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Case study: Future Products Group

Future Products Group runs a global network from Napier

Napier is famous for its deco homes. And Hawkes Bay is famous for its pip fruit and wine.

But are they both known for industrial design? Not so much. Or at least, not until you discover the success of Future Products Group (FPG), a Napier-based, $30- million, design-led manufacturer of food display units—you know, the cabinets you probably never noticed because you’re too busy looking at the sandwiches and pies inside.

Some 80 percent of FPG’s sales come from exports, meaning you’ll find their cabinets in Australia, Europe, Asia and North America. FPG also owns a factory in Shanghai and has a sales office in Australia.

In the early 1990s FPG expanded into Australia with its custom-made retail and food display units. But a real surge in export growth occurred when McDonald’s globally rolled out its McCafe stores in 2007. The multinational had trialled the concept in New Zealand and Australia first, with FPG supplying custom cabinetry.

When it became a roaring success, McDonald’s deployed McCafes around the world and FPG has been there for the ride. There are now an estimated 1,300 McCafes and more are being added.

A similar story applies to BP, with FPG fitting out more than 350 petrol stations across Australasia and 350 in Europe and the UK.

The growth of its international business put huge pressure on its local operations. In 2007 FPG opened a factory in Shanghai to produce the volumes of cabinetry that multinational clients require. The Napier shop, with its heritage in joinery and design, retains the custom business.

Bite-size success

Jared Vaughan, group general manager of FPG, says a key to success has been the ability to custom-make units at low production runs. Of course ‘low’ is a relative word: a 30-unit order is big business in New Zealand but a pittance by European standards. FPG creates one-off solutions at levels its competitors can’t compete with—turning the typical New Zealand problem of scale to its advantage.

Another reason for success is the quality of business support from suppliers such as TelstraClear. With offices in Australia and a major factory in Shanghai, FPG requires a communications system that’s seamless and reliable, yet doesn’t incur eye-watering costs.

Nigel Hulena, a TelstraClear senior account manager, says FPG runs an internet virtual private network for its staff and fast, large broadband for its customers’ interactions. “Previously, they were having issues with an unreliable internet connection that would constantly drop off. They’re also heavy users of Skype for communicating between the three main offices, so a fast, reliable solution was required,” he says.

TelstraClear installed its Business Internet Access (BIA) service, which was created for business customers highly dependent on the internet for business success.

The BIA doesn’t share access bandwidth with residential internet customers, ensuring a higher grade of service. Also TelstraClear deploys multiple, physically diverse fibres to connect TelstraClear’s domestic IP core network to the internet.

Key benefits of the BIA

  • Far better contention ratios compared with High Speed Internet
  • Flexible bandwidth and traffic allowances
  • Up to eight IP addresses (six usable) free as part of the service
  • Symmetric bandwidth
  • Faster speeds available than typical for normal business products

Vaughan says TelstraClear’s solution has improved business in two ways. “To provide this kind of service, our previous telco was going to charge a huge amount, but TelstraClear came in with an offer that was very cost-effective. We needed the faster speed at a prices a SME could afford.”

Second, the improved communications and reliability of information flow has meant FPG has increased its efficiencies and speed to market. In the highly competitive world of retail, speed and reliability probably make the difference between success and failure.

“For FPG to serve the rest of the world from Napier is a real testament to what can be done for other businesses in New Zealand,” says Hulena. TelstraClear wants to be part of Kiwis going global, so give us a call.”

Contact

To speak to a TelstraClear business advisor call 0508 BUSINESS (287 463)
www.telstraclear.co.nz/business

How TelstraClear can help

If you’re exporting you’ll need a big fat pipe to the globe. TelstraClear is a subsidiary of Telstra, the fifth largest telco in the world. Its network extends worldwide, yet has a friendly Kiwi face downunder. Here are three simple ways TelstraClear can help.

Private IP (GWAN)
Private IP is TCL's leading network solution. Access is via DSL, WLL, ATM, Frame Relay or Ethernet services. It offers static COS, DCOS or standard data COS. Speeds go from 200k to 1G

Trans Tasman PIP
TTPIP allows seamless connectivity between NZ PIP networks and Telstra IP Services (IP MAN, IP WAN, Connect IP). It is available with either a static COS or full Dynamic Class of Service. As it is built over the self-healing SX fibre optic cable, it is a highavailability, high-resiliency service.

Graded Frame Relay
Graded Frame Relay—for customers who want an all Frame Relay Network. Speeds are from 64k to 2Mb maximum. Three levels of committed bandwidth are available: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Traffic is guaranteed at 40 percent (Bronze), 50 percent (Silver) and 62 percent (Gold) of Peak Rate when the network is congested.

Originally published in Idealog #29, page 80

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