Comments

David Thompson Posted:
So very, very true. It beggars belief that we consider ourselves to be a developed nation when so much of our economy is based on selling milk powder or logs. BTW, I own a Plinius amplifier (my second) that drives a set of Theophany speakers.
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David Thompson Posted:
A robust but sobering report. It concerns me that confidence is rising, yet sales and exports are down and "manufacturers and exporters are still lagging behind other sectors". Surely we should wait until we're earning more money before we start spending more?
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siemens Posted:
Yes true! The only thing that will never die in this world is the nature and its science behind it. Great post.
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Kieran Ormandy Posted:
Thanks for the question Steven, Germany has seen increases in manufacturing employment since 2009, and Switzerland has had stable manufacturing employment between 2006 – 2011, even in the face of ongoing Euro-zone issues. Korea has seen increases in manufacturing employment since 2008 and Israel experienced large increases since 1998, while being stable over the last 4 years. Singapore has had increases in manufacturing employment over the last two years. These countries all value their manufacturing sectors and work to protect them, this is reflected in the above numbers and their performance through the GFC. Note data around the above examples was sourced from OECD labour market stats.
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John Walley Posted:
Point one: you should have no doubt what our Association says publically represent the views of our members. Point two: we don’t knee jerk responses, if you trace back our comments around NZPower you will see them link all the way back to our research in 2004 and 2005. All that material is fully linked from our comments above. Point three: you will note our comments on major users, sadly the same advantage does not accrue to smaller industrial users. The perverse incentives of the LRMC approach in all this are well known. Point four: the NZMEA is not like any other Association in New Zealand we admit only manufacturers and exporters into membership, and our public expressions are the views of that restricted membership.
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30/7/15

First impressions


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I have had the good fortune to meet quite a few NZMEA members at the Board and Council meeting last Monday, but also during visits to manufacturing and exporting businesses in both Auckland and Christchurch.

I am resisting the temptation to jump to conclusions, but a few things are emerging as common themes in pretty much all my conversations with members. The first one is the dynamic nature of their businesses - I haven’t met one yet who thinks that their business will be the same in five years time as it was five year ago. There is the odd sign of despair – is this roller coaster of pressure from imports, changing customer demands and fluctuating exchange rates ever going to end?! But mostly what I see is the acceptance that it isn’t, and the determination to succeed in the face of adverse circumstances.

Short runs of custom-made products and constant innovation in process and product seem to be the answer, but following that path often puts increasing pressure on profitability. But I have the impression that many of you see becoming ever more competent expert manufacturers in your chosen niche as the way to run your business on a sustainable level, and it is something many of you are naturally good at. The trick may be to embrace this more positively as an opportunity for a brighter future, rather than something you do reluctantly because you have no choice.

The second thing that strikes me is the almost unison impression that you feel that your situation and businesses are poorly understood by government. Nowhere is this more apparent than in your relationship with Callaghan Innovation, or rather the lack of it. As mentioned above, there is a lot of innovation happening in your businesses, be that product innovation, process innovation or even a change in business models. But that Innovation largely fails to be recognised by the very organisation that has the word in its name, because it does not meet their formal criteria.

If the early impression is confirmed that there is an almost complete disconnect between the innovation happening in the real world of manufacturing and what Callaghan Innovation see as fitting their criteria for innovation they are mandated to support, then we have a problem we need to have a serious conversation with government about – this may represent a significant area for improvement around how manufacturers efforts in innovation are supported.

Last, but not least I’d like to acknowledge the warm reception I have received wherever I go. Coming from the food & beverage and primary sector I have not met many of you before, and yet I have been welcomed everywhere and shown around your factories and experienced a free and open sharing of your ideas for the future, but also the pressures your businesses are under. To me that is enormously valuable personally, for the future of my role and the Association.

In order to represent your interests as best I can, I need to have a profound understanding of the world you are operating in, and there is no better way to get that than talking to you and observing what you’re doing, and how you do business. So, if you don’t mind, expect a visit request from me to as many of you as possible in the near future – I’m really looking forward to connecting with you, listening and learning, and finding where I can make a real difference.
 



tags: dieter adam, impressions, exchange rate, product, process, innovation, callaghan innovation

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