Best Sheds and Stone Homes (Best Sheds) is a market-leading Australian company that manufactures and sells high-quality steel sheds and garages, delivering customers the best possible value for money. The company has grown considerably since its formation in 2012 and is now headed by CEO, Thomas Chacko, an innovative, experienced, and hardworking leader. As a result of his impressive accomplishments within Best Sheds, Thomas has won Most Influential Shed Manufacturing and Sales CEO in the Most Influential CEO Awards 2023. Here, we speak to Thomas to discover more about the success of the business.
With combined experience equal to over 150 years, Best Sheds and Stone Homes is an Australian family business owned by Dennis McFadden and it is one of the world’s largest independent manufacturers and sellers of steel sheds and garages. Most of the shed components are locally manufactured in Port Kembla, Australia, and are sold in a kit form, directly to the customer with a 20-year warranty. With no middleman, Best Sheds is able to sell its products at competitive prices, so customers can trust that they will be paying the lowest possible price for the best quality shed.
Since its establishment in 2012, Best Sheds has achieved organic growth, with its revenue and earnings increasing steadily year-on-year. As the leading manufacturer of sheds in Australia operating a direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales model, Best Sheds has captured the market share from competitors who largely generate sales through intermediary arrangements. This has been supported by the company’s promotional pricing strategy, which involves consistently pricing products at over 20% lower than competing brands.
Delivering both quality and value to customers across Australia, Best Sheds aims to become the number one shed company in the world. To achieve this goal, the company must be headed by a driven leader who is not afraid to tackle the challenge of maintaining profitability while continuing to offer enticing, competitively priced products.
In 2018, Thomas Chacko joined the company as CFO and, after just six months in the role, was appointed CEO of the business. With over 25 years of experience including prominent Australian brands such as BlueScope Steel, Downer EDI, Fletcher Buildings, and Viadux – Reece, Thomas is well versed in the challenges of leadership, having worked in various managerial positions throughout his career. He is known for his ability to align teams with a business strategy and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to increase market share and profitability.
Born in a remote village in South India, Thomas lost his father at the age of 8. He believes working through this extremely challenging experience so early in his life made him the resilient and determined person he is today. After migrating to Australia from India in 1999, Thomas worked in various accounting roles while achieving tertiary and professional qualifications such as his MBM and CPA. Throughout his career, Thomas has always been dedicated to working with integrity and excellence. Thomas says on the topic, “I enjoy my work and contribute to the best of my ability. I have always aimed to be a happy, productive, and valuable member of any team I work for.”
When he was appointed the CEO of Best Sheds, Thomas was thrilled to take on the exciting new responsibilities that came with the role. “As Chief Executive, I lead all operations and strategic direction, with full responsibility for bottom line factors, including setting up safety systems and processes, developing and implementing long-term and short-term strategic plans, driving market share growth, increasing productivity, reducing waste, and developing IT infrastructure,” Thomas explains. “I also provide cross functional management support of the manufacturing, sales, commercial, finance, and IT departments. As well as this, I oversee the company’s 100 employees and am responsible for the revenue of the entire Best Sheds and Stone Homes group.” The three key portfolios in the business (Sales, Logistics, and Manufacturing) are run by visionary and driven family members (Graham, Michael, and Steve), making the decision-making process within the business smooth and efficient.
Thomas is proud to be responsible for the continuous development of the business and has contributed towards its increasing success in many ways. For example, he has been successful in working with the COO, Steve in improving manufacturing efficiency at Best Sheds through the development of skills matrices and the introduction of new technologies. The company now utilises a lean manufacturing method of production, which is designed to reduce the time taken to produce items and increase supply chain efficiency. Additionally, the manufacturing plant is now largely automated, reducing waste and further heightening efficiency.
In order to reduce expenditure, Thomas has led procurement strategies with the director of logistics, Michael, aiming to reduce the procurement costs of materials and efficiency in transport fleet. The company purchases steel through multiple local distributors that source a percentage of materials through cost-effective Asian imports. This strategy benefits customers because it enables Best Sheds to offer significant discounts, leading to increased market share and boosting profitability.
Thomas strongly believes that mid-level managers are the key drivers to achieving business goals. Effective leadership at all levels is important for the success of the whole company, which is why recruitment of middle management is crucial. New hires for these positions must be reliable, possess the correct skillset, and display commitment to the position. Thomas comments, “All middle managers are expected to develop desired leadership behaviours that align with the company’s vision and values. The 360-degree feedback process then helps them understand the extent to which their own behaviour matches the desired behaviour.”
Aiming to develop a team that tightly aligns with the organisational objective, Thomas utilises his skills to foster an environment for both business and individual success in the workplace. To create a productive workforce, employees at Best Sheds are paid based on their performance. This increases employee retention, motivates staff to work hard, and makes them feel that their efforts are rewarded. With quality leadership and high performance at all levels of the business, Best Sheds’ efficiency and productivity as a team is reflected in its revenue. Thomas adds, “As a CEO of the business, I work for every section in the business by providing resources, business intelligence, and regular feedback to ensure all sections of the business succeed.”
In terms of boosting sales and revenue, Thomas is experienced in brand equity and personality building. He works with the passionate and visionary sales director, Graham; engineering partner, Venn Engineering; and marketing partner, Barking Dog Marketing to identify and develop marketing strategies which effectively promote the brand to the intended customer base. Throughout his career, he has mastered various strategies to ensure cost-effective digital and traditional marketing techniques, which he has utilised to expand the reach of Best Sheds’ brand.
Furthermore, Thomas is passionate about customer service and works to ensure a smooth experience for anyone who purchases from Best Sheds. To do this, he has collaboratively worked with the sales leadership team to introduce various new technologies to enhance the customer experience, for example a user-friendly online shed designing tool. He also understands the importance of maintaining an easy-to-use website, which is the company’s main source of sales.
In his personal life, Thomas is a church-going Catholic who is frequently involved in community initiatives. He is the director of his local Lions Club, an organisation dedicated to serving the community. Thomas strongly believes his discipline, honesty, faith, and belief have made him resilient and capable of facing challenges in all aspects of his life. Supported by his beloved family, he always strives to be a better person, which positively impacts his leadership in the workplace.
As a result of Thomas’ dedication to Best Sheds and Stone Homes, the company is currently thriving, experiencing rapid growth as revenues continue to increase. For this reason, Thomas Chacko has won Most Influential Shed Manufacturing & Sales CEO in the Most Influential CEO Awards 2023. With a genuine passion for leadership, Thomas will no doubt lead Best Sheds to achieve its goal of becoming the number one shed company in the world. Moving forwards, he strives to facilitate the further geographical expansion of the company, continuously working to boost its productivity, efficiency, and sales.
For business enquiries, contact Thomas Chacko from Best Sheds & Stone Homes via their website – www.bestsheds.com.au