Niche markets, efficient supply chain key to business success: experts

Everton McLean
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

manufacturing/exporting

An efficient plan for shipping products and carving a niche in the market could be two of the best ways for Newfoundland and Labrador companies to continue to grow - or at least survive - during the economic upheaval, say two experts in the field.

Local business people gathered at the Capital Hotel in St. John's for a Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) conference to look at how the global supply chain works.

Supply Chain Opportunities was the topic of a conference at the Capital Hotel in St. John's Tuesday. Participants took part in a full day of talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions, followed by the signing of a new multimillion-dollar contract. Ph

An efficient plan for shipping products and carving a niche in the market could be two of the best ways for Newfoundland and Labrador companies to continue to grow - or at least survive - during the economic upheaval, say two experts in the field.

Local business people gathered at the Capital Hotel in St. John's for a Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) conference to look at how the global supply chain works.

CME president Jayson Myers said despite the island's physical separation from the rest of North America, the province is intricately tied to the global economy.

As such, businesses here are feeling the effects of the recession.

Myers said the nature of many Newfoundland and Labrador companies, which tend to find niche markets rather than simply make and ship commodities, could help them survive during the recession, simply because they aren't directly tied to the market dive.

Niche market

"A lot of business here in Newfoundland is not used to growing as markets grow. It's used to growing as companies find a niche in a market or a product area or innovative technology," Myers said.

"I think entrepreneurs with a specialized type product or service are going to do better than those manufacturing commodity products ... It's the commodity business that's down."

Bob Armstrong, president of the Supply Chain Logistics Association of Canada, said in addition to finding a market niche, businesses also have to focus on how they transport products to market. He said, over the past couple of years, Canadian exporters have fallen behind those in other countries when it comes to competitive transportation prices.

"The total supply chain and logistics is really the key element in keeping a Canadian company competitive both at home and abroad," he said. "Unfortunately, we've lost export markets as close as the southern United States and Mexico to countries like Chile, manufacturers in Chile who are able to get the product there in a more cost-efficient way than we would."

He said a large part of the problem is companies don't shop around enough to get competitive quotes when they hire someone to ship their products. As a result, the product may be shipped at a higher cost and slower pace.

"We've done a lot of research ... that really discovered why this is happening and it was happening precisely because Canadian companies weren't doing their homework."

He advised looking at several modes of transporting goods, from trucking to shipping to air, in order to get a good price.

From a Newfoundland perspective, Armstrong said the island has an advantage because it has access to travel by sea.

"I think Newfoundland has a better opportunity than, say, a company in Ontario because you're already on the water," he said.

"Marine mode tends to be the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly mode of transportation. You can build things here on the island and move them anywhere in the world."

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: CME, Capital Hotel, Canadian Manufacturers Supply Chain Logistics Association of Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, North America Chile United States Mexico Ontario

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments