NZ Manufacturer April 2024

Page 1


Developmentof industry brandcritical to manufacturing growth.


The secret weapon women are using to drive change.

What do we do about manufacturing?

Brett O’Riley is stepping down from his role at EMA in June. What follows are his reflections on manufacturing in New Zealand.

Our manufacturing sector is struggling, and it pains me to say it.

The release of this month’s Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI), a global measure of manufacturing activity, shows manufacturing activity in New Zealand has been shrinking for the past 12 months. While this might not be a surprise given the global economic slowdown, what is concerning is that manufacturing in New Zealand is underperforming most other major economies.

Other countries have taken very deliberate steps to modernise and strengthen their manufacturing sectors; from an aggressive Accelerated Depreciation business taxation regime for investing in new hardware and software in Singapore, to the massive Inflation Reduction Act in the United States.

Manufacturing is critically important to the New Zealand economy, and it is important we get the sector functioning as effectively as possible.

The sector contributes more than $23 billion to our economy, or about 10% of GDP. It accounts for 60% of our exports and employs 12% of our workforce, with the potential to grow those metrics.

Manufacturing isn’t just concentrated in one part of the country. It plays a critical role in our regional economies, accounting for more than 10% of jobs in almost every part of the country. Every day, more than 220,000 Kiwis go to work in manufacturing businesses in Te Tai Tokerau, Southland and everywhere in between.

Therefore, it is no surprise that when manufacturing isn’t doing well, our economy doesn’t do well. This is demonstrated by the latest economic numbers, which saw the economy shrink off the back of a sharp

fall in manufacturing activity.

But it’s not all bad news. New Zealand has many innovative and dynamic manufacturing businesses producing high-quality goods that are being exported around the world.

We just need to back them to succeed and expand the sector, and that means putting in place the right policies and creating the right incentives for our manufacturers to invest, grow and thrive.

If we get it right, there is a real opportunity for manufacturing to drive our economic recovery, create higher wage jobs, and lift our living standards. This is because around the world, manufacturing is undergoing a profound transformation.

New digital technologies, augmented reality, digital twins, enterprise resource planning, robots and AI are resulting in changes so significant that they have been labelled a fourth industrial revolution, or I4.0.

continued on Page 16

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Upgrading and upskilling the key to unlocking productivity growth.

New Zealanders work longer than people in other countries to make up for low capital investment.

That’s one of the key findings from new research commissioned by ASB into Business Productivity in New Zealand.

Simply put, we’re not investing enough in the tools and technology we use to conduct business.

We’re not investing enough in educating and training our people, equipping them for future change and innovation. We’re not investing enough in developing new products or new, improved ways of doing things.

We’re not putting our precious resources to their most productive uses.

This matters because productivity has a direct influence on living standards and wellbeing. The more productive we are, the better off we will all be.

The issue is becoming more urgent for New Zealand against a backdrop of cost pressures, environmental and natural resource constraints and an ageing population.

We must become more productive to take us into the future.

Business holds the key to improving our productivity growth and we are backing business to drive Aotearoa New Zealand forward.

The research suggests that business and the non-government sector should lead the charge by developing skills, adopting new technology and being more flexible and open. Innovation and designing products for consumers in offshore markets will be key, along with ensuring companies can scale their offering to be able to export successfully. That could mean investing in things like innovation, supply chain, processes or plant to manufacture new products and efficiently increase production to meet rising demand. At ASB we’re proud to support our customers to do the best they can for New Zealand.

Seeking bold businesses.

Are you thinking about what’s next for your business?

As a nation, we used to be great at finding smart ways to get the job done, but now we work harder, and for longer, and we’re still less productive than many other countries. We’re seeking bold businesses who want to invest in what’s next. Those who want to drive innovation and efficiency to build a more productive country. One that puts future generations first and paves the way for economic, social and environmental progress for all of us.

If you’ve got bold ideas to drive your business forward, talk to us at ASB.

Take out business term lending by 30 June 2024 to increase productivity, and you could be eligible for your share of $5 million worth of Productivity Grants.

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Customers like beverage product company, Bon Accord, which we’ve helped to innovate and invest in productivity enhancing equipment enabling the company to increase its export revenue through new offshore markets.

Of course, business leaders should always be looking to drive efficiencies and growth throughout the economic cycles. This doesn’t have to be through creating new products and services, it could be by doing things better. There are many ways to approach this, investing in staff training to support the adoption of new technology, upgrading machinery, new technology or automation.

For New Zealand to increase productivity, our report tells us that business leaders need to be more ambitious, prepared to invest and innovate and enable their workforce to adapt. Our innovative lending solutions are designed to empower our customers, giving them the confidence to boost productivity within their own businesses and accelerating progress for all New Zealanders.

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What do we do about manufacturing?


Lessons in collaboration from across the Tasman.

Development of industry brand critical to manufacturing sector growth.


Unlocking innovative productivity. Superconducting magnets to electrify space. Foundations for future growth.

DHL Supply Chain harnesses global intelligence in robot rollout. Foundation models to boost productivity.

EMEX 2024

The biggest show yet.


What does ‘sustainable manufacturing’ actually involve?


The secret weapon women are using to drive change in construction.


Information and operational technology a crucial strategy.

AI Artificial Intelligence: The thinking person’s machine.


Industry benefits with fluid power certification.

IL-BRID locking system: hybrid design with single-lever.


Empowering frontline leaders.


Te Ati Awa and WelTec partner through Try-a-Trade.


The industrial property market in Christchurch.


Kirk Hope Is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s largest business advocacy body He has held a range of senior positions at Westpac and is a barrister and solicitor

Ian Walsh

Ian is a Partner, Argon & Co. NZ, a master black belt improvement specialist and global lean practitioner. He is passionate about improving productivity and helping to create world class New Zealand businesses.

Dr Barbara Nebel

CEO thinkstep-anz

Barbara’s passion is to enable organisations to succeed sustainably. She describes her job as a ‘translator’ – translating sustainability into language that businesses can act on.

Lewis oodward Is Managing Director of Connection Technologies Ltd, Wellington and is passionate about industry supporting NZ based companies, which in turn builds local expertise and knowledge, and provides education and employment for future generations.

Brett O’Riley

EMA chief executive Brett O’Riley has a background in technology and economic development. Brett actually grew up with manufacturing, in the family business, Biggins & Co. He currently holds board roles with Wine Grenade and Dotterel Technologies and is also on the NZ Film Commission board.

Insa Errey

Insa’s career has been in the public and private sectors, leading change management within the energy, decarbonisation, and sustainability space. Insa holds a Chemical and Biomolecular BE (Hons) from Sydney University. She is a member of the Bioenergy Association of NZ and has a strong passion for humanitarian engineering, working with the likes of Engineers Without Boarders Australia.

Insa is a member of Carbon and Energy Professionals NZ, been an ambassador for Engineering NZ's Wonder Project igniting STEM in Kiwi kids and Engineers Australia Women in Engineering, increasing female participation in engineering.

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Australia and New Zealand working together

In late March, the Minister for Manufacturing, Andrew Bayly, spent a week in Australia, where he met with four ministers in the Australian Federal Government, including Senator Hon Tim Ayres, the Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Assistant Minister for Trade.

They discussed opportunities that exist for our two countries to work together, to grow manufacturing productivity on both sides of the Tasman.

He also met with Maria Vamvakinou MP and Scott Buchholz MP, who co-chair the Parliamentary Friends of Manufacturing group in the Australian Parliament. This provides a non-partisan forum for parliamentarians to meet and interact with businesses, unions, industry and advocacy groups to help support and strengthen Australia’s manufacturing industry.

Andrew Bayley also joined up with a delegation of manufacturing business leaders from New Zealand keen to get a better understanding of emerging advancements in research in Australia, particularly how they relate to advanced manufacturing, and how these could be transferred to industry here in NZ.

Meanwhile, In Australia, in the past few days, it has been announced that the Albanese Government intends to create a Future Made in Australia Act. To spur investment in clean energy technologies and secure economic opportunity and growth for Australia.

Australian investment in R&D has reached a 30-year low, only spending 1.68% of GDP on R&D. Meanwhile, competitors are growing their R&D spending, with the USA, Japan, Germany and many other developed countries spending over 3% of their GDP on R&D each year.

Australia needs an immediate and sustained increase in R&D funding to make sure Australia doesn’t get left behind.

Australian research and innovation will be the driving force behind their future prosperity. Australia cannot afford to neglect R&D any longer.

Which, of course, brings me back to our situation in New Zealand. Andrew Bayly says he will help, where possible, to facilitate access to the latest technologies being deployed internationally, as New Zealand looks to explore international market opportunities, as well as ensuring domestic manufacturing is well supported.

Doug Green

Success Through Innovation

5 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024
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Lessons in collaboration from across the Tasman

In my February article, I announced the first meeting of my Manufacturing Productivity Advisory Group, a forum for business leaders keen to enable a brighter future for New Zealand’s manufacturing sector.

I am pleased to say this group has already met again. Chaired very capably by Sarah Ramsay, chief executive of United Machinists and chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Aotearoa council, there are key themes emerging, which most people in the industry will already be well aware of.

That education is needed to change the perception of the industry in people’s minds, especially those of parents with children who are contemplating their future careers and who think ‘manufacturing’ is still a dirty world.

That our research centres focus on novel innovation without considering the manufacturing capabilities needed to produce them.

That procurement for infrastructure is skewed towards lowest-cost international providers, thereby discouraging domestic suppliers from ramping up their manufacturing capability.

And, of course, that investment is required in automation and Industry 4.0 technologies which will help drive productivity improvements.

We are now in the process of finalising the finer elements of these initiatives that will help inform

In late March, I spent a week in Australia, during which I met with four ministers in the Australian Federal Government, including Senator Hon Tim Ayres, the Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Assistant Minister for Trade.

use to measure success, what tools are available to the Government to support manufacturing (including procurement) and which ones have helped the most, and where the Government should get involved in the sector (and, equally, where it should not).

At the University of Wollongong Facility for Intelligent Fabrication.

This was the second time I had met with Tim and I was keen to ask him how the Australian manufacturing sector organises and funds itself and its activities. We also discussed how the Australian Government has

Providing the tools and support to drive business forward.

Importantly, we discussed what opportunities exist for our two countries to work together to grow manufacturing productivity on both sides of the Tasman.

