Barrie Carruthers

Barrie Curruthers is managing director of Precision Microcircuits Ltd, Barrie has 50 years manufacturing experience and he shares with us why he does what he does.

What do you do?

I am currently involved in several company operations. Electronics and farming is a mix I enjoy mostly, one dramatically different from the other. Electronics produces the challenges, the demands, and in many respects the satisfactions, that for me are the spice of life. Farming gets me outdoors in a clean, relaxing andÊdramatically contrastingÊway away from the pressures of commerce.
Improving a block of land allows endless scope for creativity and to really leave your mark. You can look behind you and see where you have been.

Why do you do what you do?
ÊMostly for the love of it, what better reason is there? ‘Work’ has a ring of drudgery about it. For me what I do is mostly enjoyable, I enjoy the challenges, and mostly I enjoy the achievements. ÊI enjoy working with young creative people. At this point in my career I seem to be functioning more as a sounding board, and cross fertilizing ideas.
It is not really work, it is still an adventure. I enjoy what I’m doing so why do anything else?

How is business in New Zealand for your company?
Manufacturing here in New Zealand, as elsewhere in this day and age, has inevitably been affected by the current financial meltdown and associated recessions which have affected businesses to some degree across the board. Much of our product is ultimately exported into the American market, and America is still in a very difficult situation.
I believe this has sharpened our perception of where we stand in the marketplace and how we must move forward in today’s climate.

What is your philosophy for success?
“It is not as hard as one thinks to be a success. All it takes is optimism, – plenty of it, a real love of the job, perseverance when things go wrong. ÊThe sort of respect you earn by constantly improving the quality of the product and services that you offer your customers.
And oh yes, – the sense to choose the right teammates and trust them from then on.”
– Author unknown

Are there opportunities overseas for your company?
Yes of course there are. Lots, often in niche little markets that tend to suit our smaller manufacturing operations here in New Zealand. The trick is to be able to identify them. We often have customers coming to us looking for someone who is able to solve a problem they have. New Zealanders are good at doing that. That can open doors. Good promotion can help, but as always, word-of-mouth based on your performance is by far the most effective.

 Greatest achievement
That is a hard one. Achievements are the spice of life. Each one, like winning at anything, gives great satisfaction at the time, and to try and reflect upon what has been the greatest achievement is difficult.

I can’t but help think of some of the innovation, technical breakthroughs and lucky breaks that we have had along way.

Perhaps one that has given ongoing satisfaction though could have been the winning back of a Chinese contract because of our quality, consistency and product performance against really aggressive Asian competition based on pricing.
Greatest influence
Probably my elder brother Peter, when I was aged 10.  I was trying to make my first valve radio in the 1940’s and it wouldn’t work. He knew what was wrong and wouldn’t tell me, and made me try and try over again until I solved the problem on my own, – and in the process I learnt the valuable art of perseverance and self-reliance.
Favourite quote
“Any company that is either not developing new technology or adopting known technologies to their present business has made a conscious decision to be out of business in 5 to 10 years”
-Dr Bruce Merrifield, Secretary for Productivity Trade and Industry, USA

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