News Awards

Our Big Win

fi innovations — Winners of three categories, including the Supreme Award, at the 2021 Southland Business Excellence Awards.

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Our Big Win: 2021 Southland Business Excellence Awards

It’s fair to say, this past week has been an absolute whirlwind of emotions for our team here at Fi Innovations. After hearing our name called out not once, but three times, at the 2021 Southland Business Excellence Awards, we haven’t seen a face that’s not beaming from ear-to-ear around the workshop. Receiving the Supreme Award is an accolade we don’t take lightly - we’ve come away more determined than ever to stay on our journey that started as a pipe dream.

In all honesty, we’ve been pretty overwhelmed all the way through. When we were named as finalists for the Invercargill City Council Construction, Trades, Manufacturing & Distribution Award, and the Naked Creative Innovation Award, our jaws dropped. We kept reminding our team that it didn’t matter, win or lose, it was a massive achievement just to have gotten that far. We were so proud of what we had all achieved.

Despite all of the postponements due to Covid-19, Melissa and I were grateful to be able to attend the awards event on Friday night. Sadly, our incredible team who made it all possible couldn’t attend in person, but were able to watch via a live stream.

As each of our three awards was announced that night, we were totally blown away. It still hasn’t fully sunk in - the surreal feeling is just as humbling as it is motivational. For us, it not only recognition for all our commitment and hard work, but it reinforces that we’re heading in the right direction with our vision and everything that FI stands for. Taking home the Supreme Award for a second time confirms that we are keeping up the momentum.

In our awards application, we wanted to stress how making tough decisions had paid off for us. We also highlighted our ability to adapt, make the most of opportunities, maintain our commitment to quality, and above all, keep our customers at the centre of everything we do.

We started all of this in 2002, with one contract and one employee. Looking back, we never envisaged this level of growth, success, and ever-changing direction. At the same time, one thing has remained the same, and that’s our drive to be innovative and to quickly adjust to changing landscapes and environments.

Our big step into additive manufacturing began when Gareth took a trip to Germany in 2019 to attend FormNext, the world’s foremost 3D Printing trade show, to get a deeper understanding of this new technology. What started as curiosity soon transformed us into a multi-faceted, niche, and future-focused business. With the help of Government funding, we were able to invest in world-leading technology and expand beyond what we had ever imagined. The sky really has become the limit.

I know that we’re going against the grain by investing in additive manufacturing, which has for too long been an untapped market in New Zealand. Whether it’s timing, nerve, intellect or gut instinct that gave us the push to take the opportunity, we don’t have any regrets. With the way the world has become during the pandemic, what we can do at FI has filled an even bigger gap. We soon became a solution for many NZ manufacturers — a situation we never expected to find ourselves in, but it sure has worked out for us.

One of the biggest things we’ve learned is not to procrastinate when making decisions. If it’s the right choice, happy days. And if it’s not, then we learn from it and move on.

The other thing we learned early on was how valuable our staff are. They are the business’s biggest asset, and we want to continue to develop our team and inspire them to do great things.

As for where to from here, we have a few things up our sleeve. A new 600m2 building is going up to house our composites and fibreglass facility. This purpose-designed addition gives us the ability to manufacture world-class composite components.

As for everything else we have planned, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

11 Feb 2022 - 3D Printing_ 3D Design_ 3D Scanning_ Fiberglass and composites_ Resin Flooring_ Industrial Coatings_ Shipwright Boat Services_ Polymer Resin Casting_ River Table_ Rhino Linings_ Expanding Foam_ News Awards