Written on the 27 September 2011
WHILE the past year has been ‘tough’, EGR Group CEO Simon McLellan says the company continues to focus on research and development and finding new opportunities.
The combination of a strong Australian dollar and increasing competition on a global scale has been offset by opportunities to enter overseas markets for the company, which manufactures plastic products for industrial, commercial and retail applications.
“While I’m optimistic about the future, there’s no doubt that business confidence is fragile, with consumers remaining cautious and many sectors doing it tough,” says McLellan.
“EGR has a long history of Australian-based research and innovation across a number of industry segments. We spend many millions of dollars on innovation each year and this is a core part of our competitive advantage going forward.
“Competing globally is challenging. Economic factors outside of our control such as the exchange rate, increasing transport costs and labour rates continue to affect our competitiveness. That said, many opportunities still exist to sell product overseas provided you are genuinely ‘adding value’ and can successfully find niche markets and niche products.”
McLellan identifies emerging markets as having a burgeoning middle class and says their increasing appetite for quality overseas made goods is a driving force in the future.
“We’re already seeing huge interest for our existing product range in these markets, and our new product lines will further satisfy this demand,” he says.
“On the local front, we have some excellent new automotive and decorative sheet products coming on line, as well as some interesting and ground breaking developments in our industrial extruded sheet business.”
He says the key to innovative products comes down to staff paying attention to detail and working with a sense of urgency.
“My leadership style is to foster independent thought, innovation and decision-making through sound business and product knowledge coupled with an adherence to timeliness, open communication and good process,” says McLellan.
“Workplace culture also has a major impact on our business and we consciously strive to foster a positive and open culture. Our success in this is supported by our staff retention rates - over 46 per cent of staff have been at EGR for five years or more and 25 per cent longer than 10 years. This in turn gives us intellectual capacity and the ability and agility to cope with change more easily.”