Magazine article New Zealand Management

Export Yourself

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Export Yourself

Article excerpt

A family business that started in a basement nearly 40 years ago and now earns in excess of $60 million in annual exports was pronounced DHL Supreme Exporter of the Year at last month's New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Awards.

Rakon (pic 1), whose Auckland workforce numbers around 500, is recognised as the best producer of high performance crystals and oscillators in the world--as was demonstrated by its fairly impressive 762 percent increase in sales between January 2002 and December 2004. With customers in 45 countries, Rakon also picked up the ICT Exporter of the Year Award and beat off some tough competition for the 'supreme exporter' accolade.

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Award winners, who ranged from a health product manufacturer to a film production house, all deserved the sort of adulation normally reserved for sports teams as they were achieving great results on the world stage often against much better resourced competition, says NZTE chief executive Tim Gibson.

Topping their categories:

* Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (pic 2), a technology leader with customers in 90 countries and annual sales of $241 million--98 percent from exports--which earned the Agritech Life Sciences and Biotechnology Exporter award;

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* The Sweet Shop (pic 3), a boutique production house set up in 2001 and now achieving multimillion-dollar offshore earnings through exporting Kiwi talent to make international TV commercials, was named Creative and Design Exporter;

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* Comvita (pic 4)--known for its bee health products and now exporting $14.6 million worth of products a year--topped the Food and Beverage category;

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* University of Auckland (pic 5) earned first place in the Education category as most successful exporter of international education--in the past two years it nearly doubled the income it generates from international students to $71.7 million;

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* Palmerston North-based Noske-Kaeser NZ (pic 6) earned the Specialised Manufacturer award for exporting $15 million worth of air-conditioning systems specifically suited to harsh conditions;

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* Les Mills International's (pic 7) venture into exporting exercise programmes saw it collect the Services category award; and

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* Fletcher Construction South Pacific (pic 8) was declared Wood Processing, Building and Interiors Exporter of the Year after lifting its offshore earnings to nearly $60 million last year.

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Addiction prediction

Rising addiction rates for business executives have outstripped recovery rates and are costing companies millions in lost income and profits. Anyone who has tried knows that getting help for a business colleague to recover from alcohol or drug dependency and return to work is a difficult and expensive process.

But, according to William Stevens, business director of the Unity Trust addiction treatment centre, that's not nearly as damaging or costly as the financial impact on a company's books of an addicted individual who remains in the workplace.

A substance-dependent employee can cost his or her company from five to 15 times their salary, say workplace intervention specialists. The cumulative loss from downtime, sickness, team discord and impaired productivity can be $500,000 or more per year for a senior executive with a drug or alcohol addiction.

Stevens says that addictions are increasingly hurting businesses across New Zealand. "The latest statistics show one in 10 employees is dependent on alcohol or drugs, yet less than one in 20 makes a full recovery to return to work."

Rising addiction rates are highlighted by health and disability assistance agencies reporting a 50 percent rise since 2001 in drug and alcohol addicts receiving illness and invalid benefits. …

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