Wanganui Enterprises' new management team has experienced something of a baptism of fire as they have been finding their feet amidst managing a rise in local Covid-19 cases and supply shortages.
Production manager Stewart Mead and operations manager Steve Rhodes replaced long servers Chris and Denny Allen who both retired in December last year leaving big shoes to fill said, Mead.
Mead is an engineer with almost 20 years of experience working at Mars Petcare and is a former Arahunga School board of trustees chairman.
Rhodes formerly worked for GDM Retail and has taught popular community woodwork classes in Whanganui.
He was shoulder-tapped for the Wanganui Enterprises role and said he's happy to be there.
"At the moment we are dealing with supply chain issues and a reduced crew," Mead said.
"It is a bit like a rubber band that's being overstretched to try and fill orders on some days and on others we don't have the supplies we need to fill orders."
Wanganui Enterprises, a charitable trust formed in 1979, provides training and employment in its London St factory, producing wood and metal products that are sold around New Zealand.
They were the winners of the 2021 ACC Attitude Employer Award for being an employer that provides outstanding recruitment and retention opportunities for people with disabilities.
Keeping the workforce safe during the Covid-19 Omicron outbreak is a number one priority for management at the moment and everyone who enters the building has their temperature checked at the door.
"We've had to be very insistent about people staying home if they are feeling unwell," Mean said.
"It's not easy sometimes because we have such a keen workforce."
Despite the current setbacks, the team has managed to fill orders for their popular Five Star dog kennels and runs as well as for garden trellis and planters.
"We're not getting too far behind despite the worker shortage and supply chain issues," Rhodes said.
"We have completed 56 kennels since I've been here and some of those were quads."
Mead and Rhodes are supported by office manager Sharon Ginder who has been in the job for just over a year and Russell Bell has provided interim support as acting manager during the transition.
Wanganui Enterprises has a regular team of around 40 workers who either stay long-term or move on to other employment after training.
Most workers are referred from Workbridge Whanganui and employment consultant Jan Lawton said there is a pattern designer she is hoping to refer when the Covid-19 risk has reduced.
Lawton nominated Wanganui Enterprises for the Attitude Award and said the win was well deserved as they are one of the biggest and longest-serving employers of people with disabilities in Aotearoa.
Mead said the trust was an evolving business and he looks forward to exploring some new ideas with the team when circumstances change.
"There is a legacy of previous successes and we want to capitalise on those and explore the potential for some new ones," he said.