It impressed me that the Australian Government has managed to get cross-party support for their House of Representatives inquiry, ‘Sovereign, Smart, Sustainable –Driving Advanced Manufacturing in Australia’. The inquiry recommends a National Advanced Manufacturing Commissioner be appointed to facilitate policy coordination and serve as a single high-profile ‘shopfront’ for SME manufacturers.

I later met with Maria Vamvakinou MP and Scott Buchholz MP, who co-chair the Parliamentary Friends of Manufacturing group in the Australian Parliament. This provides a non-partisan forum

continued on Page 23

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Development of industry brand critical to manufacturing sector growth - Expert

New Zealand manufacturers need to address systemic image issues to attract more workers to the sector, according to a marketing expert.

The call comes following a recent Government study into the manufacturing industry which found the sector has a capacity gap of 17,000 roles - with the size of this gap likely to grow 38% to 40,000 workers within five years if action is not taken.

Researchers found widespread agreement across the manufacturing, engineering, and food & beverage sectors the most effective way of reducing the future impact of skills shortages is to promote sector awareness to attract future talent.

Mark Devlin, director at strategic communications and marketing consulting firm Impact PR, one of the more industry specialised PR agencies New Zealand manufacturers can utilise to grow their brand awareness, says the study’s findings show there is a growing need for the sector to reposition itself. He says the reputation of the sector is at stake due to a historical view that it is comprised of low-wage and low-skilled roles.

“The research shows that the manufacturing industry lacks the aspirational appeal needed to attract and retain workers from other sectors of the economy that compete for the same skill set.

”This may be at least in part due to the fact many Kiwi manufacturers are primarily export-focused and have not seen the need to develop a local consumer-facing brand.

“Since the pandemic, we have seen a seismic shift in demand for workers in the sector and with the growing realisation that these skills are highly transferable, they are now competing heavily with other industries for talent.

Devlin, whose agency has represented dozens of New Zealand manufacturers over the past two decades, says the repositioning of the industry needs to be done at both a macro and micro level with individual manufacturers needing to align their campaign messages with those of the wider sector.

^“Regardless of the industry, any marketing campaign needs to understand what motivates their target consumer.

“When it comes to the choice of employment these drivers are likely to vary across individuals and also evolve as their career and life stage progresses; however, being part of an employee-focused workplace is likely to be one of them.

“At a local level, even those businesses who are solely focused on the export market need to build their local brand to maintain their recruitment pipeline.

“We have seen value in businesses showcasing their employee wellness and community support initiatives.

“One client had built a raised garden network on site that was helping staff grow their own organic fruit and vegetables at work, along with harvesting honey,

and providing more than 150kg of fresh produce per person annually - saving each household thousands of dollars and helping to offset the cost of living.

“While this initiative was started with the genuine desire to help staff, we were able to leverage this to generate nationwide TV, print and digital coverage to help build and reinforce their position as a supportive employer,” he says.

Devlin says that prospective employees will usually research a workplace before applying for a position with the firm.

”It’s important that businesses step into the shoes of jobseekers and evaluate whether the first page of search results delivers the messaging they want to portray to the market.

“We know that a potential employee will look beyond a company’s website to third-party sources of information - such as news sites.

“This is where the services of a public relations agency experienced in the manufacturing sector can be of value, they can create content for news media that highlights the level of innovation and success the firm has in the domestic or export markets.

Devlin says that in addition to building the brand locally these positive news articles are a key credibility signal for overseas customers.

“We are seeing a lot of demand from manufacturers exporting to China. There is lower trust in media in that market and Kiwi businesses can use news content in NZ media titles as a third-party endorsement of

their business.

“The communication model works the same for potential employees when they do their research on a firm they are looking beyond the company’s website and digital platforms which are seen as subjective and at what other people are saying about the company,” he says.

Greg Smith, CEO of wool carpet manufacturer Bremworth and client of Impact PR, says the development of a positive consumer-facing brand is an essential element in their recruitment and retention strategy.

“To attract and retain staff in a highly competitive environment, we need to be able to bring our team members along with us on our purpose-driven journey.

“In our case, the company exited the synthetic carpet market three years ago to focus only on utilising New Zealand’s high-performing wool fibre in its products. “Part of this process is the communication of our brand story using an ongoing public relations strategy to raise awareness of our mission to reduce the volume of plastic waste entering the environment - through the use of biodegradable, natural and renewable wool as an alternative to synthetics.

^“We know this message resonates with prospective staff members who understand their work will contribute to a better future for New Zealand,” he says.


Unlocking innovative productivity: The power of sales & operations execution in manufacturing

In a manufacturing business, where supply chains intertwine and customer demands fluctuate, Sales & Operations Execution (S&OE) emerges as a pivotal force. S&OE, a dynamic process that bridges the gap between strategic planning and day-to-day operations, sees the rubber hit the road in a manufacturing enterprise.

At its core, S&OE entails aligning sales forecasts, production plans, and operational capabilities to meet customer demands efficiently while optimising resources. This collaborative process not only ensures smooth operations but also holds the key to unlocking productivity within the manufacturing realm.

S&OE is typically a weekly cross functional process to manage short term changes to the Sales & Operations Plan (S&OP). Whereas S&OP looks forward from 3 to 18-24 months, the purpose of the weekly S&OE cycle is to manage exceptions in the near term 1 to 13 week horizon.

Exceptions happen, for both good and not so good reasons, but you need react to them effectively and efficiently looking across the end-to-end supply chain. S&OE manages change through a controlled, collaborative process that seeks alignment to agreed business guidelines and parameters to deliver the best outcome for your customer and your business within the resources available to you.

It reduces noise, conflict, confusion and ultimately builds cross functional understanding and alignment.

In essence, S&OE is the heartbeat of operational agility in manufacturing. It entails a granular examination of sales forecasts, production capacities, inventory levels, and distribution channels to synchronize the flow of goods from production to delivery.

By integrating data from various sources and leveraging advanced analytics, manufacturers gain real-time insights into market trends, demand patterns, and operational bottlenecks.

This enables them to fine-tune production schedules, allocate resources effectively, and swiftly adapt to changes in customer preferences or market dynamics.

A robust capability in S&OE lays the foundation for innovation within manufacturing enterprises. By fostering collaboration between sales, operations, and other functional areas, S&OE cultivates a culture of continuous improvement and experimentation.

Manufacturers can harness this collaborative spirit to streamline processes, optimize

product designs, and explore new market opportunities.

Whether it’s adopting lean manufacturing principles, implementing just-in-time inventory practices, or embracing emerging technologies like automation and IoT, S&OE empowers organisations to innovate at every stage of the production cycle.

Moreover, S&OE serves as a catalyst for productivity enhancement across the manufacturing spectrum. By orchestrating seamless coordination between sales forecasts and production plans, S&OE minimises inefficiencies, reduces lead times, and maximises resource utilisation.

This not only improves operational performance but also drives cost savings and enhances profitability. With optimised production schedules and inventory levels, manufacturers can minimise waste, reduce excess inventory carrying costs, and improve overall resource utilisation.

Furthermore, S&OE enables manufacturers to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty by delivering products on time and in full. By aligning production schedules with demand forecasts and ensuring adequate inventory levels, manufacturers can minimise stockouts, backorders, and delivery delays. This enhances reliability and responsiveness, fostering stronger relationships with customers and enabling manufacturers to capture market share in a competitive landscape.

In today’s fast-paced and increasingly interconnected world, the importance of S&OE cannot be overstated. As supply chains become more complex and customer expectations continue to evolve, manufacturers must embrace S&OE as a strategic imperative rather than a mere operational function.

By investing in advanced technologies, data analytics capabilities, and cross-functional collaboration, manufacturers can strengthen their S&OE capabilities and unlock new levels of innovation and productivity.

In conclusion, Sales & Operations Execution is fundamental in the manufacturing industry. It empowers organisations to;

• synchronise sales forecasts with production plans,

• optimise resources,

• and deliver superior customer experiences

By embracing S&OE as a strategic priority, manufacturers can unlock innovation, drive productivity gains, and stay ahead of the competition in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 8 SMART MANUFACTURING

Zenno Astronautics and Faraday Factory partner on high-temperature superconducting magnets to electrify space

New Zealand headquartered space-flight systems company Zenno Astronautics (Zenno), a developer of world-first superconducting electromagnets for space applications, and Faraday Factory Japan LLC, the world’s leading superconducting tape maker, have partnered to collaborate on the development of bespoke high-temperature superconductor (HTS) magnets for space applications.

Zenno and Faraday Factory Japan will combine their respective technologies and fields of expertise to develop a high-temperature superconductor (HTS) magnet product that uniquely suits space. Faraday Factory will manufacture the bespoke space HTS tape to conduct electrical currents with zero electrical resistance and an extremely high current density of several hundred amperes per square millimetre.

Zenno will implement the new technology in its superconducting magnet platform, designed to enable reliable, scalable, and fully electric space applications – including in-orbit satellite manoeuvrability to radiation shielding - for close proximity operations and farther afield.

Zenno co-founder and CEO Max Arshavsky says, “Zenno is excited to join forces with Faraday Factory to create game-changing superconducting electromagnet technology to take to space. Our mission is to electrify space and fuel-free technologies are what the space industry needs to open up new possibilities for satellite and spacecraft design and mission length.

“Zenno was the first company to take superconducting electromagnets to space, so working with Faraday Factory on bespoke superconducting magnetic systems is an important next step. HTS technology is already being embraced by other industries to

decarbonise and improve, and we want the space industry to be the next industry to benefit.”

Faraday Factory Japan CEO Dr Sergey Lee says, “Faraday Factory is cooperating with Zenno to improve mankind’s capabilities in space with new HTS-based technologies. As it always has been, advancements in space will improve millions of lives down here on Earth. In the frame of our cooperation, we will bring in our leading competence and expertise in HTS tape technology to improve Zenno’s space-related devices.

“Space will always be a place for the most advanced, most ahead-of-time technologies; that’s why using or not using HTS for space is out of the question for us. High-temperature superconductors are materials that alter the track of technology development – and we share the belief with our partners that this will happen in space technologies, too.

“We are excited to be on this way with our partner Zenno, which in December 2023 became the first company to take the HTS magnet system to space.”

About Zenno Astronautics

Zenno Astronautics Limited is a New Zealand, Europe and US-based company pioneering the future of sustainable and safe spacecraft operations utilising a range of superconducting magnet applications. Zenno enables fully autonomous and fuel-free satellite positioning and precision interactions between satellites.

