The Flexi Tanks NZ story
Anton Meier has been in dairy farming for most of his life. He knows what it's like to run an efficient dairy operation and all the stress that comes with it: milk production, grazing plans, herd management, staff training and admin paperwork (just to name a few)!
So, even though it had been a few years since he'd hung up his last set of cups, he was fully aware of the regulations that were coming for New Zealand dairy farmers in relation to their effluent storage. When he heard about a product that would make effluent management simpler, he jumped at the opportunity to bring it to the New Zealand market.
Anton first became aware of the Flexi Tank bladder system that was operating in Europe through a friend in November 2012. He instinctively knew the system would be a good fit for Kiwi farmers so before the week was up, he had made direct contact with Labaronne, the inventor of the flexible bladder tank system, and requested to be the New Zealand agent.
Labaronne were more than happy to help Anton achieve this dream, so he swung into action straight away! He began marketing the Flexi Tank and worked hard to share information about this exciting new product, but he soon realised it was a very foreign concept to New Zealand farmers. Not to be deterred and ever the problem solver, he called on some of the overseas farmers he knew who remembered the tanks from back home and used their vote of confidence to help bolster the Flexi Tank reputation.
The first tank was sold in November 2015, exactly three years after Anton's first contact with Labaronne. A farmer in Paeroa bought a 500,000-litre effluent tank and once it was installed, other farmers in the area went to see it in action. They all agreed it was an absolute no-brainer and sales took off, increasing year upon year.
Anton and his lovely wife, Jacky van der Poel, did all the installs between 2015 and 2019. The workload was heavy; travelling all over the country to meet farmers, install tanks and attend industry events. Back in the office, Jacky also took care of the business operations and kept things running smoothly behind the scenes. The long days and late nights eventually paid off though when the effluent tank had proven itself and water storage bladder tanks began to gain interest.
Customers could see that the Flexi Tank was an efficient way to store water on a large scale, with a blueberry grower in Tolaga Bay having 6 x 1,000,000-litre tanks installed to support their operation. Water storage was closely followed by an increase in demand for leachate storage at dump and compost sites, with Ecogas Reporoa using 4 x 500,000-litre tanks to store liquid bio-fertiliser produced from New Zealand's first large-scale waste-to-bioenergy processing plant.
In 2019 Flexi Tanks NZ brought Anton's son, Andre Meier, on board to run installs and continue to develop the business. He has helped the company grow in leaps and bounds, being a favourite with customers thanks to his extensive industry knowledge and willingness to go above and beyond with every interaction.
Flexi Tanks NZ now have over 700 tanks in operation nationwide with some big-name companies in construction, horticulture and viticulture using the tanks for anything from dust suppression to water and leachate storage. They also have farmers across the country coming back for second, third and fourth effluent tanks because they know the Flexi Tank is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to store their effluent.
The team at Flexi Tanks NZ has grown a bit since Anton and Jacky first started out, having just hired an office manager and a field technician to help with increasing demand. Despite a growing team, their vision for the future remains the same: to be front of mind for liquid storage solutions and continue supplying a quality product at an affordable price.