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Gulf Rubber Export Commendation Award

Jim Sutton
Speech Notes
23 April 2002

Good morning Rex Middelbeek, Gulf Rubber General Manager, colleague Ann Hartley, Gulf Rubber NZ Ltd staff, ladies and gentlemen: I was delighted to be asked to present Gulf Rubber NZ Ltd with a Trade New Zealand Export Award

You have won this Export Award for achieving outstanding export success in an industry that New Zealand is not usually associated with.

This company has enjoyed between 20% to 30% year on year growth in exports since it started selling rubber components internationally in 1995.

>From humble beginnings, you are currently quoting for millions worth of export business.

You have achieved world leading status with your high tech rubber diaphragms and are currently the leading supplier in volume and quality of rubber diaphragms used in appliance pressure switches for water level control in Europe.

A focus on customisation and quality are at the heart of Gulf Rubber's success.

You customise components and services whereas your competitors often treat them as a commodity.

You look to optimise your clients' performance ? give them something that gives them an edge in the market because the more they sell the more you sell.

To me, Gulf Rubber's success is all more rewarding because its been achieved against such tough competition - big competitors who are considerably better resourced than Gulf Rubber and who are often in the same location as their clients.

With a lot of hard grind you've turned the challenges of size, remoteness and the time difference between you and your clients into a competitive advantage.

Size allows you flexibility and your remoteness has encouraged a global approach to technology researching whereas your competitors tend only to look locally.

You've set up local logistics centres and have product available so the client can have it the next day ? this gives them the perception that you're right next door!

Like other New Zealand 'solutions' providers, being in the opposite timezone from your Northern Hemisphere clients often allows you extra time to provide 'next day' answers.

To win business with a big European client you took a risk ? saying you could manufacture a product you had no previous experience with.

It was a risk that paid off ? you delivered the result ? a reflection of Gulf Rubber's 'can do' attitude.

Some of your important European clients are now endorsing your product.

That's just the leverage you need to develop your business in the huge US market ? a challenging market but one that holds huge potential for this export business ? particularly the automotive and energy industries.

Gulf Rubber is a product-driven business that has carved out a successful niche supplying high-tech and high-spec rubber components that incorporate valuable intellectual property.

Gulf Rubber NZ has developed world leading capabilty in rubber technology and engineering design that's been recognised internationally.

To ensure your technology and products remain leading edge you invest heavily in research and development. This is a reoccuring theme amongst many of our Export Award winners.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Gulf Rubber is a role model for other New Zealand companies.

Congratulations to Rex, Geoff and all the staff on your export success.

It now gives me great pleasure to present the Trade New Zealand Export Award to Gulf Rubber NZ Ltd. (to be collected by Rex Middelbeek).

I also have five Certificates of Appreciation to present in recognition of an outstanding contribution to Gulf Rubber's Export success
1. Trimming & Inspection
2. Moulding
3. Customer Services & Logistics
4. Finance
5. Export Sales

Office of Hon Jim Sutton


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