Amy Penwarden is the Supply Chain Manager at Shot Darts, and a Leadership Development Programme alumni.
This Kiwi Business Story is based on a podcast from 12 October 2023, and all figures quoted are from that time. You can enjoy the complete podcast here.
Tell us a little bit about Shot Darts?
We’re the only darts manufacturer that manufactures everything in-house in New Zealand. That’s really special. We started in 1970, so we're just over 50 years old, and a family owned business. And you really feel it, too. It’s grown a lot since I started – a lot of changes – and we're about 34-something staff now. We've got our factory in Katikati, we've got a warehouse over in the States, and we also have another sales guy in the UK.
Tell us about your role as supply chain manager?
There’s no one role, but you have many hats, and with the supply chain I deal a lot with overseas: China and Taiwan. That's actually what's really interesting about it too, liaising with them. It's just a lot of different things [but] the last couple of years have really gone into the supply chain-targeted area.
How does the business go about working with local and world champions?
Really it’s just boots on the ground, our sales guys getting out there, and going to tournaments. With our sales guy in the UK, the warehouse in the States and our sales guys here, [we] do a lot of travelling as well – just making sure we're there to support the players we have.
How did you first hear of The Icehouse?
Shot Darts has put many of our employees through The Icehouse. Prior to myself, the operations manager (Connor Fifita did the Leadership Development Programme in 2022) went the year before, and they came to me and offered it for me to have a go.
How did you find the Leadership Development Programme (LDP)?
Before I went on LDP, I didn't understand fully the business as a whole [but know I’m] able to have this wide view of all the different parts. I came out with more confidence that ‘You've got this’. There's always learning to be done and growth to have…
There were a couple of sessions where I thought, ‘I don't know how this is going to relate for me in my role’, and then they become really interesting. I learned like quite a bit from them, so it was a really enjoyable experience. You come away very exhausted but full of knowledge and it took a bit to sit down and just process but I still refer back to it now, it’s great!
That was a key thing for me… being more confident in myself. It's okay to delegate and learn that you can't take it all on yourself.
How have you put your learnings into practice?
Now if I'm thinking about doing something, I’ve got the confidence to say ‘Hey, I think we should do this’ and go and have a chat with someone else who might be able to give me somewhere else to go with it or might think along the same lines as me.
Did you have an a-ha moment?
A mixture, because it was just so many different sorts of sessions with different people that then all come together. [You do] the first block, the second block just builds on that and then the third block as well. The third block [focused on] resilience, I found that useful – just learning the better times of the day to do certain tasks and so on.
What advice would you give younger Amy at the start of her career journey?
Look at everything as an opportunity, because when you're young, if something doesn't go how you think it's going to go, it feels like, ‘I'm never going anywhere, I'm not doing anything.’ But change is not a bad thing. Take it all as it comes and make the most of it.