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Northland Firm’s US Exchange Reaps Rewards

30 May 2002

Northland Firm’s US Exchange Reaps Immediate Rewards

An innovative Northland timber company that sent two people on an Industry New Zealand business exchange to the United States of America to improve its production capabilities, has signed a contract that will see its wood products sold throughout the States.

TDC Sawmills managing director Tony Davies-Colley, and the company’s drying and export quality controller Matt Kostanich, went to learn about US best practice quality and grading requirements, and the improvements needed in their production and management capabilities.

An immediate reward from the exchange for the Whangarei company was the signing of a sole distributor contract.

The company will supply Snavely Forests, a major supplier of wood products to the US market, with radiata products.

“This means an American who pops into his local branch of the Home Depot chain of stores to purchase an attractive new door moulding for his next do-it-yourself project could soon be buying a product that originated in Northland,” Mr Davies-Colley said.

The business exchange received funding through the World Class New Zealanders programme, an Industry New Zealand initiative.

Mr Davies-Colley said the Industry New Zealand support was timely.

“The Industry New Zealand support came at a key time for us – we’ve gained expert knowledge to help us improve innovation with a better understanding of the US board market, and the technology to diversify our product range.

“We have cemented contacts that will lead to an immediate doubling of export volume, and purchased gear to diversify our product range and increase volume even further.

“We can grow our capability and increase the total volume of output from our mill to meet the increased export demand, and still service our domestic market,” Mr Davies-Colley said.

Mr Davies-Colley said the growing acceptance of radiata products in the US provides a potentially lucrative market for the pruned wood that is coming on stream in Northland.

“The US market is quite different to the local market which is dominated by domestic framing from unpruned logs.

“In the United States board products are being used to make window, door componentry and mouldings, and are supported by sophisticated marketing programmes.”

Industry New Zealand chief executive Neil Mackay said TDC Sawmills was an example of the type of innovative company that could contribute to regional economic development.

“Northland needs strong businesses and by supporting TDC Sawmills, an important local employer with the potential for high growth, Industry New Zealand can make a difference.

“The World Class New Zealanders programme provides support for businesses with the potential for high growth, to help build their capabilities,” Mr Mackay said.

ENDS

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