Bowens - The Builders Choice

As is the way in these strange times, I am spending most of the working week concerning myself with the weighty issues burdening my team. The tone of this new world seems a bit heavy, Bowens is no different than most other workplaces. People are running in circles; emotions are frayed and life has developed mysterious complications.  

My own enthusiasm is regularly exhausted as I search for answers … and then, every so often, a person or event comes along and lifts me out of my seat.  

Two years ago Trevor Millson, a splendid member of our timber yard at the Taylors Lakes Branch, returned to Bowens following a short hiatus. Around the same time, the facility manager concluded many of the store’s operational standards weren’t at the level he expected. Enter our hero, Trev.  

With generous assistance from an extensive supporting cast, Trevor took on the newly formed role of ‘mentor’. His job was to work one-on-one with our yard staff, helping them to understand and execute ‘The Bowens Way’, a document we use to outline the operational standards our business strives to achieve. Our main man did such a good job that eighteen months later an award was struck in his honour. It was an acknowledgement of the difference he has made to the yard team’s working habits and, importantly, their willingness to support each other on the bad days, as well as the good. 

For Bowens to earn our customers’ continuing favour we must get the basics right, every time. No short cuts. And this is almost impossible to achieve without an engaged group. Thanks to Trev, we have just that.

Every month each Bowens store brings its team together to discuss business priorities and share recent experiences. A theme in March, across the company, has been the need to focus on the ‘simple things’. Trevor was invited to address the Taylors Lakes’ crew; a guest speaker, of sorts. He was asked to highlight the ‘Bowens Way’, the improvements the store has made and where the current focus needs to be. He asked if he could add his own ‘bit’ at the end.  

I would like to share Trevor’s words (below). To help understand some of the points made, I should clarify the Bowens Values he has referenced: EPIC FunExcellence, Pride, Integrity, Care and Fun.  

Over to Trev – 

Hi there everybody, good morning. Greetings. Just would like to say a few things about the unexpected Cup named in my honour, it still feels strange to me, it’s still taking me time to adjust to it, it highlights the five Bowens Values … of what we do for the company in our everyday way of life at the Taylors Lakes Branch.  

I had no say in this award, I just put my head down, arse up and get the job done – keep customers happy both in the timber yard and onsite. The credit goes to Tristan our boss for arranging the award.   

With the Excellence part, when dealing with customers try to offer different alternatives in building products, nine times out of ten you might have made a sale. 

Now with the Pride part, I’m bringing something unique to the team. Some people don’t know this but I used to be around house building since I was six years old, onsite, then as I got older I’d spend every weekend at display home villages while my dad worked getting new sales in. Building houses with the surname Millson officially started with my grandfather, Monty, who launched Millson Homes and then my dad who ran Glenty Homes and now, another offshoot, Orbit Homes, run by my second cousins. 

I’ve seen how houses get built at every stage, five hundred times over, I’m here to help. Even if you have a silly or stupid question, put it out there, I should be able to help you in getting the job done.  

Now, with the Integrity part I’ve found if you f@#k up be honest with managers, tell the truth, don’t keep it bottled up. Discussion is the key to get a positive solution, I’ve been there and done it.  

Onto Care. If in the yard / door shed / hardware showroom, always look after each other.  

The Fun part. I’ve always done this over the years working at two Bowens stores, Taylors Lakes and Epping. I’ve made lots of friends, either through the yard or onsite. If you make a customer happy they will return, like busting your arse unloading building materials by hand off a truck by yourself, nine times out of ten with no one at the site to help, or if in the yard strapping what materials they have purchased to their car (not roof racks, that is a no-no).  

One last thing, each year this award will be given out to a person or persons who display all the five Bowens Values and they will receive a medal and have their name go on the cup. Last year’s winners were Ziyad, our yard foreman, and Stephen, our Operations Manager. It is time for my workmates to create their own legacy. And one thing I’ve enjoyed too is there aren’t many 4th generation businesses that have been around for 125 years. 

We love Trevor and those like him who lift the spirits of so many. 

John Bowen 

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