Peter Ranyard, Country Manager New Zealand, Central Innovation
How is Central Innovation finding the current business climate?
The economic climate in New Zealand has remained stable on the back of a new government, after nine years of the previous body.
Despite some recent slowing due to better design and strong innovation practices, the economic climate in New Zealand still shows steady growth. Having said that, a number of our clients are finding success in export markets such as the USA and Europe, even though, there has been some uncertainty with political and international factors like the Financial Services enquiry in Australia, Brexit, and the trade wars between the US and China.
Where will future business opportunities for the company come from?
Our goal is to continue to see our customers finding success in export markets, particularly with the USA and Europe. This should help drive more growth.
We are also investing in new solution offerings for the manufacturing sector with our DataSuite solution for example, which helps manufacturers integrate their design, production and ERP systems to reduce inventory costs and improve their time to market.
Is the growth in technology aligned with the market’s needs?
Yes, we’re seeing an increasing demand for data generated from the design process and other business processes. One of the challenges we come across is that many New Zealand firms don’t have the ‘know-how’ technology to confidently choose a supplier that is well versed with the market and can surely support the business to see a solution implementation through to completion.
This is coupled with an underlying need to have a ‘suite’ of solution-based products that makes business processes in design and execution more palatable and less onerous.
How can governments assist businesses to get ahead today?
Firstly, by providing stability and certainty which helps drive investment and consumer confidence across businesses. A huge and continued focus on added value recognition in the export sector has greatly helped organisations to be less concerned about the ‘funding’ of development projects and more on the return on investment in new business.
Additionally, research and development are also key for a country as geographically distant as New Zealand. Therefore, continuous support for start-ups by providing incentives for innovation is important to help local businesses achieve a competitive edge against global players.
Are your products and services helping businesses to enhance productivity?
We believe so; our particular strength is in helping companies implement solutions for integrated design to production workflows.
For example, the DataSuite solution helps improve productivity by automating repetitive tasks, refining quality of tasks, and ultimately allowing our clients to reduce their inventory costs and speed their time to market.
It’s worth mentioning that over the past few decades, the New Zealand industry has suffered a great deal with increasing sourcing from Asian vendors.
In light of this, there is a lot of room for productivity improvement in the manufacturing industry, we are, however, seeing a return to more ‘local’ production and having products and services that assist in this return to local aids local businesses enormously.
How difficult is it to get the right staff?
It’s always a challenge to find qualified staff who have the right cultural fit. This is becoming harder and harder. Over the past two governments, the New Zealand landscape has seen a huge decline in unemployment levels, which is a sign of a healthy market.
It has become the norm to secure high performing candidates, and in some cases, offshore skilled staff. Our clients have noticed this and want the quality with plug and play capability, which is why we’ve been able to help many of them find uniquely qualified staff who understand design with our recruitment service.
Which are the new industries offering the best opportunities?
Industries such as Robotics, packaging and aerospace are responsible for bringing in some staggering advances in the manufacturing industry and will be the ones to open doors to a lot more opportunities.
Interestingly, we are also seeing a lot of businesses constantly upgrading themselves and strengthening their capabilities to move productions from overseas, back home by investing in latest technologies, upskilling and training the workforce, especially in the manufacturing industry.