Primary sector future leaders frustrated - KPMG | NZ
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Primary sector emerging leaders frustrated by lack of collaboration

Primary sector future leaders frustrated

Up-and-coming leaders of New Zealand’s primary sector are frustrated by the lack of collaboration between industry players.

Ian Proudfoot

Global Head of Agribusiness, Partner - Audit

KPMG in New Zealand


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The latest edition of KPMG’s 2015 Agribusiness Agenda has sought the views of the primary sector’s emerging leaders. KPMG surveyed more than 50 young leaders, and hosted a one-day Summit at the Chrysalis Innovation Studio in Auckland.

According to Justine Fitzmaurice, a Senior Manager at KPMG who advises agribusiness companies, there’s a real sense of frustration among young leaders in the sector.

“They cannot understand why current leaders are not collaborating in a meaningful way – and combining their resources for the benefit of everyone across R&D, marketing, processing or distribution. Instead, we have companies continuing to work in silos. The message we got from young leaders is that they are exasperated by the duplication and sheer waste of it all.”

KPMG’s Julia Jones, who co-authored the Agenda with Justine Fitzmaurice, says the word ‘trust’ came up many times during the Summit discussions.

“Emerging leaders believe that existing leaders, particularly those in like industries, need to shut the door on the past and learn to trust each other. For example, they’re dismayed by the ‘street fighting’ that currently occurs among companies in New Zealand’s red meat sector,” she says.

“They want to see us working together to gain market advantage against our international competitors; not competing against each other to needlessly drive prices down for everyone in New Zealand.”

As Julia Jones explains, the generation of under-30s view collaboration as a natural way of doing business.

“Collaboration is their MO....they’ve gone through an education system that’s based on achieving outcomes in groups. For them, it’s just a normal way of working – and they believe it should be part of everyday business.”

One of the guest speakers at the Summit, Professor Kaj Storbacka, reinforced the need for New Zealand’s primary sector to develop a collaborative strategy. He advocates the concept of market-shaping; which is essentially creating your desired market, rather than following an existing one.

“Competitive strategy is not the silver bullet,” Professor Storbacka told the group. “Those who want to shape markets need to engage in collaborative strategy.”

Other key findings from the latest Agribusiness Agenda:

  • The emerging leaders called for New Zealand to reach a consensus on the use of genetic modification. While opinions were divided on whether the best strategy was to embrace GM, or be GM-free – all agreed a decision was needed urgently.
  • Emerging leaders want to see a single cohesive ‘NZ Inc’ brand that can be used by all NZ-produced products that meet its accreditation criteria.
  • The use of flexible or modular processing plants has the potential to create new efficiencies across our processing sector.

© 2019 KPMG, a New Zealand partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (KPMG International), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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