Patchell Group announces redundancies following industry downturn

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 15, 2020

The Patchell Group of Companies has announced 24 roles will be made redundant to help the company manage the financial pressures brought about by the current global economic situation.

“Our principal market is within the logging industry, which has been impacted significantly, with reduced volumes and a number of crews laid off or working at reduced capacity,” said chief executive Brent Whibley. “This has meant less demand for our equipment. On a daily basis we are communicating with customers who are requesting delays to upcoming builds or full cancellations. We have also had to manage the cancellation of completed builds. This puts a huge strain on operational viability.”

Whibley said the restructure was not something the company ever wanted to do, as its staff had been critical in maintaining the company‘s status as the number one trailer manufacturer in New Zealand.

“However, if we do not react we could find it difficult to manage a wider downturn, especially if the full health impact of Covid-19 reaches the New Zealand workforce.”

The company‘s management team had implemented a number of cost reduction strategies to mitigate the impact of the downturn, and the staff had also contributed a number of workable solutions that were being implemented. Another large local manufacturer has offered some fabrication work to help their business through a backlog, a move Whibley said was positive as it highlighted there were a number of sectors that were still buoyant within the New Zealand economy.

“We understand the impact this will have on the families involved and the flow-on effect into the local economy. The company prides itself in being a significant employer of Rotorua people. The ramifications of making such decisions have been well considered. Patchell Group would not be where it is today without the dedication and hard work of employees. Should it become apparent in the coming months that further difficult decisions may be required, we will consult with our staff throughout to ensure that they receive the support they need as we go through the process.”

Whibley said overall the company was positive that this cycle would be overcome and the markets would bounce back.

“Our challenge is to remain viable and be ready to respond to an economic uplift,” he said.