Building the Australian caravanning dream in Caboolture

Roy Wyss on finding the right staff

When Roy Wyss speaks about caravans, his passion is obvious. He’s dedicated the past 13 years to building a business that creates high-quality caravans from a family-owned and operated factory in Caboolture, Queensland.

“I love the fact that this is really about a style of life,” Roy says. “You know, a motor car is a mode of transport. Caravans are about enjoying a totally different form of lifestyle.”

Sunland Caravans has built its reputation around creating caravans that are suitable for the harsh Australian conditions. Their products are designed to help Australians get out and see as much as possible of their amazing back yard, and visit the places they’ve always wanted to visit without the restrictions of staying on the bitumen.

Roy’s passion has helped him to build the business from the ground up, and he now employs more than 40 people from the local area. Fittingly, the business’ mantra is ‘quality is simply a matter of pride’.

Operating a successful business doesn’t come without its challenges, however.

The challenge of finding the right staff

“Our biggest problem here in Queensland is that because it’s a very low manufacturing base—most of the manufacturing is done in Victoria—getting staff is a real problem,” Roy says.

According to figures from Australian Jobs 2016, as of November 2015 nearly 270,000 people were employed in the manufacturing industry in Victoria, whereas in Queensland that figure was just over 171,000.

The big employing industries in Queensland are health care and social assistance, retail trade and construction, which together account for one third of state employment.

What’s more, it’s important to Roy as Managing Director that the people he employs have the right cultural fit for the business, and align with the organisation’s values.

“The type of people that we’re looking for are not necessarily skilled in the specific areas that we require them to be here on the factory floor, but they’ve got to have an open mind,” Roy says.

“They’ve got to have a good mindset, a good work ethic. They’ve got to be people that are reliable, but most important of all, they’ve got to be people that want to achieve something fantastic.”

Looking beyond the résumé for a cultural fit

In order to help keep up with the staffing demands of the business, Roy connected with Matchworks, a local jobactive provider. Matchworks worked with Roy to identify what his business needs, and then screened local candidates to find someone who would be the right fit for the job.

“What Matchworks have done is they have listened to what it is we need, and then they vet their people, and they’ve actually been smart enough to look beyond what their current work practices have been—to look at what skills we could adapt to or they could adapt to us. This has been a very good synergy for us,” Roy says.

Matchworks connected Roy with job seeker Tony, who had been unemployed for a while and had some difficulties finding work, and who also turned out to be perfect for the business.

“Tony comes from a totally different type of background. Tony had actually been unemployed for a number of years and was finding it really hard to get back into the workplace. He’s now assimilated himself nicely in here. The type of work that he’s doing today, he’s enjoying it.”

The match has been beneficial for employer and job seeker alike.

Keeping ahead of the competition

With a good workforce behind it, Roy’s business has been able to do something that’s a little bit different from its competitors, one of the factors that keeps it going strong in the local region.

Sunland Caravans manufactures many of the components that make up the caravan including the chassis, cabinetry, upholstery and many other exclusive components—rather than just buying all of the components to assemble the completed product. Roy and the team have listened to their customers and have built something that responds to their needs.

“We’re building a product from the ground up. And when you step back and you look at that, it’s something you can be truly proud of. Something we enjoy.”

As the business goes from strength to strength, it has stayed true to its family values.

“It’s a family business, so we encourage the family environment. We’ve got a lot of long-term staff here that now have their children working here and doing apprenticeships and so forth in the business,” Roy says.

“Look, I absolutely love what I’m doing. I love the concept of starting with nothing and building something up. I love the fact that what we’re doing is world class. We are producing here in Caboolture with these guys a world class product. I find that very motivating.”

Connect with jobactive to find the fight fit for your business

jobactive providers like Matchworks operate in more than 1700 locations across Australia. A local jobactive provider can offer you tailored recruitment services in line with your business needs, at no cost to you. To find someone who is the right fit for your business, contact your local jobactive provider today.