Laying the foundations for his empire
When asked to describe her dad, Michelle Thompson says he’s the type of person that’s “always been able to turn his hand to anything,” and he’s unafraid to take a little risk. In 1979, that combination turned out to be the perfect foundation for starting a business.
It all began when farmer Lyndon and his team of three started building steel sheds to order.
Thompson Construction and Engineering continued to experience steady growth over the next 25+ years and in 2002, Lyndon’s sons Craig and Vaughan took over the running of the business.
Five years later, Michelle joined the family business too, as finance manager.
“I was worried I’d be lonely here in an office on my own, but that didn’t last very long,” Michelle laughs.
Today, the group spans three entities and is a major employer in Canterbury, South Canterbury and North Otago, with 115 full-time staff covering 3D design, steel fabrication, precast, construction and property management. And that’s just the beginning.
With the construction industry booming, the Thompson team has gone on to design and build everything from shopping centres and petrol stations to agricultural structures and medical centres. That’s great news for its bottom line, but more importantly, it means the company can help more clients and create new opportunities for its staff.
“When we talk about our future ambitions and the construction industry, things are driven by how everyone else is doing. The way we’ve always worked is to partner with clients that do well in their industries. And from that, by maintaining good relationships, we’re able to grow through their growth.”
It’s been a whirlwind of a journey over four decades — lots of change, lots of learnings – and recently, MYOB Advanced Business has become a crucial part of achieving future ambitions. Business partner Kilimanjaro Consulting supported the company to transition to MYOB Advanced Business in 2021, and it hasn’t looked back since.
Connecting projects to financial results
Over the past four decades, Thompson Construction and Engineering has grown in leaps and bounds. What started as made-to-order small steel sheds has flourished into one of South Canterbury’s largest design and construction companies.
Every year, the projects it’s secured get bigger and more complex, which means more machinery and more staff. MYOB Advanced Business has become a critical part of the company’s “next big step” in its growth journey.
“Our key focus is always on maintaining our high-quality work standard, supporting our clients and creating opportunities for our staff – and MYOB Advanced Business is helping us do that.”
With so many moving parts and people to track, Michelle says it was important the company found a system that could grow with it and connect its project management to its financial performance.
“The searching, filtering, ease of exporting and ability to configure it has been good, and we’ll continue to grow into the system and use it to its full potential.”
“The great thing about MYOB Advanced Business is it’s enabling us to be more analytical with our data. We can bring all our data to the surface in one system, in real-time, and use that to report on projects.”
Seamless project management and reporting
One of Thompson’s biggest challenges, as it’s scaled, is keeping a close eye on its project management.
With MYOB Advanced Business, it can collect data like labour hours in real-time, which informs management whether the team “needs to speed up or slow down,” Michelle explains.
“A real strength of MYOB Advanced Business is we’re able back-cost regularly with the most reliable data, which is critical because we rely on yesterday’s projects to price tomorrow’s.”
It also doesn’t matter how big or complex the project is. MYOB Advanced Business can manage project costs and budgets in a system that seamlessly integrates with financials.
“It’s super powerful, and I know that MYOB Advanced Business will remain a reliable core for our business down the track.”
Automated fleet and equipment maintenance
MYOB Advanced Business is also enabling the company to better track its fleet and equipment maintenance, something that, as it’s grown, has become “quite a thing”, Michelle says. Equipment or machinery delays can cost the company — and its clients — big time, but it doesn’t have to worry about that area of operations.
“With MYOB Advanced Business, we’re interfacing with various external data collection points through APIs, including Kynection for equipment management and on-site scheduling. We’re alerted when our vehicles and equipment are due for maintenance, and we’re able to allocate everything to a project in a timely manner.
“We’re able to collect data from our vehicles – kilometres they’ve travelled, hours of operation – and that information gets fed straight into our projects, which gives us a timely collection of operational costs as they’re charged.”
The future looks promising
When the world is teetering on the edge of financial hardship, it can be hard to avoid panicking about what the future holds. But Michelle is confident the business is in a good position to withstand the test of time — and that comes down to its reputation and the support of MYOB Advanced Business.
“I’m proud of everyone that works here and what our company has achieved. We’ve cultivated a reputation as a company and employer of choice in the region, and everyone who works at Thompson carries a sense of pride in that.
“So many people have brought so many different skills to the table. They want to achieve. They like to be on the best team. They like to be well-known and work for a company that has a strong culture and strong output, and some of that wouldn’t be possible without MYOB Advanced Business.
“Now, we are turning our attention to our smaller entities and beginning to move them on board as well. There has been some adapting to MYOB Advanced Business, but we wouldn’t want to go back.”