Furnishing finesse

Furnishing finesse

Small Exporter of the Year Award

For exporters with foreign exchange earnings up to $5million.


FURNITURE manufacturer, B J Abraham is gaining export success in the competitive Japanese furniture market and is also building on its strong presence in Australia.

Located in South Canterbury, B J Abraham was established in 1965, a small family venture supplying joinery. Market research prompted expansion into wood turning which led the company into exporting, fabricating wooden components for the Australian furniture industry. Now B J Abraham exports high-quality dining room furniture manufactured from New Zealand pine.

Succeeding and growing in a demanding market environment B J Abraham has achieved nearly $5 million in foreign exchange earnings over the past three years.

B J Abraham has exported to Australia for over 20 years. Entry into the Japanese market has been a significant achievement. Initial success has built to 20 percent of total sales last year with a further increase in sales projected in the current financial year.

“From an initial visit to the market in September 1996 we shipped some 14 containers within the next 12 months,” says John Abraham, managing director of B J Abraham.

Trade New Zealand assisted the company’s entry into Japan by providing an understanding of the culture and market environment.

While maintaining export growth, B J Abraham has also strengthened its position in the domestic market providing a stable base from which to operate. This will provide the platform for the next export growth phase. Abraham believes there is potential for significant expansion in exports and the company has strategies in place to maximise these opportunities.

B J Abraham’s recent success has been against the trend – New Zealand’s furniture export industry has been in decline, with annual sales falling 10-20 percent per annum.

Furniture and components are tailored to individual customer requirements. “We offer a personalised service, developing strong bonds and deep understanding of our clients’ needs. This has led to new business introductions from existing clients,” says Abraham.

The company is committed to the use of New Zealand plantation grown pine, which makes up 99 percent of factory production. “Pine is a sustainable resource grown specifically for milling which would otherwise be exported without further processing. The added value provides 30 jobs and foreign exchange earnings,” says Abraham.

B J Abraham has been instrumental in pioneering the use of New Zealand pine in its high quality products. “New Zealand’s pine resource is vast. Greater volumes mature every year so a relatively static price is maintained,” he says. Close links with the rest of the pine manufacturing industry are maintained through the New Zealand Pine Remanufacturers’ Association of which Abraham is the current national president.

A combination of machinery, factory layout and staff multi-skilling provides production flexibility and the ability to respond rapidly to change. “This allows a range of solutions to be offered that competitors cannot match. Systems are in place for timely response to inquiries and on time delivery of product,” says Abraham.

A strong integration between shortterm and long-term elements of marketing strategies provides motivation and focus. To become internationally competitive the company introduced modern management systems including TQM and attained ISO 9002 accreditation.

“Employee loyalty, teamwork, and skill are critical factors in our competitiveness,” says Abraham. Leadership is hands on and coupled with a team focus for performance tracking and strategic planning. “Management is very open and staff are kept well informed as we work towards a common goal.”

Regular visits to international markets help generate sales and build relationships, assisting clients to exploit opportunities or solve problems. Overseas trade shows also provide information, including competitor activity and furniture fashions.

In 1997 B J Abraham was awarded an Export Commendation from the New Zealand Trade Development Board.

Clear strategy focusing on developing an export based business. Products include finished furniture for customers’ brand requirements. Long term customer relationships provide a solid foundation for growth.

B J Abraham is committed to improvement through ISO 9002.The company has well integrated R&D and a strong link to the supply chain using sustainable pine resources.

B J Abraham demonstrates leadership within the local and export community. Participation in offshore trade missions is building networks and alliances.

C J Pask Winery

Hawkes Bay based vineyard C J Pask Winery has carefully positioned its brand by concentrating on premium quality wine, distinctive packaging and developing its international markets in a sustainable manner. International markets have been developed growing from a low base in 1985 to 8000 cases of wine exported this year. Export sales to five countries represent about a third of production at present, with plans to grow and increase export volumes.The company has identified distributors in export markets as the key to sales and customer loyalty.

A skilled vineyard and winery team are achieving international recognition for C J Pask Winery especially with varieties of chardonnay, merlot and cabernet based wines.The company’s wines have won gold medals both within New Zealand and in international wine competitions.

Copyright Profile Publishing Limited Nov 1998

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