GDM Group

Multi-million dollar company the perfect fit for Wanganui

With a vision to become the leading supplier of retail solutions in Australasia, this Wanganui business is all about finding the right fit.

GDM Group was founded in 1978 by Managing Director, Michael Eden. Over thirty years on, the company is a multi-million dollar, award-winning business committed to providing leading Australasian retailers with innovative retail systems and fixtures on which to display their merchandise.

Display fixtures – custom-made, standard or a combination of both, are used to effectively merchandise apparel, beverages, DIY and building supplies, electronics, giftware, homeware, pharmaceuticals, stationery and books, toys and more. Bulk retailers and those looking for attention-arresting point of sale and signage fixtures are also well served.

Included in its expanding client portfolio are a number of large Australasian retail chains including Carters, Hallensteins / Glassons, Farmers Trading Company, Noel Leeming, Dick Smith, Warehouse Stationery, Kathmandu, Paper Plus, Liquorland and ITM.

GDM Group started out as a small light engineering and decorative metalwork business and today has grown to employ over 50 staff members with sales offices in Auckland and Sydney.

The company’s Wanganui headquarters, where the majority of its employees are based, is where products are designed, developed, prototyped and manufactured in the 7000 square metre factory complex.

Michael says that the company’s carefully managed expansion over the years is largely due to the significant investment made in infrastructure. “Our design team is using the latest software and computer modeling systems available. Some of our more significant investments include a state-of-the-art laser, press brake equipment, CNC and the installation of an inline powder coating system,” says Michael.

To meet demand and to supply affordable retail solutions, the company also has a factory in China, where New Zealand based members of staff travel regularly to monitor product design interpretation and quality standards.

In more recent years the company has adopted a Lean Manufacturing programme, whereby waste is reduced in all areas and which Michael says, promotes continuous improvement of manufacturing excellence in every aspect of the business.

“When I saw my first lean factory I had to have it. The efficiencies created from this approach to manufacturing really do add a huge percentage to the bottom line and I believe every company could benefit from the adoption of lean principles,” he says.

Forward thinking ideas such as this is what continues to drive the business forward, bringing it closer to its much larger goals. Michael says that the company has been built on strategic partnerships and strong relationships, of which Markhams Wanganui is a foundation partner.

GDM Group’s relationship with Markhams began “long before they were Markhams,” says Michael. “Brian Rhodes was my father’s accountant and we worked for several years with Brian and subsequently with Jeff Whitlock, for over 20 years.

Michael adds that the company has grown to look after its own internal accounts while Jeff overviews these and provides business advice, drawing Michael’s attention to anything not as it should be. “There is huge comfort around Jeff’s core competencies. He has made it his business to have a very good understanding of our business and sees it with fresh eyes.”

In 2004, 2005 and 2009 GDM Group won business awards for manufacturing and exporting, and it is to these standards (and higher) the company continues to strive for into the future.

Published Winter 2011.

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