Written on the 1 December 2017 by David Simmons

AFTER 125 years, the WridgWays name has become synonymous with the removalist industry in Australia.

But with 125 years of history comes the hangup of the old way of doing business. A legacy company like WridgWays is the exact model fresh startups is aiming to disrupt.

Kobus Fourie, managing director of WridgWays, is in the job to ensure this disruption doesn't happen.

His latest directive is to change the name of the company from Santa Fe WridgWays back to the known and loved Aussie brand WridgWays.

"WridgWays is an iconic Australian brand," says Fourie.

"We have moved more Australians into their new homes across this large country and internationally than any other relocation provider operating today."

The iconic company became known as Santa Fe WridWays in 2010 following integration with global relocation provider Santa Fe Group.

"We had customers asking if we were still the same WridgWays, and for us, the connection we have built over decades is what the WridgWays brand signifies in Australia."

This small change won't protect the group from disruption, but Fourie understands the need for innovation and change before newer players catch up.

Business News Australia spoke to Fourie about WridgWays' 125 years in business, the technological future of the brand, and his part in ensuring the company stays ahead of its competitors.

You're returning to your roots with this name and branding change what inspired this?

Often we identify a company for its greatness, and after acquisition, with incorporating that into a larger structure, sometimes you tend to lose a little bit of that original culture and what made the company great in the first place.

We did extensive market research, we get regular updates on feedback from our clients as well as from google analytics and we recognised that probably two thirds of searches for our company online still are directed as the WridgWays brand name.

The company has a very celebrated 125 years of history how has the group managed to stick around for so long? What's the secret do you think?

Throughout the years there's been extensive investment in infrastructure.

There's value in owning a large portion of the infrastructure, so that's something that the group has done.

We've got a very strong reputation - people on the street, the general public, our clients - everybody's got a fond memory somewhere in history where they've dealt with WridgWays and I think that it most certainly carried the brand for 125 years.

We have the challenge now to make it relevant and take it to the future but most certainly I think our predecessors have done a great job to build a very strong brand over many years.

What is the group doing to remain competitive in an increasingly tech based economy?

Most certainly the environment is changing as we know, it's becoming a more global.

The benefit we have is that we are part of the larger network as well. We believe that we cannot just sit back on our laurels and hope that we can repeat history if we don't try and take steps now to set us up for the future.

That's most certainly what we are currently doing, as I mentioned there are investments in finance and money in various technologies and innovative products and solutions.

What challenges do you think older companies like WridgWays are currently facing from disruptive startups?

I think there are a large number of them that might be doing particularly well now but from my perspective we need to disrupt ourselves.

We need to be the disruptors of our industry. most certainly that is my ambition and our goal is to really go to market with new and different ways of doing things better, smarter, most cost effective, more efficient.

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Business News Australia

Author: David Simmons





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