Quest Industries Ltd was started by Robert Cook, Managing Director, after developing a range of Wood Rim alloy-spoked Steering Wheels for the after-market, at his parents’ home. Robert then leased a small building on the outskirts of Palmerston North to allow him to develop his ideas further.
The market changed rapidly and the production of hand-stitched leather bound Steering Wheels began, but it was quickly obvious that demand exceeded production because of the large amount of labour required to produce each Steering Wheel.
The move into larger leased premises in Roxburgh Crescent, Palmerston North took place as the large machines needed a bigger space, and financial support at this time from a family member was greatly appreciated.
In 1972, Quest Industries Ltd was formally established as a specialist model, mould and tool-making operation. Experiments were carried out to make a Steering Wheel with a new material called polyurethane that had the look and feel of a leather covered Steering Wheel straight from the production mould, thus reducing the labour content. Sales were made in NZ and Australia.
Robert spent a lot of time communicating with manufacturers in Europe & the United States (via telephone back in those days!) and travelled to Austria to glean extensive and valuable knowledge from a company called FOHA (who are no longer in business). The Managing Director, Mr Johann Forstinger, treated Robert with much respect and was very generous sharing his knowledge.
What followed was the production of Polyurethane Spoilers for cars, followed by RIM & R-RIM Bumpers, Side Skirts and complete Styling Kits for cars, all of which were another success in both the New Zealand & Australian markets.
These products were supplied to the likes of H.S.V., Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi & Suzuki.
This larger product market necessitated another move in premises and in 1980 Quest moved to leased premises in Kelvin Grove Road, Palmerston North and this factory was eventually purchased by the Cook Family.
Sporting goods, including Kayak seats & the Powa Products’ rugby tackle bags & goal post covers/protectors, were also developed using this same polyurethane material, as was the QuestRest (incorporating affordable ergonomic wrist rest, typing support and mouse-pad for RSI, OOS and Carpal Tunnel sufferers). In addition, other products were made for various national and international companies, including Coca Cola drink dispensers and the TAB computer housing components.
Quest grew to become New Zealand’s leading designer and manufacturer of products moulded from polyurethane, employing 35 staff.
The vast majority of Quest’s output (90%) has always been exported, principally to Australia, where the company has built a reputation as an innovative manufacturer with an extraordinary capability to mould and design components for motor vehicles, components for cabinets to house scientific and medical technologies, and components for sports equipment. In recent times Quest has added customers in the USA and Malaysia to its client base.
To grow a business that exports over 90% of its output, Quest has highly skilled staff and has maintained systems to navigate the product development processes from initial concept, product design and tooling through to production and delivery, keeping the customers in the loop every step of the way.
Quest has modern factories totalling over 5,000 square meters, with a new additional factory being built in 2012. These factories are equipped with up-to-date production equipment.
Quest is a proud holder of registrations certifying that their Management Systems conform to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 (Quality Management Systems).
Robert has also made it a personal philosophy to maintain a global network with specialised manufacturers operating in the same or similar product ranges in countries around the world, where markets do not significantly overlap. He regularly visits these trusted colleagues to glean practical tips to increase standards of process control and maintain the historical rate of technological advancement upon which Quest has built its reputation, all of which have helped Quest maintain their position as a leader in their field.
Over Quest’s 40 year history, Robert has stewarded the development of the first Polyurethane Steering Wheel, the first Polyurethane Spoiler, the first RIM & R-RIM bumpers and has contributed practical and aesthetic expertise to the design of vehicles’ components for many car manufacturers.
Robert’s son, Will, has also played a big part in Quest’s development and has now acquired his own company, Topline Plastics, (www.toplineplastics.co.nz) a Rotational moulding business, and these two companies work alongside each other. Topline Plastics has some exciting products coming into the marketplace.
Together Quest Industries Ltd & Topline Plastics both look ahead to a bright and successful future with continued ongoing success.