Zenno is creating multiple applications of superconductivity in space, including radiation shielding, plasma control, close proximity operations and beyond, for the benefit of the entire space sector.

About Faraday Factory Japan

Faraday Factory Japan LLC runs the largest manufacturer facility of high-temperature superconductor (HTS) tape worldwide. The company has developed a successful PLD-based technology, which has operated 24/7 for the last several years.

The company received the 2021 and 2022 Financial Times Awards and Nikkei Top-500 rankings for high-growth companies in Asia-Pacific. It plans to multiply its production capacity, to address the rapidly growing demand from fusion, grid, wind power, and other zero-carbon technology markets. For more information, please visit

9 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024 SMART MANUFACTURING

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution taking place right now. This revolution is driven by the convergence of digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing and more. Adopting these technologies is enabling manufacturers to enhance their performance, output, monitoring, quality and control on a global scale.

The Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network

The challenge for New Zealand businesses starting out on their Industry 4.0 journey is knowing when, how and what technologies to adopt to improve efficiency, quality, documentation, business intelligence and sustainability.

Where do I start?

This Government initiative enables Kiwi manufacturers to experience Industry 4.0 technologies first-hand via nationwide showcase events, manufacturing site visits, interacting with and learning from industry leaders.



The Smart Factory Showcase is a free, interactive session designed to demystify and break down Industry 4.0 with a world leading NZ example. The session will highlight how incorporating smart technologies improves efficiencies, productivity, connectivity, solves common manufacturing issues and streamlines systems and processes. The Showcase provides an ideal introduction to kick-start or progress your own Industry 4.0 journey.

Who should attend

This event is designed for CEO’s, Digital Technology Managers, Operations Managers, Design Engineers and Managers seeking an in-depth understanding of the latest available technologies for businesses. It is a valuable forum to get buy-in from stakeholders and the events are relevant across all sectors. Teams are encouraged to attend together.

What to expect

The Smart Factory Showcase highlights Nautech Electronics’ Auckland facility and what the future of advanced manufacturing looks like – You will be inspired, gain powerful insights to enhance your manufacturing agility and be armed with the knowledge to join the Industry 4.0 revolution.

It can really help by providing concrete examples of how you can actually apply this stuff and get value from it, and network with others to find out what they’re doing to implement Industry 4.0

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 10
“ “
all Showcases

WIndustry 4 0 is our fourth industrial revolution, driven by converging digital technologies including the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, AI, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D printing. With Industry 4.0 technologies, manufacturers can enhance performance, monitoring, quality and control on a global scale

Register for upcoming events



10th April 7:30AM - 10:30AM


2rd May 9:30AM - 12:30PM

Join us for events, apply for a readiness assessment to see how you compare to others in your sector or simply expand your knowledge through the resources and case studies

Palmerston North

3rd May 9:30AM - 12:30AM Register Register Register

The Smart Factory Showcase is a free, interactive session designed to demystify and break down Industry 4 0 with a world-leading NZ example

The session will highlight how incorporating smart technologies improves efficiencies, productivity, connectivity, solves common manufacturing issues and streamlines systems and processes

The Showcase provides an ideal introduction to kick-start or progress your own Industry 4 0 journey

The Smart Factory Showcase highlights Nautech Electronics’ Auckland facility and what the future of advanced manufacturing looks like – you will be inspired, gain powerful insights to enhance your manufacturing agility and be armed with the knowledge to join the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Breadcraft: The Game Changing Impact of Vision Systems and MES Integration


9th May 11:00AM - 12:00PM


Action Manufacturing


9th April 10:00AM - 12:30PM Register

Howard Wright

New Plymouth

11th April 9:30AM - 12:00PM

11 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024
I n d u s t r y 4 . 0 ?
h a t i s
H A T T O E X P E C T T H E I N D U S T R Y 4 . 0 P R O G R A M M E


Sandra Lukey

Sandra Lukey is the founder of Shine Group, a consultancy that helps science and technology companies accelerate growth. She is a keen observer of the tech sector and how new developments create opportunity for future business. She has over 20 years’ experience working with companies to boost profile and build influential connections.

Mike Shatford is an expert in the field of technology development and commercialisation. His company Design Energy Limited has completed over 100 significant projects in this vein by consulting for and partnering with some of New Zealand’s leading producers. Among Mike and his team’s strengths are industrial robotics and automated production where the company puts much of its focus.

Sean O’Sullivan

Has a B Com (Hons) Otago University. In 2000 - 2001 introduced PCs on the workshop floor and job and staff tracking and a productivity software App to Fletcher Aluminium Group and 100 manufacturers NZ nationwide.

In 2001 – 2022 Founding Director Empower Workshop Productivity & Scheduling Software App. 236 manufacturing and engineering clients mainly throughout NZ and Australia, also UK and US.

Iain Hosie

Iain Hosie is a respected figure in the NZ Advanced Manufacturing and Materials sectors, with extensive experience in product development, research projects and commercializing tech products. Iain is a Director and Founder of Nanolayr Ltd, Director for the NZ Institute for Minerals and Materials Research, Commercial Director for Fabribotics Ltd, and Executive Council of BiotechNZ.

Catherine Lye

Is the first Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed cross-sector incorporated society, Advanced Manufacturing Aotearoa (AMA).

Catherine has been Head of Manufacturing and Export Communities at the 7,100-member Employers and Manufacturers Association for the past two years. As part of that she has guided the Advanced Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 initiatives.

Adam Sharman

Is a Senior Partner at Dsifer. With a background in technology implementation, manufacturing and strategy, Adam and the team at Dsifer are on a mission to support New Zealand’s manufacturing sector transform using technology, data and analytics to outcompete on the world stage. Combining expertise in data engineering, data science & analytics and visualisation.


for future growth:

A focus on perceptions,people, process innovation to drive positive productivity performance.

The manufacturing sector stands as a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy, contributing significantly to its prosperity. Accounting for 10% of New Zealand’s GDP, employing 12% of the workforce (approx. 250,000 workers), and driving 60% of exports ($54.18B), it plays a pivotal role in doubling New Zealand’s exports within the next decade.

However, market conditions have been challenging for the manufacturing sector. The April Quarterly Business Operations Survey reported a net 12 percent of manufacturers are feeling pessimistic about general economic conditions, and exercising caution around hiring and investment with a net 14 percent of firms planning to reduce investment in plant and machinery over the coming year.

Businesses continue to monitor the trading environment closely and will be considering measures to ensure that they are appropriately positioned for the cycle and able to capture future opportunities.

As New Zealand’s manufacturing sector navigates through challenging market conditions, a strategic focus on perceptions, people, and process innovation emerges as three key areas crucial for sustained growth and competitiveness.


Focussed efforts on promoting more positive perceptions around NZ manufacturers unwavering focus on quality, innovation, and sustainability can attract customers, talent, and investors alike as they seek to solve real-world challenges. Areas of competitive advantage for New Zealand include Food, Agri-Tech, Space-Tech, Bio-Tech, Med-Tech, Clean-Tech:

AgriTech: The agriculture industry faces unprecedented challenges as this generation works to produce more food sustainably while reducing emissions and supplying at a lower cost. Given New Zealand’s strong agricultural industry, we excel in developing solutions to enhance productivity, sustainability, and efficiency. This includes precision farming, farm management software, and agronomic technologies. eg: RoboticsPlus, Halter, AgriSea NZ Seaweed

Biotechnology: New Zealand has a growing biotechnology sector, particularly in areas such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and environmental biotechnology. Eg: Douglas Pharmaceuticals, BLIS Technologies, MitoQ

Marine Technology: With its extensive coastline and oceanic resources, New Zealand has opportunities in marine technology sectors such as marine biotechnology, oceanography, and marine engineering. Eg: Boxfish Robotics, SnapCore, Kernohan Engineering, Pinpoint Earth

Space and Aerospace: New Zealand has made strides in the space sector with the establishment of companies like Rocket Lab and the Government are looking to keep pushing that momentum. Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Judith Collins travelled with a business delegation to Colorado Springs this month to speak at the 39th Space Symposium. The 10,000-people-strong symposium will be attended by space experts and leaders from across the globe. Eg: Zenith Tecnica, Dawn Aerospace

People: A skilled, engaged, and empowered workforce is essential for driving productivity and innovation in the manufacturing sector. The future of our manufacturing sector must be even more educated, innovative, and resilient to stay competitive. We can’t afford to leave any talented individuals behind.

Rocket Lab has committed to the Space Workforce 2030 initiative, a global pledge within the aerospace industry that seeks to inspire, prepare, and employ a space workforce that can support the dynamic and diverse needs of space missions for generations to come. Each year, Rocket Lab are required to provide information to Space Workforce 2030 as part of the pledge.

Rocket Lab’s initiatives have provided pathways into full time employment for a number of young women with data confirming that approximately 80 per cent of women who started with the company in the last 18 months have been promoted and still with the company.

NZ has incredibly innovative companies, but innovation only comes from multiple perspectives and diversity provides the launch pad to access that.

continued on Page 25

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 12 SMART MANUFACTURING

DHL Supply Chain harnesses global intelligence in NZ robot rollout

DHL Supply Chain has drawn on its global technology experience to deploy New Zealand’s first Locus Robotics warehouse automation solution.

Based at DHL’s Highbrook distribution centre to further streamline Schneider Electric’s product supply chain, the company has rolled out 10 new Locus Origin autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to collaborate with its warehouse team using the LocusOne warehouse automation platform.

This deployment is a part of DHL’s ongoing partnership with Locus Robotics which will see 5,000 Locus Origin AMRs rolled out globally.

LocusOne is a data-driven system that directs AMRs to pick and drop locations around the warehouse.

DHL team members assist them by picking, loading and unloading items for despatch.

This collaboration between team members and AMRs for warehouse throughput results in the automation of many time-consuming and laborious tasks traditionally performed by humans, such as walking long distances to pick locations and manoeuvring pick carts.

This results in faster product picking and team members can be redeployed to other tasks requiring a human touch.

The Locus Origin AMRs feature a tablet screen and scanner to interface with team members, and eight cameras and sensors to safely navigate warehouses and around people.

The AMRs operate for up to 14 hours per charge and calculate the shortest possible routes to pick locations around the warehouse, to maximise performance throughout the shift.

DHL New Zealand Managing Director, Matt Casbolt, said he is pleased to be leveraging the global knowledge within his company to deliver a more effective solution for customers in New Zealand.

