The top trends in Kiwi manufacturing, and how to get onboard

The top trends in Kiwi manufacturing, and how to get onboard

COVID-19 hit New Zealand hard but the road to recovery lies with our manufacturers.

We’ve always been a country with a strong self-made, buy local, number 8 wire mentality, but this hasn’t always been easy with foreign competitors coming in to offer sometimes far lower prices.  But, the world has changed. We’ve thrown out the old and are facing down the new, which has changed the business landscape dramatically. So what trends have we seen in the New Zealand manufacturing market?

1. Kiwis are backing local

With the global supply chain in tatters, Kiwi manufacturers are relying more than ever on local sources.  Alongside this, Kiwis have shown that they understand this and are willing to back local – in fact, we’ve seen a real rolling up of the country’s sleeves and a collective effort to keep neighbourhood businesses open and the economy running.

But can we keep this trend up as the world returns to pre-COVID-19 levels of trade?

The short answer is yes.  New Zealand produces a wide array of desirable products and while the prices may be higher than imported alternatives, often the quality is far superior.

Plus, when purchasing locally manufactured products you can be reasonably certain that the raw materials are ethically sourced and that some stringent environmental standards have been implemented during production. After all, another thing Kiwis inherently understand is the value in keeping our ‘slice of heaven’ pristine and to leave something for the next generation.

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So how do we keep pushing Kiwis to back local?

There are many strategies for encouraging Kiwis to buy local, and they all circle around the same thing: marketing.

Kiwis want to buy locally. Before the pandemic hit, 54% of local consumers always or often bought from local producers, and a third shopped locally every week (MYOB).

The challenge is not desire, but making sure Kiwis know you’re local, and what the benefits are of purchasing your products over a lower-priced competitor. Is it ethical sourcing? Sustainability? Supporting a local cause? Superior craftsmanship? Your business has a unique selling point, and if you can tap into that power and push it out as a new marketing campaign in the form of advertisements, social media posts, videos or blog articles – you can show Kiwis the value of buying from your business.

2. Businesses are automating to succeed

Automation has enormous power, even for small businesses (perhaps especially for small businesses) – and for those in manufacturing. Artificially intelligent solutions have the power to add $54 billion to the New Zealand economy by 2035 (AI Forum) and $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030 (PwC). Increasingly, any company that hasn’t invested at least a small amount into process optimisation via automation is at risk of falling behind.

But why automate? Of course at a national and global level we see what the technology will do to the economy, but what about the enterprise level? Well, automation, in short, can help you reduce operational expenditures, automating menial tasks so staff can work on more value-adding activities. Ultimately, this can lead to lower costs of production and help you keep your pricing more competitive – an advantage in the race against foreign competitors, as we talked about above.

But how do we automate?

Many small businesses have been driven to sell online through their website, a function made far easier via automation. Indeed, automation can make it a largely hands-off process, with payment taken, orders requests delivered to warehouses and products added to picking slips or material requests sent to suppliers all without human intervention.

The key to any digital transformation lies in people, processes and technology. The puzzle piece that will actually do the automating for you is of course the technology part (for example, smart business software designed specifically for manufacturing), but it’s also key to have processes in place to handle the new tools and training in place so that people maximise their investment.

So, if you’re looking to digitally transform, you need to ask three key questions:

  1. Do we have the tools in place to automate our workflow?
  2. Do we have the processes in place to integrate these tools into our day-to-day?
  3. Do we have the training place to effectively use these tools to their full effect?

 

3. Companies are trying to dig in and be agile

As we know, the social impact of purchasing locally, keeping neighbours in work, moving money around the economy, will help stimulate the growth that New Zealand needs.

So, as a country we need to dig our toes in and put in the hard yards – we’re one of the less locked down countries in the world and that gives us a unique opportunity to step up and invest in producing high-quality products to fuel the economy while our peers in other industries recover more slowly.

This is where keeping agile can be a huge advantage

It’s called the ‘new normal’ for a reason. The world now isn’t the world we left behind in 2020. The economy is different, customers are different and so business is different. That means manufacturers that want to get ahead of the pack need to know how to be nimble.

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Adaptability is probably the hottest trend on the market right now. Companies that are willing to remain light on their feet, pivot when they need to, and accept the challenge and risk that comes associated with change, are often putting themselves in a better position to meet the new normal head on.

Think of the universities that adapted to online-only learning, the gin distilleries that started selling hand sanitiser, or the doctors who started offering GP services entirely remotely. There’s a time to stick to your guns and a time to be prepared to throw them out the window, and this is one of those pivotal moments.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  1. Are there tools we could be using to help our business be more digital-centric?
  2. Am I as a business leader talking to my key people about their thoughts and ideas?
  3. Does my company have a culture of change, or are people afraid to speak out and offer ideas?
  4. Does my business still have value in the new normal? As in, is our mission still relevant, are our products still desirable?

 

Optimising your operations with smart business software

If you need to transform, we’re here to help.  With our experience hand-in-hand with MYOB’s Advanced Manufacturing software, we can help you optimise production, automate capture data, increase efficiencies and lower costs.

We’d love to discuss how we can help your business. Wherever you are in New Zealand, get in touch today and let’s talk.

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