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How are things changing? State of the Union

Within the incredibly challenging global environment of 2020 most Kiwi businesses are now doing everything they can to stay competitive and cut costs without diminishing one iota of quality, safety or efficiency. We take a look at a few of the factors that are influencing these changes… 

There have been some incredible upheavals within New Zealand and throughout the world over the first half of 2020. From bush fires to murder hornets to Covid 19 to the Warriors NRL season, it seems to have been one disaster after another. 

Despite being relatively low on the global scale of Covid cases, our economy and the way we do business has seen a significant change.  There are some big issues facing New Zealand distributors as recent trends accelerate, new challenges force change and technology evolves how we do things. 

Changing consumer behaviour 

With almost all retailers completely shutting their bricks and mortar operation during lockdown consumers were forced to shop online.

According to data provided by Emarsys and GoodData e-commerce sales in New Zealand have almost doubled compared to the same period last year. Operators in distribution centres were therefore often working to dispatch double the amount of orders as quickly and safely as possible, and all the while complying to physical distancing standards. Efficiency and elimination of mistakes was crucial at this time and no doubt highlighted any pain points in an operation.

What does this all mean now we’re (fingers crossed) out of lockdown for good? While order dispatches will obviously ease it appears like there’s no going right back to the way things were. Consumers have undoubtedly changed the way they shop. More and more SMEs in New Zealand will have to place as much importance on their distribution processes as they do on their physical store fronts.

New international opportunities

Global shipping still isn’t exactly plain sailing currently, with different countries dealing with Covid-19 in different ways. Global trade volumes have dropped considerably.

New Zealand’s FTAs with ten countries are providing international markets for our goods, particularly our agricultural exports. However negotiations with the E.U and other markets are moving at a typically sluggish pace. Post-Brexit trade deals ware making headlines on a daily basis but these too will not happen overnight.

One thing is for certain; with our well-publicised fight against Covid-19 our international brand reputation of a ‘pure and clean’ country is now at an all-time high. While we are still struggling with cases appearing this reputation remains undiminished. There are opportunities out there for brands looking to leverage off this reputation. It starts with the brand stories we tell and continues right through the production and distribution journey. Everything must be made, packed and tracked right.

Business as unusual

Is this the end of the ‘she’ll be right’ mindset for many individuals and businesses in New Zealand? While we can all certainly do without the alternative (crippling anxiety, paralysis of decision-making) there is now a mindset of ‘get it done’.

Not only do companies need a realistic, easily actionable contingency plan for emergencies – they also need to plan for a future of accelerating change, safeguarding their core offering while allowing for both small tweaks and big pivots ahead.

It’s as much about working smarter as it is working harder. Institutional attitudes to change directly affect long-term success. Companies that are front-footing the need for transformation are certainly making the most of the situation. Be it smaller companies increasing their online presence and distribution process or larger ones developing their end of line capabilities.

Staying on top of things requires more than just a gut feeling. Actionable information is imperative. Auditing all spending and reducing waste in distribution centres is now happening at an increasing rate. Both big and small operations are demanding accurate data and careful analysis of every available resource. 

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Please note: We are a New Zealand-based wholesaler and only distribute within New Zealand.

How are things changing? State of the Union

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