Opportunities constant

DOUG GREEN PICAmongst the turbulence of the current business climate we continue to focus on some great success stories. Hamilton-based Aduro Biopolymers, for example, a natural resource materials and biopolymer company, has secured investment to process a variety of co-products from the meat processing industry.

The Auckland FoodBowl – which is holding Innovation in Action early next month – allows food and beverage companies to test their products, complete production runs and produce market samples before the bells ring and they head for overseas markets.

Food manufacturing and production is one of our key areas and the Innovation in Action will surely see more companies bound for success.

I want to talk about the manufacturing meetings which, as you all know, were held in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland during February.

Nothing is achieved by focussing on the exchange rate alone and thankfully a lot of pertinent issues affecting our manufacturers were discussed. If seventeen percent of business is unhappy with the exchange rate and others are unhappy with difficulty finding staff and finding markets for manufactured goods it sounds cyclical.

Not every problem can be easily sorted; after all, we are part of a world business community which is going through difficult times to keep its balance. Some of these countries aren’t doing quite as well as us.

Bring the issues into line more and realise that trade is ticking along with Australia our largest export market buying twenty three percent of our exports Ð something of everything we make. And Asia, Europe and the US are not backward in coming forward when they look for innovative, high tech Kiwi companies to do business with.

So we keep marching forward. Our overseas debt level is far too high and the living wage for workers is – thankfully – being looked at by (initially) companies who are trying to do something a bit more for their workers.

Can companies afford to be doing this if the cost of raw materials, fuel and labour needs to go up? Hard to say. But some definitely will find it a stretch.

A final word from New Zealand Trade Commissioner in Melbourne, Dan Taylor: “The once in a generation opportunities provided to New Zealand manufacturing business by the resources and mining boom remain, so long as companies focus on their core capabilities and are willing to put in the effort.”


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