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Europlan partnership saves jobs heading offshore

Good morning, please find attached a positive business story! Two local manufacturing businesses, Europlan and Metal Skills, have teamed up in order to save jobs. Also attached is a hi-res photo of Europlan Managing Director Paul van Dorsten.
Best regards,
Hamish Anderson
Phone 09 353 0710
Media release

9 July 2008



Europlan partnership saves jobs heading offshore



New Zealand’s leading manufacturer of office storage systems, Europlan, is adopting a business partnership approach to help ensure manufacturing jobs and skills are retained in New Zealand.

The New Lynn, Auckland-based company has backed up its sustainable approach to manufacturing by entering into a partnership with the specialised East Tamaki sheet metal manufacturing firm, Metal Skills.

The agreement, which will see 8 Europlan factory staff transferring to Metal Skills, is worth approximately $3 million to Metal Skills. Metal Skills will also incorporate Europlan’s sheet metal fabrication plant and machinery into their operations for the manufacture of Europlan’s office storage componentry.

Europlan Managing Director, Paul van Dorsten, says the new approach will help his company meet the challenges presented by competition from imported products and give the company a more competitive cost base from which it can continue to service the New Zealand and fast-growing Australian markets.

“Metal Skills’ leading edge Amada sheet metal plant has excess capacity, so this arrangement really makes sense for both companies. We are getting the high-quality components we need at a competitive price, while this collaborative arrangement means jobs and skills are being retained in New Zealand.”

He says that Europlan will still paint, assemble and distribute its products, while also keeping its design team’s capability intact.

Mr van Dorsten says Europlan has recognised sustainability will be a key means of retaining its competitive edge in the New Zealand and Australian markets.

Last year the company launched its Verde Tambour office storage unit which is made up of components manufactured in an environmentally-friendly manner. The company has promised to take the units back for recycling once the buyer has finished using them.

“The key to the Verde Tambour is the way it is manufactured using components which are environmentally-friendly to produce or can be recycled or reused at the end of their life.”

The Verde Tambour uses galvanised steel instead of cold-rolled steel (it lasts longer and doesn’t require chemical washing) and polypropylene instead of PVC (this involves less use of chemicals, can be easily recycled and does not produce toxic fumes). Other environmentally-friendly aspects include the use of fully recyclable aluminium slats and reusable locking mechanisms.

The Verde Tambour is part of Europlan’s broader commitment to sustainability. The company already has ISO9001 quality accreditation and is now undergoing ISO14001 environmental accreditation. The company environmentally audits all its processes to minimise waste and reduce energy costs, with the result that last year it lowered its electricity and gas usage by 30%. Europlan is also a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Mr van Dorsten says it is important to design sustainability into a product right from the start as customers increasingly want more than just good design; they want to minimise their carbon footprint in terms of energy consumption and impact on the environment.

He says the company is commited to bringing sustainability to its customers’ workplaces.

“An important part of what we do is to bring space-saving benefits through innovative storage solutions. Our main selling point is the major savings we deliver to our customers in terms of how they manage their paper-based and IT storage solutions.

“Large organisations like Vodafone, Air New Zealand, Lumley Insurance and Water Care have minimised their filing storage space using our products. In one case a customer was able to reduce their storage space requirements by 65%, generating a savings of more than $500,000.

”We are continually looking at ways of helping both ourselves and our customers to minimise the impact we have on our environment”, said Mr van Dorsten

He says Europlan’s sustainable approach is paying off as many organisations across the private and local and central government sectors have now adopted environmental purchasing guidelines.




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