“We’ve been following the deployment of LocusOne at our company’s sites in the United States, Europe and in Australia with keen interest and we’re pleased to be introducing this technology for our customers in New Zealand,” Mr Casbolt said.

“DHL’s deployment of Locus One in other locations has resulted in significant throughput efficiency improvements, and we foresee this technology providing genuine benefits to Schneider Electric’s supply chain.

“Implementing this technology also helps us to offer a more attractive working environment for our team members,” he said.

Rockwell Automation to increase scale and scope of AI in manufacturing with NVIDIA

Rockwell Automation is collaborating with NVIDIA to accelerate a next-generation industrial architecture.

Manufacturing is a $15-trillion global industry that touches everything humans need to survive and thrive—from clean water to food, life-saving drugs and therapies, sustainable energy, mobility, and more. Rockwell plans to evolve the industry by creating the factory of the future, making it easier for automation customers to digitalize industrial processes.

Factories of the future will be characterized by enhanced sensing capabilities with machine vision, accelerated compute capability in control systems, advanced simulations equipped with learning agents, widespread adoption of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and generative AI (GenAI) experiences to enhance information retrieval for frontline operators.

“Our work with NVIDIA is poised to help accelerate the future of industrial operations and create value across our portfolio of software, hardware, and

services—from the cloud to the factory floor,” said Jordan Reynolds, vice president, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy, Rockwell Automation. Rockwell will further integrate NVIDIA Omniverse Cloud application programming interfaces (APIs) with Emulate3D by Rockwell Automation, bringing users data interoperability, live collaboration, and physically based visualization for designing, building, and operating industrial-scale digital twins of production systems.

“The demand for the accelerated computing needed to create, simulate, and operate large-scale digital twins is rising,” said Rev Lebaredian, vice president, Omniverse and Simulation Technology, NVIDIA. “Rockwell will integrate NVIDIA Omniverse Cloud APIs with its Emulate3D digital twin application to help make factory analysis, including operations and simulation, easier and more predictive than ever.”

The lack of labor force and a need for more efficiency are driving huge demand for intelligent automation and robotics in manufacturing and logistics. By developing on the NVIDIA robotics platform for edge AI, Rockwell is helping to bring AMRs—through its recent acquisition of OTTO Motors—and process automation applications to industrial customers.

A recent survey from Rockwell Automation shows AI ranks as the top feature that manufacturers believe will drive the biggest business outcomes. In fact, 83 percent of manufacturers expect to use GenAI in their operations in 2024.

As part of this collaboration, NVIDIA is now an official member of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™, meaning Rockwell customers can use NVIDIA applications to help make their operations more resilient, agile, and sustainable.

13 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024 SMART MANUFACTURING

To exhibitors and organisers, NZ Manufacturer wishes the show all the best. New Zealand going forward needs to work smarter for quality of life and business success.

Tools for enhanced productivity are key.

See these tools at EMEX 2024

text title NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 14 SMART MANUFACTURING

CSIRO report maps sovereign capability to build ‘foundational’ AI tech

Foundation models, the technology underpinning the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), could boost productivity, bolster our economy, and transform industries according to a new report by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

Trained on vast amounts of data and able to perform wide-ranging, complex and generalised tasks, foundation models power AI products such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Copilot and Google’s Gemini.

At least 125 foundation models have been developed worldwide over the past few years with most coming from the United States (73%), China (15%) and Europe. Most are made by private-sector technology corporations.

CSIRO’s report on AI foundation models provides an accessible overview of the fast-moving global foundation model landscape, outlining opportunities to minimise risks and maximise their benefit.

Lead author Dr Stefan Hajkowicz said beneath the hype lies the potential to localise this global

technology and improve a broad spectrum of industries and services.

“We’ve all been impressed by the way these models can write a wedding speech or a poem. But the speed, power, and colossal scale of the data analysis they can achieve has the potential to help us solve our greatest challenges, boost productivity and save lives,” Dr Hajkowicz said.

“A foundation model for healthcare for example could help us untangle complex, hidden relationships in patients’ health records, helping us reduce medical misdiagnoses each year due to human error.”

Professor Elanor Huntington, CSIRO’s Digital, National Facilities & Collections Executive Director, said building sovereign capability in this new class of infrastructure requires an integrated approach.

“While there are significant benefits to fine-tuning existing models in terms of cost and the speed of innovation, using foreign models poses security and reliability risks,” Professor Huntington said.

“It may also result in tools that aren’t culturally appropriate in an Australian context, or that don’t realise the benefits for our workers that we want to see.”

Opportunities to maximise the positive impact of foundation models to benefit citizens could include developing public sector AI models, democratising access to high-performance computing, sharing datasets, promoting skills uplift, as well as fostering international collaborations.

$100m+ industrial development to boost NZ’s sustainable logistics sector

A $100 million-plus industrial complex under construction in a historic trading area of Auckland will create a new standard for the sustainable distribution of goods in New Zealand, according to an industry expert.

The new facility is targeting the 6 Green Star Design and As-Built rating, a world-leading sustainability standard.

Latest Stats NZ data shows the transport and warehousing sector makes up 6% of the total emissions of New Zealand’s industries.

Architects will incorporate low-carbon concrete, rainwater harvesting, solar electricity generation, smart lighting, and smart air conditioning, among other green initiatives to help achieve the rating. With approximately 1,750 solar panels generating over 1.2GWh of energy annually, the facility will also be one of NZ’s largest rooftop photovoltaic installations.

The 3.5ha Neilson Street development, with an expected value on completion of over $100 million, will be the largest industrial build to date for NZX-listed Argosy Property Limited when completed in late 2025.

The new investment comes at a time when parts of the Auckland region are facing the lowest levels of industrial building construction for over a decade. The site’s infrastructure will provide the capacity to

accommodate large EV truck charging, with solar panels supplying over 1.2GWh of energy annually for next-generation electrified 23-metre truck and trailers - as well as for use in industrial processes or automated logistics.

Simon Brake, Argosy’s development manager, says the Onehunga development is attracting interest from- large-scale organisations focused on logistics and distribution and is likely to employ over 170 workers and a further 450 staff in its construction.

“With decarbonisation driving industry towards more sustainable business practices a prime location must be paired with a demonstrably sustainable building to attract large scale logistics operators.

“To meet the needs of this sector, we are integrating a range of energy and resource-efficient features into our building designs.

“These include the use of low carbon additives in concrete and onsite electricity generationsupporting tenants in the move to electrified transport by providing carbon-zero energy.

“In addition, rainwater tanks at the new development will store 980,000 litres of rain annually, enough to supply an average Aucklander’s daily needs for over 18 years. This supply provides an alternative to the utilisation of public water resources for non-potable use such as bathrooms and irrigation.

“We are also planning to use low-carbon steel as an alternative construction material.

“From an energy management perspective, and in contrast with commercial offices, lighting is expected to be the largest power consumer in an industrial building. We have consequently elected to install advanced LED systems that consume less than 2.5 W/m2 and will activate only with occupancy and insufficient natural light,” he says

Brake says latest industry data shows industrial vacancy in central Auckland is low for A-grade warehouses and the committed supply pipeline of new developments for 2025 is just 61,000m2significantly lower than historical annual averages for the area.[3]

He says the Onehunga development has heavy industry zoning, dual road access and connections to local seaports, the CBD and Auckland airport and will be made up of two high clear span warehouses up to 13m in knee height - the first to be completed will be 5,000m2, and the second which is 11,500m2, as well as 3,400m2 of breezeway.

15 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024 SMART MANUFACTURING

continued from Page 1

What do we do about manufacturing?

The I4.0 future of manufacturing is not about access to cheap labour. It is about cutting-edge technology supported by a highly skilled workforce, while operating sustainably in carbon conscious supply chains.

This latter area is becoming very important for manufacturers and their customers globally, and a key part of my sustainability and climate change trade policy work on the APEC Business Advisory Council.

While all of this should provide New Zealand manufacturers with an opportunity, unfortunately this is also an area where we are falling behind.

According to new research by Westpac, New Zealand manufacturers are reluctant adopters of digital technology.

In fact, it is estimated that we are at least a decade behind many European countries, and Europe is behind both Asia and the US.

A startling statistic is that in New Zealand there are only about 55 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers. In Denmark, which has a similar population to New Zealand, there are 246. While in South Korea, there are a staggering 946 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers.

So, what do we do?

The appointment of a Minister of Manufacturing, Andrew Bayly, is a promising start and a sign that the new Government places a high emphasis on manufacturing. Early meetings with Minister Bayly indicate he is very focused on actions to help the sector recover and grow.

These actions need to be immediate and targeted if we are to achieve goals like doubling our exports as a country.

First up is introducing policies that create the right incentives for manufacturers to invest in digital technology, for example Accelerated Depreciation.

According to the Stats NZ Business Operations Survey, the manufacturing sector uses older equipment than any other sector in the New Zealand economy.

Worse, the percentage of New Zealand manufacturers that use equipment with the latest technology is trending down, and those that use equipment with technology that is more than a decade old has increased.

This is not surprising. We have many small manufacturers for whom introducing new technology is not only costly but also disruptive and can result in lost production. And Kiwi businesses know how to “sweat” assets to prolong their economic life!

Many firms lack the financial resources that they need to invest in robotics, AI and other game-changing technology, and raising debt in the current economic environment can be tricky.

Improving our R&D tax credit system and introducing more rapid rates of depreciation would help alleviate some of this cost and incentivise investment by reducing tax liabilities.

A bolder approach would be the establishment of some form of investment fund that could co-invest alongside manufacturers, helping them overcome some of the financial barriers.

The Australian government has launched a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, which is aimed at diversifying and transforming Australian industry. In New Zealand, the government’s fiscal position might mean encouraging more foreign direct investment into our sector, potentially matching government funding. We also need to continue supporting manufacturers to understand the benefits that new advanced manufacturing technologies can deliver.

An example of how this can be done is the work the EMA has been doing with Callaghan Innovation, BECA and LMAC, delivering the Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network.

This programme provides a “hands on” opportunity for manufacturers to see the latest technology in action and learn how it can be applied to their manufacturing processes.

We know from first-hand experience that these types of programmes make a difference. Once manufacturers see how the latest technology can be used to improve their productivity, they are more likely to invest in it.

Finally, we need to ensure manufacturers have access to the skilled workers they need when they adopt these technologies.

That means reorientating our education system so that it is preparing young people for the jobs of tomorrow, and introducing programmes that help upskill workers to operate in a highly digital environment.

