The summit homes group based in Perth has been rated as one of the best places to work in Australia by different magazines for a number of years. The company has close to 40 years of experience in the home building sector and employs more than 200 staff. The longevity of the firm and continued success in a competitive industry marks it out for a closer scrutiny to learn the secrets of its success.
The history of Summit Homes can be traced to the founder, John Simpson who is reclusive by nature, with little information known about him. Simpson started out in the construction industry from his early days as a valuer working for the Agricultural Bank in Tasmania in the 1960’s. (AFR, 2014).This was the foundation for a life-long interest in the home building industry. Partnering with the National Westminster Bank in the mid-sixties, his first project was a 1740-hectare development in Rockingham. An anonymous building partner joined him the early 1980’s to form Summit Homes. This partner was bought out bought out in the 1990’s together with the bank, leaving the full ownership to Simpson.
Summit Homes group is a wholly owned by the Simpson’s family with his son David running it as the managing director. (About us, 2016). Some of the milestones in its history include:
Summit homes group operates with several subsidiaries under the umbrella group, with each subsidiary specializing in a particular segment of the home builders market. Capitalizing on the economies of scale available through in-house units to provide services within the group is at the core of its operations.( Hayek & Klausinger, 2012). Fragmenting the group into divisions, each run competently and independently has contributed to the development of key competencies within each division.
The organizational culture is founded on the view that all the staff take each potential home as their own. The staff is motivated with a program that includes birthday celebration, paid training and bi-monthly social event.( Price, 2014). A third of the women working at Summit Homes are in the leadership cadres. The group employs staff who are passionate about houses and who can channel this passion into customer delivery. Each subsidiary is run with a latitude of independence but within the wider scope of the group, to achieve the overall organizational success of the group. his can be seen in the different subsidiary units each being nominated for awards of excellence individually and as a group.
The founder of Summit Homes as a founding visionary saw the potential of the growth that would come in the home building market and positioned Summit Homes accordingly.( Herrick, 2012). With foresight, he started to invest in land, as a future opportunity for development and also for speculation. In 2008 he purchased a 200-hectare farm for $14.5 million, on the outskirts of Melbourne. When the government announced the proposal to build a $340 million freight terminal on the site later in the course of the year, Simpson stood to make a good return on his investment. As of 2014, Summit Homes had 2000-lot land bank, in addition to 10,000 houses constructed on more than 1800 hectares of land.
The group is renowned for being innovative in its product offerings, offering unique products for different customers.(Department of Commerce, 2014). There is a unique offering for first time buyers, for those renovating as well as for developers. The years of market experience has been instrumental in recognizing gaps in the delivery of products, and the innovation of new products to fill those gaps. The first-time home buyers is spoilt for choice with a bewildering array of offers from which to chose from, leading many of them to make bad choices in their first home.( HIFG,2016). Easy start homes is tailored for the first time buyer navigating the uncharted waters of the property market and the confusion it can bring.( Landgate, 2016). First time buyers are given professional advice on the best product for them, as well as a $15,000 cash back offer.
Summit Development Corporation is tasked with developing both large and small scale developments for small and large investors. The Combined Property Settlement Agency is involved in conveyance and preparing of settlement contracts, within the group and also for external customers. Strata living is exclusively concerned with developing strata plots for the client. This was the opportunity recognition of the need to craft a unique product for clients wishing to develop plots with rear strata. To ensure quality standards in the material used, the group has invested in acquiring units to provide materials such as steel fabrication, ceiling products amongst others.
Summit Homes has taken a strategic decision to focus its operations in Western Australia and has further divided the market segment into the North and South.( ABS. 2016). Summit Homes North West and South West are involved in the distinct areas with peculiar and unique geography that calls for unique product offers for each area. The realization that the difference in the terrain requires a unique approach to each area has helped in adopting a new strategy within the group. The research and development division has crafted product offerings in line with the topography of the north and the south.
The CSR approach of Summit Homes has endeared the group to new and existing clients. Partnering with Channel 9, Summit homes intervenes to give a deserving family of WA a home make over a new beginning in life. Matt and Kim to the rescue is a premier program supported by Summit Homes as part of its CSR to give back to the community. ( Matt and Kim, 2015).This gives it an advantage over its competitors due to the positive image it derives from this program. The program is quite emotional and forms a bond on the human level and shows the humane side of the business group.
The other advantage of Summit Homes is the turn key turn-around time of its projects. ( Kaufman & Panni, 2014).The customer is guaranteed that the product will be delivered on time. The use of its sub-divisions such Backbone steel and peak ceilings means that there will be no delays in delivery, as opposed to using external suppliers. Having its own factories that tailor specific products such as trusses and panels, has resulted in a “from factory to site” philosophy which other builders may not be able to achieve. The consistency of the quality of products is also maintained by using its internal divisions which work in synergy for the overall delivery of the group.
The future still looks relatively optimistic for Summit Homes in the next few years as the economy is still performing strongly. The strong economy of WA is a factor to consider in projecting the performance of the group. Potential home buyers can only buy when they are economically secure and founded on a strong state economy.
The point of market saturation of homes has not yet been reached and there is still a net shortfall in the supply of houses in WA.( Wikie, 2015). A new strategy would be required to diversify its operations to other states in anticipation of the saturation equilibrium that will be reached in the not so distant future. Currently confined to WA, launching into other states will widen its market reach and open new markets for its products. The entry into the new markets should be undertaken maximizing its key competencies in each new state drawing on its 40 years of experience.
Another key consideration would be to go public and list on the stock exchange. Selling shares to the public would result in new streams of capital being unlocked for its projects, well as reducing the liability associated with being a totally private entity.( Herold, 2014). New investors will bring on board a fresh injection of ideas, direction and capital.
In conclusion, Summit Homes Group has shown resilience in its operations over a period of 40 years. The historical background laid a strong foundation for its future organizational success and was instrumental in shaping its characteristic. The process of opportunity recognition led to the diversification at the group, division development and the resultant advantages that came with it. The future looks optimistic if the current macro indicators of WA remain stable. Changing the shareholding within the group would be advisable for the long-term success of the group in the industry.
About us. (2017) Summit Homes Group. Retrieved from Summit Homes Online https://www.summithomesgroup.com.au.about-us. Accessed April 4.2017
BRW Rich 200 List 2014:107, John Simpson. (2014). AFR. Retrieved from https://www.afr.com
Buiding Activity Australia (2016). Australia Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.abs.gov.au Accessed April4.2017.
Construction Industry Statistics. (2014) Department of Commerce. Retrieved from https://www.commerce.go.au Accessed April 4.2017.
First Home Buyers Holding up Housing construction Activity. (2016).Housing Industry Forecasting Group. Retrieved from https://www.planning.gov.au
Herold, T. (2014). Financial terms dictionary: Terminology plain and simple explained. Fairfax, VA: Self-published.
In Kaufmann, H. R., & In Panni, M. F. A. K. (2014). Handbook of research on consumerism in business and marketing: Concepts and practices. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
Matt and Kim to the Rescue. (2016). Matt and Kim Town. Retrieved from https://www.mattandkim.com Accessed April 4.2017.
Price, J. (2015).Summit Home Work Environment. WA Today. Retrieved from https://www.watoday.com.au.
Property Statistics. (2014). Landgate. Retrieved from https://wwwO.landgate.wa.go.au
Wikie, Dan. (2015).Builders incentivized to meet market. Business News WA. Retrieved from https://www.businessnews.com.au Accessed April 4.2017.
Hayek, F. A., & Klausinger, H. (2012). Business cycles. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Herrick, D. F. (2012). Media management in the age of giants: Business dynamics of journalism. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
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