Driving positive change: LT McGuinness’ commitment to supplier diversity

27th Feb 2023, by Diane Bergan

LT McGuinness, a long-standing family-owned construction company has been working to improve supplier diversity in partnership with Amotai, to help unlock opportunities for Māori and Pasifika businesses.

Registering with Amotai in January 2021, LT McGuinness recognised the importance of building a more diverse supply chain but also saw an opportunity to support smaller, minority owned businesses.

“As family-owned business, it’s really clear to see that LT McGuinness have strong social values and want to be connected to the communities they work in, ” says Karewa Arthur, Amotai Supplier Diversity Lead for Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

“It’s a real example of how everyone can benefit from supplier diversity - Amotai suppliers benefit from having an opportunity to get in front of a well-known tier one construction company, and LT McGuinness benefits from building a wider pool of businesses to work with.”

An important partnership

The teams at Amotai and LT McGuinness meet on a six-weekly basis to determine what projects they have coming up and where there might be opportunities for Amotai suppliers.

“This partnership provides a model for other companies in the construction industry and beyond to get involved in supplier diversity,” says Karewa.

“By working together, we’re able to increase the contract value for Amotai businesses, help create jobs for underrepresented groups and support small businesses to flourish. We couldn’t do it without proactive buyers like this who are prepared to go the extra mile.”

Karewa Arthur - Supplier Diversity Lead, Te Whanganui-a-Tara

A classic example

One recent success story involves LT McGuinness partnering with Amotai to source suppliers for Victoria University’s Living Pā Project.

An ambitious undertaking, the project’s vision wasn’t just about removing a marae and redeveloping 42 to 50 Kelburn Parade - they were seeking to meet the internationally recognised Living Building Challenge for sustainable development principles.

Max Christian, Compliance Manager at LT McGuinness explains that as part of the Living Building Challenge, they were tasked with appointing 20% of contracts in either the design and construction phase to minority or what they consider ‘JUST’ businesses.

“Working in collaboration with Amotai we were able to award six significant contracts during the construction phase ranging from carpentry and scaffolding through to fire services and arborist work,” says Max.

“For us, we were able to reach the target and we also got to know a group of new potential businesses that we will continue to engage with on future projects.”

Providing a helping hand

Dan McGuinness is the 3rd generation owner and Director at LT McGuinness understands the challenges for smaller businesses to qualify for large contracts and acknowledges that it’s their responsibility to stand up and lead in this space.

“It’s not easy for small businesses to scale up and we’re always looking for ways to remove barriers – whether that’s through informal mentoring during the tendering process or identifying how we can ease cash flow issues by adjusting our payment terms,” says Dan.

“Where an Amotai business hasn’t been awarded work, we provide feedback to them about how they can build their capacity and improve their competitiveness for future tenders.”

With a diverse team at LT McGuinness, this is seen as an opportunity to develop strong links and give back to Māori & Pasifika communities.

“It’s part of our DNA to want to support smaller businesses and we’re invested in making this work,” says Dan.

“At the end of the day, we’re only as good as our supply chain so it makes sense to build a roster of fantastic Māori & Pasifika owned businesses that we can call on.”

Get involved

With a pipeline of large construction projects coming up for LT McGuinness, Dan urges business to get involved with Amotai and attend their buyer events.

“I think in general kiwis want to give people a helping hand so don’t be afraid to get in front of buyers and start developing those relationships,” says Dan.

“We’re starting to see a groundswell in supplier diversity – it’s not just a moral and ethical responsibility, it also makes good business sense.”

Dan McGuinness, Director

Dan McGuinness, Director