If we get this right, there is no reason we can’t unleash the potential of our manufacturing sector and deliver an economic uplift for our employers, their workers and communities right across the motu.

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 16 ANALYSIS
New Zealand's Premier Manufacturing & Engineering Solutions Event 28-30 May 2024, Auckland Showgrounds Looking to exhibit? Get in contact: Aad van der Poel | 021 314 199 EMEX.CO.NZ

EMEX 2024: The biggest yet for manufacturing and engineering solutions

Industry professionals are in for a treat as EMEX 2024, New Zealand’s leading Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology event, prepares for its biggest outing in over a decade.

Held just once every two years, the event returns to the Auckland Showgrounds for three days only, May 28-30.

Boasting over 210 exhibitors from New Zealand and abroad, EMEX 2024 will sprawl across 10,000 square meters of exhibition space.

Attendees can expect a sold-out floor plan showcasing cutting-edge technologies across the industry spectrum.

Interactive Learning and Networking

EMEX 2024 offers a dynamic learning environment, featuring the most influential and leading players at the forefront of the manufacturing and technology industries.

Engage in live demonstrations and workshops on Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 applications.

Stay ahead of the curve with a dedicated vocational training hub, alongside a free-to-attend extensive speaker series (to be announced soon) featuring the

latest industry topics.

Additionally, following on from its highly successful inaugural launch at last year’s SouthMACH, the MAKE|NZ National Manufacturing Conference returns with a focus on collaboration, design, and workforce changes. Held alongside EMEX on May 29th.

With an expected 5,000 industry professionals in attendance, this is your chance to discover next-generation technologies that can revolutionise your business.

It’s free to attend! Share the news with

your colleagues and mark your calendars for this not-to-miss event. Register early to secure your spot at

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 18 2024
MIG WELDING EXPERIENCE For more information call Matt on 0220 200 626 VISIT US at EMEX at Stand 2008

What does ‘sustainable manufacturing’ actually involve?

In this issue we talk with Emily Townsend, our Services Director. Emily’s spent her career working in manufacturing, and with manufacturers, in New Zealand and the UK.

Emily, what does ‘sustainable manufacturing’ mean to you?

It’s become a buzzword but I think it’s about change –incremental and major. Incremental change involves things like producing more efficiently and ensuring products create less waste at their end-of-life.

Major change is about powering factories with renewable energy and moving to responsible procurement to avoid modern slavery in supply chains.

People need manufactured products and it’s unrealistic to think those needs will go away. So the challenge for manufacturers is to reduce the impacts of your products.

When did you get into sustainable manufacturing?

At the start of my career (though it wasn’t called sustainability then!) In my first role I supported a bid to supply to the London Olympics. I had to find out what our business was doing to meet their criteria, then coordinate and communicate our work.

I also helped measure the carbon footprint of the M25 motorway that circles London. I looked at options like recycled asphalt to reduce the footprint and produced a tool for the industry to assess options.

I then worked in roles in lean manufacturing, measured products’ carbon footprints and reported on sustainability performance. When I came to New Zealand in 2015 I took up a sustainability role with Downer. (Sustainability was a term by then!) I joined thinkstep-anz in 2018.

What does your current role involve?

I support our thinkstep-anz team to deliver sustainability projects to clients, including many manufacturers. Are we meeting technical best practice? Delivering what our clients need? Linking our services for greatest impact?

How do manufacturers benefit from becoming more sustainable?

You’ll understand your product, processes and value chain better. That often highlights ways to become more productive and profitable. You’ll also reduce risks and strengthen relationships with stakeholders, including your team.

How has your team helped manufacturers make their products more sustainable?

Golden Bay Cement is a good example. We used a tool called Life Cycle Assessment to measure the environmental impacts of their cement, then supported the company to communicate those impacts in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

An EPD tells a product’s environmental story over its life cycle. It’s science-based, independently verified and publicly available.

Later we used scenarios to test what would happen if Golden Bay Cement changed their production processes and updated the EPD to report the improvements.

And their packaging?

If you manufacture packaging, you may know about our work here. We’ve measured the carbon footprints of many packaging options: punnets for Meadow Mushrooms’ mushrooms, various options for Zespri’s kiwifruit, postbags for NZ Post and cartons for Tetra Pak.

Where should manufacturers start to become more sustainable?

Do a ‘materiality assessment’. This involves asking your stakeholders about the social, environmental and economic topics that matter most to them, then putting a ‘business lens’ over these topics to understand what’s most relevant to your business. Some topics are relevant to most manufacturers. For example, social topics will include your team’s health and safety. Environmental topics will include your discharges to air and water, your impact on climate change, and the risks of a changing climate to your business.

Then there are the economic topics. How circular and durable are your products? How resilient is your supply chain?

Why do manufacturers need to work with their supply chains to become more sustainable?

For many manufacturers, the bulk of your impacts are in your supply chain. They come from extracting and processing the raw materials you use and transporting them to your factory. Understanding how your suppliers operate and working with them to be more efficient or develop lower-impact products can have a huge effect on the impacts of the finished products you manufacture.

Think beyond environmental. Supply chains are complex. It can be hard to understand exactly where your materials come from and harder to know the work practices involved. Could your materials come from a conflict zone? Could there be modern slavery such as child labour involved? Developing a responsible procurement strategy will help you identify and minimise these risks.

How are industry associations supporting manufacturers to become more sustainable?

Concrete NZ is a good example. We’ve helped them develop a decarbonisation roadmap for their industry. It summarises what needs to happen, how and when for the concrete industry to be ‘net-zero carbon’ by 2050.

Roadmaps make sure everyone in the industry understands what needs to happen and build momentum for change.

How can manufactures show progress without risking ‘greenwash’?

Base your decisions and reporting on data and get your data and claims reviewed independently. Produce an EPD – it’s a document your customers can trust.

And consider product certification through an industry scheme to show you’re following industry best practice.

19 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024 SUSTAINABILITY
Emily Townsend

Emotional intelligence - the secret weapon women are using to drive change in construction

We speak to three women who are shaking up the construction industry with new ways of thinking.

When Melissa Campbell visited a major construction project in central Auckland it was a team of female electricians who were the life and soul of the work site.

They were spectacular,” says the Health and Safety Manager from leading construction company LT McGuinness.

“They had the best sense of humour, they worked hard, and they were personable, intelligent and strong – all the things you want from someone that you work with. We need more of that.”

This crew of female sparkies are an example of how the growing number of women in construction are bringing a new way of thinking and a different perspective that is driving a culture of change in the traditionally male-dominated industry.

And, believes Campbell and other influential women in the construction and trades sectors, this thinking and a woman’s unique skills, such as compassion and attention to detail, can help the industry to innovate, move forward, and build smarter.

“The female voice in construction is definitely louder,” says Campbell. Campbell, who has worked in construction for 14 years, says companies are now looking to women for unique skills that brings something different to the industry.

“You’ve got to have different perspectives to innovate and to do things differently. A mix of cultures and ages are important and together with gender diversity, it brings the chance to challenge each other, to be competitive, and to innovate and bring new ideas into the fold.”

For Campbell, the unique skills females have, include empathy, planning capability, and attention to detail.

“There’s a huge push in the industry to recognise these skills and differences women bring and to use them to our advantage. A woman’s way of thinking is so incredibly different from a male.

“Everyone’s mental health is better for having women on construction sites because nine times out of 10 ten a woman is warm, welcoming, and compassionate.” She believes a quality like attention to detail is essential for construction, especially from a safety perspective.

“A woman is not afraid to ask a question that may seem simplistic, but it is an essential question to ask. Every single woman I’ve ever worked with has a serious lack of major incidents or injuries to their name because they take more time, and they are more risk averse than some men.”

Times they are a changin’

When Campbell started at LT McGuinness seven years ago there were few women – now there are more than 30 female staff.

“For a long time, the biggest challenge for me was getting people to take me seriously as a young female in a management position. But the old school mentality around women being in construction is changing dramatically.”

When Rebecca Gornall, Health and Safety Manager at Mansons TCLM Limited, first started her role in commercial construction six years ago she was one of the only females on site.

“Now there are a number of full-time female workers across all the sites I visit. This grows each year which will help with industry culture because it still has its traditional stereotypical construction tag. It’s a tough industry and there’s no political correctness involved. That’s where women’s soft skills, and their ability to negotiate and work as a team can help

improve and advance the industry.”

Calling more women

After almost doubling since 2013, there has been a significant increase in the number of women joining the construction industry. However, they are still significantly underrepresented.

According to Statistics New Zealand, women make up around 15% of the trades and construction industry. That equates to around 250,000 men to 40,000 women. For on-the-tools work, that figure is only 4%.

Gornall, whose father, brother and partner are in construction, is encouraging more females to join what she says is an exciting and dynamic industry.

“Every day you go to a site it’s different and constantly changing. It’s an incredibly dynamic and exciting environment – and that’s what I love about it, no day is the same.”

Lynne Hill, Safety Adviser at Site Safe New Zealand, says women simply being in the industry is helping change the culture.

“It is changing from the harden up and don’t cry culture to helping people. It’s all about being approachable. There are more women in health and safety roles in the industry because qualities like stability and consistency are key.

“I just wish there were more women in construction. The more we get, then the better the culture will be. There will be less back chat, and it will become a normal environment for women to be, somewhere they can be themselves.”

Getting on with the job

Before working in construction, Hill served in the Air Force for 40 years.

“It never really entered my mind that construction was a male-dominated industry after the time I spent in the Air Force because there were women in combat, women pilots, and women doing a whole range of work.”

She is looking forward to the day when construction is not seen solely as a man’s job.

“You still hear the occasional comment about, ‘Oh well if we have females on site then I’m going to have to carry their load’. I beg to differ. I have seen some males that can’t carry as much as I can.

“Women are going into construction with their eyes wide open. They’re not blind to what construction is like and at the end of the day, I think you’ll find most women just get in there and do a great job.”

Leading construction safety and site management platform, HammerTech, hires staff based on who it believes brings the right skills, experience, and perspective to a role.

“As a business,” says CEO Ben Leach, “we don’t hire women because we need to hit a specific quota. However, it just so happens that about half of those hires are women.”

This year, to highlight how important women are to the industry, HammerTech is sponsoring the Women In Construction scholarship at the Site Safe 2024 Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Awards.

