Ltd are proud suppliers to : The Life Flight Trust — testing and certifying all their rescue equipment we are also a community partner with them sponsoring a rescue mission every year, NZ Defence force from winches and ropes for the LAVs to Swivel assemblies for the new Helicopters, NZ Police rescue — winches and ropes along with certification for their recovery gear to give an idea of the quality and respect our products and services have attained.

So in summary “It’s a great little business — and if it ain’t broken there’s no need to fix it”. But we have sharpened the team and systems to ensured continued growth and service to all our clientele — come on in and see what you might need! We love to help solve an issue or simply provide you the gear that’s best for you!

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