The â€˜Path to Marketâ€™ Programme helps NZ manufacturing companies to enter new markets, through a comprehensive set of activities focused to enhance the knowledge of NZ companies in the countryâ€™s industry scene. The programme includes a 2-day workshop covering pricing, logistics, strategy and marketing. It also includes a one-to-one coaching session and a customized market research report. Additionally, the programme encompasses a visit to a trade event related to the targeted market.
This year, the programme is supporting NZ manufacturing companies operating in the area of food processing. The culmination of the programme is the attendance of participants to the FoodPro trade show in Sydney, which started yesterday and will run until the end of the week. I will cover this event in a new post.
Scott Riddle, from NZTE, invited me to present an overview of the Australian food industry to the workshop participants. I always enjoy the research needed to prepare a talk like this and I learn a lot from the feedback from the participants. In our session yesterday (21st July), we talked about the general trends in the Australian food industry, but later on we focused on the meat and dairy sectors. We discussed key trends, drivers, logistics, differences with respect to the NZ industry environment, challenges and opportunities ahead.
For the analyses, I used the STEEP and the Porter’s ‘five forces’ methods. The STEEP analysis encompasses social, technological, economic, environmental and political/regulatory factors. The ‘five forces’ analysis focuses on suppliers, industry rivalry, buyers, new entrants and product substitutes.
I find that the combination of these two frameworks helps me to understand how different forces and factors pull the industry in several directions, sometimes even in opposite directions. For example, environmental, social and regulatory forces may push the meat industry towards a more regulated operating environment. Â This ensures that aspects such as OH&S, carbon footprints, animal welfare and social justice are all being attended and thatÂ enforcement of good practices can be implemented.
However, the meat industry is already highly regulated. Economic forces and competition may push the industry to request a decrease in regulations to speed up the release of new food products and decrease their regulatory costs. A driver for low costs also depresses the investment in new technologies and innovation, which may provide the means to be more profitable in the current food crisis scenario.
STEEP and the five forces analyses enables us to weight each of these issues and determine which forces and players have the highest levels of power in a given industry. After using these techniques, I believe that the key challenge for the Australian food industry in generalÂ is the chronic labour shortages experienced in all food sectors. There are many other challenges, of course: the strength of the Australian dollar, fuel prices, competition of resources for food production and so on. But the demand for food products will be strong in years to come. Therefore, our capacity to respond to the demand in a competitive way will be critical in future years.
Back to the NZTE programme: I think this is a great way to introduce exporters to new markets. I like the idea of combining workshops with one-to-one orientation, market reports, a trade event and introductions to â€˜in-market â€˜expertsâ€™ and service providers. The fact that these activities are specifically designed for a sector/market is also a key strength of the programme.
I am not sure if there is an equivalent programme for Australian manufacturers, I know there are several export programmes (e.g. export hubs, trade missions, etc). Do we have an all-encompassing export programme for manufacturers? Comments welcome.