“In construction, women bring diversity not just through gender, but through critical thinking and leadership style. Employment opportunities are on the rise, career pathways are increasing, and the value of diversity is becoming more recognised in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry,” says Leach. Gornall of Mansons says while a number of business industry leaders and managers are looking to employ more women, she is still a true believer in employing the right person for the job.

“It’s not about employing more females to catch up to the male dominated industry. It’s very much who is right for that role and the right fit for the team. I have worked alongside a number of women in construction, we definitely have unique skills, a real passion and a different way of thinking that has huge benefits for the industry.”

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 20

Information and operational technology a crucial strategy

As manufacturers look to technology to support the productivity, efficiency and innovation of their operations, the convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) stands out as a crucial strategy.

As at 2024, the OT market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 8.69% and the solution options available to manufacturers to digitise their operations continues to grow.

Whilst OT solutions provide significant benefit to manufacturers, it is the integration of OT and IT across the organisation that drives the highest value for these soluions.

Historically, IT and OT have operated in silos, serving distinct functions within organisations. However, as Industry 4.0 reshapes manufacturing processes, the synergy between these two domains has become imperative for staying competitive and maximising efficiency.

The integration of IT and OT involves breaking down the barriers between these two domains to create a unified ecosystem that leverages data from both operational and informational sources.

This integration enables manufacturers to optimise production processes, enhance product quality, reduce downtime, and ultimately drive profitability.

One of the primary benefits of integrating IT and OT is improved visibility and transparency across the manufacturing operations. By connecting OT devices to IT systems, manufacturers can gather real-time data on equipment performance, production rates, and resource utilisation.

This comprehensive visibility enables better decision-making, as managers have access to timely and accurate information to identify bottlenecks, anticipate maintenance needs, and optimise workflows. Furthermore, the integration of IT and OT facilitates predictive decision making.

For example, predictive maintenance, a proactive approach to equipment upkeep that relies on data analytics and machine learning algorithms to anticipate potential failures before they occur.

In order to successfully integrate their IT and OT systems, organisations should consider the following key dimensions:

1. Understand the Business Goals: Before integrating IT and OT, it’s crucial to understand the business objectives. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives that both IT and OT need to support.

2. Identify Integration Points: Determine where IT and OT can intersect to improve operations. This could include data exchange between enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, manufacturing execution systems (MES), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and other operational systems.

3. Standardise Communication Protocols: Establish common communication protocols and standards to facilitate data exchange between IT and OT systems. This could involve protocols like OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture), MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport), or other industry standards.

4. Implement Edge Computing: Deploy edge computing solutions to process data closer to the source (machines and sensors). This reduces latency and bandwidth requirements while enabling real-time decision-making.

5. Ensure Data Security: Implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and systems. This includes network segmentation,

encryption, access controls, and regular security audits.

6. Invest in Analytics and AI: Leverage advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) to derive insights from the integrated data. Predictive maintenance, quality optimisation, and process optimisation are areas where AI can provide significant value.

7. Train Employees: Provide training to employees from both IT and OT departments to familiarise them with the integrated systems and processes. Encourage collaboration and cross-functional teamwork.

8. Pilot Projects: Start with small-scale pilot projects to test the integration strategy and validate its effectiveness. Use the lessons learned to refine the integration approach before scaling up.

9. Continuous Improvement: Integration is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor and evaluate the integrated systems, gather feedback from stakeholders, and make necessary adjustments to optimise performance and achieve the desired business outcomes.

10. Compliance and Regulations: Ensure that the integrated systems comply with relevant industry regulations and standards such as ISO 27001 for information security and ISA-95 for manufacturing system integration.

11. Vendor Collaboration: Collaborate with vendors and solution providers to ensure compatibility and interoperability between IT and OT systems. Choose partners who understand both domains and can provide integrated solutions.

By addressing these key factors, manufacturers can successfully integrate IT and OT systems to drive digital transformation, improve operational efficiency, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

21 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024
ANALYSIS NZ MANUFACTURER FEATURES MAY 2024 Issue Advertising Booking Deadline – 7 May 2024 Advertising Copy Deadline – 7 May 2024 Editorial Copy Deadline – 7 May 2024 Advertising – For bookings and further informa Media Hawkes Bay Limited 06 870 9029 Articles to be sent to: EMEX 2024 PREVIEW ISSUE RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY 4.0 WORKSHOP TOOLS ROBOTICS

Artificial Intelligence: The thinking person’s machine

Firms that embed Artificial Intelligence (AI) will generate productivity and efficiency improvements and gain a competitive edge. AI will change the nature of work, changing the way labour is used and how workers are developed.

Firms that most effectively incorporate AI have a bright future due to improved productivity, competitiveness, and agility.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here. Machines that think like humans, able to perceive, recognise, solve, and learn can be found in our smartphones, digital voice assistants, smart home devices and navigation applications.

They power up our social media interactions, our streaming services, and are in many of the games that we play on consoles.

AI can also be found in every sector of the economy, from public to private, from agriculture and manufacturing to services, and everywhere in between.

Despite this, the adoption of AI in New Zealand has lagged. In 2021, for example, only 19% of firms in New Zealand1 had fully embraced AI, compared to 25% in Australia, US and UK.

Most firms here are still trying to work out what AI is and how it might be used. Some have started to experiment with it, while others have dabbled with AI applications like ChatGPT, BARD and DALL-E. There are some exceptions. Many larger firms in New Zealand, for example, have been active adopters, but tend to use AI in specific end uses. AI powered Chatbots bear testimony to this.

Firms are also using AI in other areas of their business, such as procurement, inventory management, processing, distribution, and marketing.

For a minority of firms, AI is more instinctive. What sets these mostly small tech-savvy firms apart is their willingness to put algorithms and big data at the core of their business.

AI determines what is produced, how it is produced, for which customer and at what price. Together with technologies such as robotics process engineering and Internet of Things, AI drives the machinery that

turns widgets into products.

To that extent, we think that AI has the potential to level the competitive playing field. AI is not only encouraging new market entrants, it’s allowing smaller firms within the same industry to compete head-on with larger firms.

Whether this poses a threat to larger players is uncertain as large firms have the access to massive proprietary data sets, a large customer base and an established market presence that AI could leverage more.

The benefits of AI depend on the extent to which it has been adopted. In general, firms that transform themselves and put AI at the core of their business are likely to see more benefits than those that limit AI to specific use areas. Much though depends on the quality of implementation and the sophistication of AI tools employed, as well as the cost.

These benefits are typically couched in terms of productivity gains at the firm level that deliver a competitive edge and better profitability. AI, for example, is good at repetitive tasks, such as data entry, report generation and customer service queries.

Businesses can also use AI to predict demand more accurately and gain greater efficiencies in procurement and inventory management. Other applications include preventative maintenance, which reduces equipment downtime.

Further efficiencies will be achieved by changing the role of humans in the production process, freeing up workers to focus on higher value-added work. This will require workers to develop different skills and competencies. In an AI-driven world, EQ counts just as much as IQ, with a premium placed on workers that are creative, collaborative and show empathy. Workforce management and development approaches will need to evolve to build a workforce with skills to add value in an AI-centric production process.

Despite these benefits, adopting AI can be challenging for many businesses. Some have an inbuilt resistance to change. Discarding tried and trusted practices requires a big change in mindset. There is also the issue of when to invest, given how quickly AI is moving and the risks of obsolescence. And that is before we get to the technical challenge of integrating AI within existing data and systems architecture.

The cost of incorporating AI, could be prohibitive, especially for sophisticated customised solutions. Lastly, it can take time for AI to bed in and deliver the value needed to push returns on investment above the hurdle rate.

However, for those that get AI right, the future looks good. Firms that don’t are likely to struggle against rivals that use AI to reduce their unit costs of production, while at the same time delivering products and services tailored to unique customer requirements.


NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 22 AI
Paul Clark, Industry Economist, Financial Markets, Westpac Institutional Bank
Explore or call 0800 177 188 Westpac New Zealand Limited.

continued from Page 6

Lessons in collaboration from across the Tasman

for parliamentarians to meet and interact with businesses, unions, industry and advocacy groups to help support and strengthen Australia’s manufacturing industry.

In the middle of the week, I joined up with a delegation of manufacturing business leaders from New Zealand organised by the Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA), led by their chief executive Dr Troy Coyle. Joining key HERA personnel were managing directors David Moore of Grayson Engineering, Wayne Carson of D&H Steel Construction, Dave Anderson of John Jones Steel, Gareth Evans of Farra Engineering, and Matthew Cross of the TE Group, along with HERA board chair Craig Stevenson of Aurecon.

The delegates were keen to get a better understanding of emerging advancements in research in Australia, particularly how they relate to advanced manufacturing, and how these could be transferred to industry here in NZ.

We were treated to a tour of the Australian Composites Manufacturing Cooperation Research Centre (ACM-CRC) located at the University of NSW in Sydney. Their research into transitioning composite manufacturers into Industry 4.0 through workforce development and digital production is truly inspiring.

As David Moore pointed out, while NZ manufacturers already collaborate with NZ and Australian universities and research centres, there are substantial opportunities to do so much more.

“In New Zealand, this currently tends to be done on a small scale – say a PhD student looking for a project – but we need people to come in, evaluate our businesses and suggest ways where we can make improvements, how we can get rid of bottlenecks and lift productivity,” he said. “The likes of the ACM-CRC team are craving real-life experience to utilise their research in the workplace.”

Later that day we toured the University of Wollongong Facility for Intelligent Fabrication. This

is a national facility focused on industry adoption of welding automation, using digital twinning and AI concepts to prototype new welding processes using robotic automation.

The application of these processes to the typical short-run manufacturing processes we use in NZ would be very exciting. They also demonstrated their Soldamatic technology which enables students to use and be trained in virtual reality welding units.

Dr Troy Coyle said of the visit: “HERA has long been a proponent for the creation of a Minister for Manufacturing, so we were thrilled to accompany the Minister on his visit of leading advanced manufacturing research and training facilities.

“The visits were informative in terms of the importance of long-term Government support for advanced manufacturing and industry-led research training programmes. A consistent theme through the visits was the importance of solving real problems for industry using advanced technologies, such as AI and digital twinning, through a focus on research impact.”

I think it’s important that as the Minister, I help where possible to facilitate access to the latest technologies being deployed internationally, and we also look to explore international market opportunities, as well as ensuring domestic manufacturing is well supported.

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23 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024 BUSINESS NEWS
The Minister using the Soldamatic technology (scoring 95/100!).

