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20150323 - IMProve Sunday Star Times

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20150323 - IMProve Sunday Star Times

  1. 1. Boomtime forbusiness benchmark programme NewZealandcompaniesare queuinguptodiscovertheirglobal ranking,JayneAthertonwrites. A BUSINESS benchmarking trial which measures New Zealand companies against the world’s best has doubled in size. The innovation programme, called Improve, was introduced by the Government at the start of the year, with the expectation around 20 businesses would sign up. Three months in it has attracted more than 40 firms prepared to find out how they rank in a global performance league. The trial is being run by Crown agency Callaghan Innovation, which was set up to help New Zealand businesses and the economy grow and better compete with firms overseas. New Zealand businesses taking part are measured against more than 4000 firms, covering a wide range of sectors in Europe, the United States and Asia. The programme was devised by the European Commission but has spread overseas and is now seen as the ‘‘gold standard’’. Examiners conduct a business ‘‘health check’’. This looks at different measures of performance to compile a final ‘‘diagnosis’’ of where they are succeeding or what needs to be done to catch up with the best. Group manager of programmes at Callaghan Innovation, Willem Van der Steen said: ‘‘The process is very thorough and requires the businesses to be really trans- parent, so there’s a huge element of trust involved for those taking part. The programme examines every detail of the company. ‘‘A report is compiled and then the business and its advisers know exactly what to concentrate on to improve their chances of competing. The firms themselves can choose to be benchmarked against the best in the world operating in their sector or just measure themselves up against competitors in their peer group. ‘‘Because it is a tough process, we are delighted by the level of interest. Around 10 businesses have taken part so far, another 35 are lined up for the next couple of months and we are still getting inquiries. ‘‘It appears to have tapped into a need, and we are expecting to re- new the appro- priate licences so that we can continue with the programme when the trial officially comes to an end in the middle of the year.’’ Among the business indicators examined are a company’s innovation strategy, ideas management, business culture, human resources systems and IT. Improve’s success has already sparked spinoff courses in intellectual property innovation and waste management. Van der Steen added: ‘‘So far the results show that New Zealand firms are holding their own in many areas, but there are always issues where they need to focus their time and investment. ‘‘The idea is that by addressing some of the potential barriers to growth, we can help the country as a whole become a more diversi- fied economy, which isn’t so reli- ant on meat and dairy exports.’’ ‘Because it is a tough process, we are delighted by the level of interest.’ PMCA licensed copy. You may not further copy, reproduce, record, retransmit, sell, publish, distribute, share or store this information without the prior written consent of the Print Media Copyright Agency. Phone +64-4-4984487 or email info@pmca.co.nz for further information. Sunday Star Times, New Zealand 22 Mar 2015, by Jayne Atherton Business News, page 1 - 322.00 cm² National - circulation 120,046 (------S) ID 385457794 BRIEF CALLAGHAN INDEX 1 PAGE 1 of 1