WPMA Regional Meetings Auckland - 3rd March 2016
In Auckland a week later the story was repeated, this time by two of our largest companies: Oji Fibre Solutions and Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products. Jon Ryder, CEO of Oji Fibre Solutions, said he was proud to be leading a company set on growing and making large scale investment in the New Zealand economy. He pointed to concerns over the need to reverse the current state of deforestation and that a thriving processing sector was key to this - certainly if a new mill was to be built then investors would need to be sure that afforestation needs to be a long term trend. Jon put figures to WPMA's statement that the wood industry is highly productive - in Oji Fibre Solutions a single FTE generates $800,000 of value annually. He also reinforced that Oji was well positioned to move into the world of innovative cellulose-based products emanating from manufacturing processes that are based on self-generation of energy.
CHH Wood Products GM of Sales and Marketing, Alan Bones, declared that this was "a bit of a coming out for CHH" - the first time in a decade it had talked about itself - a company of 1200 employees where people where encouraged to "have a go". Alan provided some great stories of employees doing just that and talked about the productivity lift in the company despite having contracted on the number of operational sites. Again, reports of large investments in technology and how CHH WP looks to create new ideas around traditional products. This innovation only occurs because of close connections to customers - merchants, councils, builders etc. If there was one major concern presented then it is the worrying rise of log traders in places like Northland who were buying and harvesting immature forests for exports and in doing so, were by-passing local processors. He urged the industry to be watchful of this trend.
WPMA said that it would take the Renewing New Zealand Story right across the country and it has done so. In every region WPMA member companies have presented their own stories that have been absolutely consistent across the board - new investment, new technologies, customer-centric, supportive of local communities, investors in their own people, sustainability conscious and energy efficient.
Our Chairman's challenge up and down the country has been, "can you show me a better example of a smart, low-carbon, value-adding industry operating at world scale? Brian Stanley's opening address at Forestwood 2016 suggests that he is yet to find one outside of the NZ wood industry.
Thanks to the sponsors of these two meetings: Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products, Competenz, Henkel NZ, Jacks, Pan Pac Otago & Scion. WPMA will be back in your region soon!
Dr Jon Tanner
CEO - WPMA
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