Industry benefits with first Fluid Power Engineering Certification

Mohammed Farook, left, has become the first person in New Zealand to undertake the brand new Certificate in Fluid Power Engineering Fundamentals (Level 3). Introduction of the new certification was championed by the New Zealand Fluid Power Association, led by chairperson, Tasj Paulson, pictured centre, who is also Owner and Director of Gisborne Hydraulics. The programme is being run by Apprentice Training New Zealand, led by National Manager Ben Julian, pictured right. (Photo supplied by the Gisborne Herald.)

For the first time in history, New Zealand has a dedicated certification for fluid power engineering, providing new training and career path options to those in the hydraulics and pneumatics industries.

The Certificate in Fluid Power Engineering Fundamentals (Level 3) approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is the result of sustained effort by several key people in the industry and of a newly formed New Zealand Fluid Power Association.

The treasurer & former chairperson of this association is Natasja (Tasj) Paulson, Owner and Director of Gisborne Hydraulics and Hydraulink distributor. Gisborne Hydraulics specialises purely in fluid power, which includes oil and compressed air.

The company services machinery for a broad range

of industries, including agriculture, horticulture, roading, earthmoving, marine, aviation support vehicles, viticulture, process factories, and more.

“After more than 20 years with Gisborne Hydraulics, I took over as owner in 2017 and found that it was difficult to attract the right staff because there was no formally recognised fluid power training,” explains Tasj.

Fluid Power Engineering Certification takes off

Tasj and a number of like-minded people from the Fluid Power Industry worked alongside the Workplace Development Council to develop a certification that was “for the industry by the industry.”

By the end of 2022, NZQA had officially accepted the certification, and much of 2023 was spent developing the technical elements of what the new course would look like.

Apprentice Training New Zealand took the lead in running the new certification programme. By the end of 2023, everything came together, and the new certification programme was ready for 2024.

“It was an exciting time and the result of the hard work of so many individuals. Naturally, I wanted Gisborne Hydraulics to be the first to participate in the programme, and two of our employees, Mohammed Farook (pictured) and workshop manager Blake Thornton eagerly signed up right away,” said Tasj.

Next steps

The New Zealand Certificate in Fluid Power Engineering Fundamentals (Level 3) is now available and provides the fundamentals of fluid power and helps participants secure good jobs and build their careers.

“The next steps are to consider adding a Level 4 and possibly a Level 5 qualification to further upskill people that want to take their qualifications to the next level,” explains Tasj.

IL-BRID locking system: hybrid design now also with

Hybrid design has become the challenge but also the opportunity of the automation sector to meet the market needs by following new directions. Products ease of use and adaptability to increasingly specific contexts are perceived as essential for customers and manufactures.

ILME response to flexibility and strength encounter stands in the IL-BRID Series of enclosures, whose range, distinguished by CL-ML nomenclature, now includes single-lever versions for the standard sizes “57.27”, “77.27” and “104.27”.

The IL-BRID locking system is characterised by handles made of self-extinguishing thermoplastic material (UL approved) with a stainless-steel core: different technical features combined in one ergonomic design for easy opening and closing allowing durable but significantly low-wear performance and optimal multipole connections safety

Elastic, rigid but still with a compact footprint and an effective locking resistance to sustain even large cables, the new IL-BRID enclosures are compatible with the full range of ILME enclosures with pegs on short sides.

TechRentals® is an IANZ endorsed Calibration Laboratory We offer both IANZ Endorsed and Traceable Calibrations of test and measurement equipment inluding: 0800

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 24
832 473

HV Power Siemens value-added reseller

HV Power Measurements and Protection Ltd (HV Power) has been appointed as Siemens’ first value-added reseller for the Medium Voltage portfolio in New Zealand. Expanding Siemens and HV Power’s relationship comes at a pivotal time to support New Zealand’s energy transition to carbon net zero commitments.

HV Power is a leading medium voltage (MV) switchgear, automation, and protection relay provider in New Zealand and is a long-standing preferred distributor of Siemens’ electrification and automation products. This new agreement extends this proven relationship.

For customers in New Zealand, it will mean a more streamlined approach for project delivery, increased cost effectiveness and wider access to engineering solutions in the medium voltage sector.

The agreement will cover Siemens’ 11/22/33kV gas insulated medium voltage switchgears, 17.5kV air insulated medium voltage switchgear and 11/22/33 kV ring main units.

Easy to integrate

The MEM+ gas mixer series from Witt is all about connectivity. There are no fewer than seven different interfaces to choose from. This allows the gas mixers to be seamlessly integrated into existing systems, such as packaging machines, laser welding machines or other systems in which protective or process gases are used.

Analogue 4-20 mA, Ethernet, CanBus, OPC UA as standard and optionally Profinet, RS232 or analogue 0-10V - with the MEM+, the user has a wide range of communication and control options.

The gas mixers can be operated remotely via a PC, PLC or machine controller, for example. Every parameter can be conveniently queried, set and documented. Of course, operation is also possible directly on the

continued from Page 12

Siemens and HV Power have been successfully delivering many projects in New Zealand, especially in the utilities sector, for over 20 years. It’s great to formalise our ongoing relationship and have HV Power on board as our value-added reseller.

HV Power will purchase the primary parts of medium voltage switchgear and then source and assemble the low voltage equipment required for customer delivery, including offering full Siemens solution with protection, control and automation, combining industry leading technology with local knowledge of standards and operating procedures.

HV Power will also have access to other partner benefits such as access to engineering information and the opportunity to train site technicians on Siemens technology.

Mike Strong, managing director HV Power, says “The great thing about working with a global technology leader like Siemens is that we have access to best-in-class products and also the local expertise and relationship to help deliver solutions that make a difference to the communities we operate in.”

device, and this is particularly intuitive thanks to its touchscreen and its optimised menu navigation. Pre-defined mixtures can also be selected in a matter of seconds.

The MEM+ series offers modern gas mixing systems for two to three non-flammable gases, e.g. N2, CO2 or O2. Inside, motorised proportional valves operate electronically. These allow precise mixture adjustment in steps of 0.1 per cent, activated with extremely short reaction times.

In less than three seconds, the desired gas mixture is effected, usually over the entire proportioning range of 0-100%, with an accuracy of better than ±1% absolute.

Numerous features ensure high accuracy and

long-term mixture stability, and thus high process reliability. Pressure equalisation makes the gas mixers insensitive to pressure fluctuations in gas supply pressures.

The inlet pressures are also continuously monitored by pressure transmitters and an alarm is triggered if the pressure is too low. A potential-free contact can also be used to stop the entire machine, for example.

Even fluctuating flowrates or even intermittent flows are no problem thanks to the buffer tank. For additional safety, the mixer can be combined with a gas analyser for continuous monitoring and documentation of the gas mixture generation.

Foundations for future growth: A focus on perceptions, people, process innovation to drive positive productivity performance.

Process Innovation:

A 20% increase in the number of businesses adopting cloud-based business tools in the future could add up to $7.8 billion to New Zealand’s annual GDP through improved productivity. The objective for manufacturers is to simplify and optimise standardised business processes and tools, enabling access to more insightful data, a more secure environment and ultimately improved outcomes for their customers and their people.

Interrogation of every process cost and a commitment to continuous process improvement sees Skellerup continue to invest in better business information and insights.

Continued implementation of new technology platforms is an ongoing priority for manufacturer Bremworth. There is a recognition that all business units benefit from having access to reliable, real-time data.

The use of modern systems is designed to better inform decision making and, improve business profitability and sustainability.

Comvita‘s transformative investment in manufacturing capability has delivered a 110% increase in productivity at their site in Paengaroa. There are also benefits to come through

re-engineering processes, refreshing master data and having integrated and automated data flows. Availability of timely information will enable Comvita to increase pace within the organisation, increase service to their markets and customers and ultimately become a major platform for acceleration moving forward.

With concerted and collaborative efforts by business and government in these areas, New Zealand’s manufacturing sector can lay strong foundations for future growth and success in reaching ambitious export targets. Join us

25 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024 WORKSHOP TOOLS
Mike Strong (HV Power) and Asad Khan (Siemens)

Empowering Frontline Leaders: A Key to Boosting Productivity in New Zealand’s Manufacturing Sector

-David O’Connor, Commercial Manager, The Learning Wave

Much has been written about the need for New Zealand manufacturing businesses to increase productivity to remain competitive internationally, and subsequently, the benefits that adoption of new digital technologies and smart factories can deliver to NZ manufacturers.

It is no great secret that the sector is in the midst of tough times. Many businesses are reporting having to cut back on shifts and overtime hours, pushing out innovation projects, and reducing their training spend to help manage costs and profitability.

Strong leadership is the key ingredient of any high-performing organisation. Equally, a lack of it can spell disaster. A quick search of Google tells us the same thing- they lead upwards of 80% of the workforce, and their performance directly impacts their team’s productivity, quality, engagement, innovation, customer service, and safety. Getting it right is critical.

The role of the frontline leader cannot all too easily be undervalued. Being a frontline leader isn’t just about keeping the production line running, and meeting today’s production targets; it’s about inspiring, motivating, and guiding their teams to perform better and juggling the ever-changing demands of staff, health and safety, quality, reporting and of course production and operational efficiency targets. No easy feat.

The return on investment is clear - according to a 2022 Harvard Business Review article, organisations

with high-quality leaders are 13 times more likely to outperform their competition. And yet with statistics like that, only 12% of companies surveyed in the recent 2023 Global leadership Forecast were confident in their leadership bench. Building a strong leadership bench is the obvious answer to unlocking productivity and performance.

An investment in learning pays dividends. In a recent article in MBA news, the Forrester research report stated that one number stands between thriving and floundering workplaces: $A2,500 – that’s the most 65% of businesses spend per year, per employee on leadership development.

While many New Zealand manufacturers measure and report their annual investment in R&D, very few actively report their investment in L&D (Learning and Development), with many seeing training spend as just another cost line to manage or trim. Often, it’s the first line trimmed in tough economic times. Several businesses that we work with continued to invest in leadership development training - both for frontline leaders and senior leaders - over 2020/21, and are now reaping the benefits of a much stronger leadership culture, a broader bench strength from which to choose, and increased employee engagement and loyalty. As one of our South Island-based clients reported “In a high staff churn environment, the turnover of staff having completed the leadership development programme is less than 1/10 of the average.”

