Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 28

I find our system works really
well: 'It's your job; you see it
through. If you want help, you
get the other team members in
the factory to come and give you
a hand.' So that's our point of
difference. I think that's where
we turn the work over quicker.

28 REVIEW MAY 2019

AWARD WINNERS
Along with its growth into diverse markets, Charman has expanded from four to
11 employees. One of the achievements
Buglass is most proud of is that, after
starting as an apprentice himself, he has
trained 17 apprentices, four of whom have
been honored with Apprentice of the Year
awards from the Outdoor Fabric Products
Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ).
The apprenticeships are facilitated through
New Zealand's Motor Industry Training
Organization (MITO). Following a threemonth trial, apprentices undertake about
three years of on-the-job training and
correspondence and online work. But
despite the robust apprenticeship program,
the business's primary challenge is finding
employees, Buglass says.
"There's no one out there, hence that's
why we train our own," he says. "If I
want to get more staff in, the challenge is
getting someone with a background in this
industry. Even if they've just got a bit of
knowledge, it would help, and then we'll
train them our way."
While some employees are cross-trained,
most specialize in a particular market

segment. And on any job, the employee
working on the project is responsible for all
stages from start to finish.
"The customer goes to that one person;
they're not talking to five or six different
people or going through the office," he says.
"I find our system works really well: 'It's
your job; you see it through. If you want
help, you get the other team members in
the factory to come and give you a hand.' So
that's our point of difference. I think that's
where we turn the work over quicker."
A CUSTOM APPROACH
With two boat builders in the same industrial area as the Charman factory, the company has grown from fabricating boat covers
into custom seating, carpeting, bimini tops
and other projects.
"We have HF plates with the customers'
logos on it, and we emboss into the vinyl
their branding name on each seat," he says.
"We have all the dyes made up especially
for them. The branding gives it that
professional look, when you see the logo on
the outside of the boat, and then the logo
pressed into the vinyl seating."
Charman's has also recently patterned
and installed SeaDekĀ® boat flooring. "And
we have just completed New Zealand's
largest pontoon SeaLegs boat fit-up, on a SL
1170 Senator, with custom seating, lining
walls and SeaDek."
On the shade side, the craftsman whose
specialty is shade sails has introduced
the use of 3D imaging into the process of
selling the job.
"If you have a proper 3D image of the
house, the property and the sail, it looks
so much nicer," Buglass says. "We find
that connecting to our audience on social
media helps. And our website is updated
all the time."
Whatever the market, the craftsmen and
craftswomen of Charman Motor Trimmers
take a custom approach.
"Everything we make is handmade,"
Buglass says. "The customer might come



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