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Kiwi bedmaker wakes up the Aussies


Kiwi bedmaker wakes up the Aussies

Last week it was the Bledisloe Cup, this week we’re waking up the Aussies on a different plane.

New Zealand bed-maker Sleepyhead has jointly won the top Australian Furnishing Industry Award at the Furnitex Industry Show in Melbourne, Australia’s premier furniture exhibition.

Sleepyhead took the prestigious Manufacturer of the Year Award for 2004, the supreme award at the show.

The criteria for the award requires the winner to demonstrate “the highest proficiency and achievement in quality, craftsmanship, innovation, marketability and excellence in overall business management” according to the Furnishing Industry Association of Australia (FIAA).

Entrants also had to satisfy “Made in Australia” guidelines and be a member of FIAA.

“Sleepyhead stood out for its quality, innovation, marketability, a very good clean factory floor and layout and hence a good environment to work in,” says the FIAA’s Melinda Pham, one of the three judges.

“Sleepyhead is also able to demonstrate use of current technologies and machineries, and it seems to have a good handle on overall business management.”

Sleepyhead’s business development manager Alastair McLaren – who is based in Brisbane – says the award gives the Sleepyhead brand huge recognition in the highly competitive Australian furniture market.

“It’s fantastic from a branding point of view and ultimately the Manufacturer of the Year title opens doors for us long term.

“The major factor is that Sleepyhead is seen as a progressive manufacturing business that is competing in a world where many Australasian businesses are struggling because of globalisation and Asian imports.”

While in New Zealand Sleepyhead commands more than fifty-percent of the NZ market, in Australia its share is estimated by Mr McLaren at seven per cent, up from two per cent two years ago.

The Australian division has sustained growth of more than 30-percent for the past three years, he says.

“It’s a big market,” he adds, “valued at about A$400 million wholesale any increase in market share represents a substantial increase in sales. Frankly, this is an excellent win and is an excellent reward for the work put into developing the Sleepyhead brand in Australia.”

Sleepyhead was founded 69 years ago in Auckland. Initially the privately-owned company began exporting to Australia in 1976.

In 1995 it acquired Wonderest Ltd, a well established Queensland company, and now operates from a purpose-built, state-of-the-art 9000 sq. m. plant in Brisbane. In 2002 Sleepyhead opened a second 4,500 sq. m. plant in Melbourne.

Earlier this year Sleepyhead won the FIAA Excellence in a Sleepset Award at the Australian International Furniture Fair in Sydney, and was the recipient of the NZMarketing Magazine Consumer Durables Award in 2002.

Sleepyhead’s co-winner at Melbourne was Ausgum, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture. The award was judged on submissions by the company and the judges say it was impossible to separate the winners.

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