While a true ROI from your investment in leadership development training can be hard to measure in the short term, our clients report that their frontline leaders are now better equipped across a number of key metrics, such as:

●• Modelling behaviours such as great self-awareness, accountability and ownership

• Better setting expectations, monitoring performance, and increased confidence to manage poor performance

• Creating conditions for commercial performance without trading off wellbeing

●• ●Use leadership and communication techniques to connect their teams to the bigger picture

To make the most of their investment - dollars and the time investment - businesses need to ensure that their managers have the skills and time to effectively and actively coach their frontline leaders on the job, and support them to actively apply the leadership tools on the job.

The importance of frontline leadership development cannot be overlooked, even in times of market uncertainty. Businesses need leaders who can navigate uncertainty, drive innovation, and unlock the potential of their people. It’s not just an investment in an individual; it’s an investment in the future of your business.

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 26 text title / SMART MANUFACTURING

Marine transport’s electric future

“The future of New Zealand’s harbour cities is electric,” says Lindsay Faithfull, Managing Director of McKay.

“From recreational vessels to commuter ferries, marine transport is going to radically transform over the coming decades as we, like the rest of the world, race toward a zero-emissions society.

McKay, New Zealand owned and operated vertically integrated electrotechnology company, has been at the forefront of ingenuity since 1936.

Today, McKay has eleven branches across New Zealand and a continued and growing presence in the United States and globally. It employs more than 650 people servicing a broad range of markets across infrastructure, industrial, commercial, and marine

whilst also leading in the design and delivery of future energy initiatives like renewables and electrification.

“It’s an exciting time for McKay,” says Faithfull. “We export our services and solutions to customers all over the world and we have some really strong growth prospects in the USA and the Middle East. Watch this space.”

Naut specialises in electric propulsion technology, capable of powering trailer boats ranging from 6 – 12 metres long

McKay is a long-time advocate for the Northland

business community and is one of five large businesses in the region that forms part of the Northland Corporate Group, which is currently lobbying the New Zealand government to commit to upgrading SH1 from Auckland to Northland.

“Our vision is to bring greater prosperity and economic growth to the region. A resilient and robust road network, running the length of SH1 between Auckland and Northland, will unleash masses of latent economic potential in the region.

27 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024

Te A - ti Awa and WelTec partner through Try-a-Trade

Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa and WelTec have joined up to launch an initiative called Try-a-Trade to encourage members of the community who are not currently working, studying or in training to consider pathways into further education or employment via trades training.

Try-a-Trade is based on a seven week series of workshops delivered on the WelTec Petone campus designed to develop skills and knowledge in foundational trades training. In essence - to give participants a snapshot of what training in different trades would be like. The workshops will be: mechanical engineering, plastering, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, painting and electrical.

The initiative is aimed at anyone over the age of 18 and is focused on those who are not employed or studying. Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa is working with the Ministry of Social Development and Te

Puni Kōkiri to get the word out.

“We are always looking at innovative ways to help those in our communities secure qualifications and jobs,” says Wirangi Luke, Te Tumu Whakarae (chief executive) of Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa.

“We have never tried this sort of approach before, but partnering with WelTec to give people the opportunity to try trades training seems a good way to expose them to the options available without daunting them with a huge commitment until they are sure.

“Initiatives like this are part of assuring the social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing for tāngata Te Āti Awa and the local community of Lower Hutt. We welcome those who would like to give the workshops a try.”

“Hopefully after trying a few different areas the

participants will feel confident enough to continue on a pathway and enrol in a qualification or try an apprenticeship,” says Hinemoa Priest, Kaiwhakahaere Māori at WelTec.

Expansion ramps up home building production, creates local jobs

Builtsmart’s new Feilding facility provides regional economic injection and more new homes

A leading home builder has opened a new factory in Feilding which will generate more than 100 jobs locally and significantly increasing production to meet ongoing demand for its homes.

Builtsmart, a Huntly based Off Site Manufacturing (OSM) business specialsing in quality transportable homes and classrooms, has openened its new production facility this week on a 1.9 hectare site in Feilding.

As well as creating new jobs in the Manawatu, the Feilding operation increases the company’s capacity to build 500 new homes and classrooms a year.

“To meet a growing demand we knew we needed to service the central and lower part of the North Island more effiiciently and Feilding is an ideal hub to do it from,” says Founder Philip Leather.

The Feilding operation is an extension of the company’s business strategy developed in 2019 to provide a solution to New Zealand’s housing crisis. Builtsmart now has 110 construction bays

including 34 at the new production facility in Feilding.

“The new facility enables us to increase production significantly and address the need for quality housing in communities across New Zealand.”

The benefits of Off-Site Manufacturing

Mr Leather says its OSM model enables Builtsmart to produce quality buildings more efficiently and affordably in half the conventional build time.

“Offsite manufacturing has significant benefits that support the housing supply chain including everything from increased productivity and the ease of scalability, through to enhanced quality assurance and reducing disruptions because of bad weather conditions.”

The Feilding facility will be the company’s third site along with its Huntly head office and a factory in Gisborne. The company also recently acquired additional industrially zoned land in Huntly to further expand its production capability to meet anticipated future demand for its products. Expansion supports local economy

Builtsmart currently employs 150 people at its production facilities, and the scale of the Feilding operation will create more than 100 additional roles.

“As we’ve done in Huntly and Gisborne, a key focus for us in Feilding will be to provide opportunities for young people to develop their skills and set them up for a great career in the building and construction sector.

“We work really hard to retain top talent, but many of the young people we have trained as apprentices have gone on to create their own successful businesses, and that’s great because both the industry and community benefit.”

Mr Leather says it’s very important to source products and materials locally where possible, which helps to fuel our enconomy.

Helping those in need, meeting national demand Established in 1982, the business remains family owned. Mr Leather’s daughters Aimee and Brooke and their husbands all hold key roles in the company. General Manager Cameron Beverland and his wife Marcelle also work within the business.

Those values are what attracted former Sistema owner Brendan Lindsay to invest in the business in 2018, bringing his considerable production expertise and his ‘what’s best for New Zealand’ approach.

Builtsmart’s partners include iwi throughout the North Island, key government agencies such as the Ministries of Education and Defence, Kāinga Ora, Department of Corrections and a wide range of community organisations.

“It is a challenging time for the building and construction industry, but we have a commitment to consistently innovate and produce a quality product for our clients at an affordable price,” says Mr Leather.

NZ Manufacturer April 2024 / 28

View from the top of the year

The current industrial property market in Christchurch is perhaps best described as a multi-layered beast. As a result of the Christchurch earthquakes and the need to complete structural strengthening, local vendors and landlords became some of the most experienced in the country when it came to understanding the performance of their asset.

The good news from the opening quarter of 2024 is that the market is buoyant, people are paying great money for land, and while demand is intense, we are steadily finding the stock to meet it.

The state of the current warehousing market

In the small to medium range – warehouses 250sqm to 1,500sqm – there is a steady flow of activity, though options in this range are tight.

Businesses are looking for opportunities to upsize and to consolidate multiple leased warehouse spaces, often located a few doors down from each other, or to split themselves across the city to service growing client bases.

In the medium to large warehouse range – 1,500sqm to 3,000sqm – available stock is limited for a range of reasons. For instance, a warehouse designed for engineering may not be tall enough for a distribution tenant to install racking, or there is insufficient yard space for container storages or an excess of redundant space such as offices, which tenants pay for all the same. Some tenants want to shift from leasing to owning but are finding no suitable options in the market to purchase.

In the large warehouse range (3,000sqm+) there is likewise limited existing stock. Third-party logistic (3PL) businesses will act as a distribution centre (DC) for a business (such as Kmart or Farmers) which doesn’t want to lease a premise of their own.

These 3PLs may then have a DC requirement in this range, dependent on winning the DC contract, so a search of the market is often done before or during the tender process. This presents challenges as the timeframe to complete a new build is 18 to 24 months and the DC contract usually commences well before a new building can be ready to occupy.

The opportunity for developers

The demand for stock presents a prime opportunity for industrial developers who are prepared to build on spec – straightforward warehouse layouts of 1,000 to 3,000sqm, potentially including small offices that can be moved around in the space.

^This has been done before – at Waterloo Business Park, Southpark created a large speculative three-building development on Islington Avenue. Similarly, Calder Stewart built one big warehouse with provision for office space in the Hornby Quadrant development. If there are two tenants, a firewall can simply be put between them.

In an environment of very high occupancy and low vacancy rates, spec building is a case of ‘build it and

they will come’ – but there does need to be a shift in thinking among tenants as to rental rates. No longer does clear span, high-stud industrial warehousing lease for $85 to $95 per square metre; the market is seeing $140 and higher. Tenants have to accept that is the new level before developers are prepared to come in droves.

The good news is this shift is already happening, and we are seeing these new rentals rates being achieved. This will continue. With this shift we are keen to see more developers step in and have confidence that the increases in industrial land value and construction costs will be matched by rental rates.

The areas of demand

There is demand for freehold land and buildings near the airport and in the north-west industrial corridor leading up to the Waimakariri River. On that note, competition would be beneficial in the market with the likes of the airport development providing lease-only options. For now, if large owner/occupiers or tenants require 3000+sqm of warehouse near the airport, there is only one place to go.

^Rezoning of undeveloped land in Canterbury for industrial use is a huge focus for our team, and it is happening – a good example is the rezoning of six hectares in Selwyn for industrial use.

Christchurch City Council and Christchurch Airport can add a lot of value here. The land within the airport industrial park is all but gone, indicating

something has to give there; and in the greater area of Hornby and Wigram there are large tracts of land next to business parks that are crying out for rezoning opportunities.

Our predictions for 2024

A recurring theme in commercial and industrial property is that virtually everything is taking longer than predicted; from the pace of the recovering economy, to leasing a building, to selling a property.

^We see and hear a lot of growing confidence among business of all sizes, and as we start to see key financial indicators, such as the OCR, interest rates, and inflation, improve over this year and into 2025, this will validate business decisions to push ‘go’ on their plans. However, there is hesitation – no one wants to be the first sheep through the gate. Those that have been focusing on their balance sheets over the last while will be well placed to move with confidence.

We will start to see signs of more freehold land coming to the market. Opportunities to buy and sell will remain available but not all of them will want to be actively marketed via campaigns or platforms such as TradeMe. While the market appears tightly held, many remain open to selling or acquiring more if they can do so without making a scene. Kiwi property owners often want to get an outcome without generating too much fanfare, but an on-campaign approach is often exactly what is required to get the result in the current market.

29 / NZ Manufacturer April 2024
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