It seems us Kiwi’s aren’t quite the outdoorsy kind we used to be. Outdoor products company Fishing Camping Outdoors, or FCO, is closing it’s doors for good. It’s the second outdoor products firm to leave our land in recent times, after Mountain Designs shut its New Zealand business in August.
By June, every FCO will have closed shop. All thirteen FCO stores were based in the North Island. Group managing director Peter Birtle believes Australia stands a better chance at sustaining the chain. He told Stuff.co.nz,
“Our initial approach of developing a business specifically for the New Zealand market has proven to be flawed and FCO has always battled to get the attention it required while we have been addressing challenges in our BCF (boating, camping, fishing) and Ray’s Outdoors businesses [in Australia].”
In total the chain is accepting it’s loss of $19.8 million.
New Zealand’s first ever house building factory has opened it’s doors in Wellington. The factory is aiming to produce 500 prefab homes annually.
Trade HQ wrote, “Sean Murrie, Matrix Homes chief executive and director, said “People are building components of houses, then assembling them on the site. But the whole thing here is we’re turning fully finished houses with code compliance certificates.”
While this is a big leap forward as far as construction goes, it’s been speculated whether the market will be as big. Grant Florence, chief executive of Certified Builders is concerned that demand will not meet up. “They have to overcome some consumer negatives around the prefab concept because people relate it to cheap and they relate it to prefabs at schools,” he said.”
Powershop has been New Zealand’s pride and joy in the power company industry. They were the first to sell carbon offset energy through their online store. Now they have shocked us once more. Powershop has positioned itself as the world’s first mobile power company.
Their new mobile technology makes power usage and wastage much more visible to environmentally conscious consumers. Anyone with an iPhone, Samsung or any smartphone can clean up their act. CEO Ari Sargent told NZ Herald,
“Mobile makes viewing and understanding energy consumption radically simpler, easier to understand and, importantly, more fun… It gives you an incentive to really understand where you’re using or wasting the most power, which leads to lower usage.”
The mobile app allows mass tracking through days. If you bought a heat pump in Hamilton from Waikato’s number 1 Fujitsu dealer, you can track whether you turned it on or left it running. This tool has already been useful. An Auckland man discovered that it used the same amount of energy to leave his heat pumps running overnight rather than turn them on in the morning!
Mr Sargent is very optimistic about the use of mobile. “Mobile makes it real. If you can literally see the difference between switching lights off or leaving them on, you’re far more likely to change your habits and behaviour,” he said.
Hopefully other New Zealand businesses jump on this mobile trend in 2015!
An oversleeping chef in Wellington has been awarded nearly $10,000 after being sacked on the spot. Luke Keirsey slept through his alarm twice and missed a busy shift due to a sore leg. After he was fired from a Wellington restaurant owned by Betty White Limited, the Employment Relations Authority found favour in him.
Authority member Greg Wood told NZ Herald,
“”Mr Keirsey was dismissed without notice, without investigation and without [the company] raising any of its concerns with Mr Keirsey formally.”
Mr Keirsey was first employed Hummingbird, a restaurant and bar owned by Gina and Nick Mills. He was employed as a demi chef on a trial basis. However shortly after Mr Mills and Executive Chef Sahil Hussein decided he didn’t have the skills required at a near fine dining restaurant.
They decided the most appropriate course of action would be to send him to The Spruce Goose, a new cafe opened at Lynall Bay. Mr Keirsey worked long hours between December 6 and January 3rd in 2014, often working 12 hour days.
With this in mind, Mr Wood said you would expect some sympathy from an employer after sleeping in. Mr Keirsey’s lack of sleep also slowed him down. This frustrated the Executive chef.
After six months and 20 job applications, Mr Keirsey has found employment in the hospitality industry.
He has been awarded $9820 for loss of earning and emotional-harm compensation.
Earlier this year, Telecom made a much contested decision to rebrand the company to Spark. A lot of arguments were made about whether the Telecommunications giant would recover the $20 million efforts of rebranding.
However at an annual meeting, the company boasted that the rebranding was well worth it. Stuff.co.nz said, “Taking into account dividends and Spark’s rising share price, shareholders would have seen a 53 per cent return on their investment since it embarked on its “transformation strategy” in June last year, Verbiest said. Spark shares broke through $3 last month for the first time since 2008.”
Online Brands claimed, “Although Spark was attempting to cut costs quickly, sales were falling faster.Operating earnings were down by 5.8% and net earnings from ongoing business fell by 12.5%. Although rebranding is potentially a risky venture amidst financial uncertainty, It has been largely successful. Following rebranding, Spark’s annual profit almost doubled. “
New Zealand based Brainform have found an innovative way to use 3D printing: make replicas of people’s brains. The company accepts worldwide orders to send out multiple replica’s formed on each users unique brain.
Geek Tamin explained the technology best saying,
“MRI scans are used to map out contours of your grey matter. This map is then used to created a plastic nylon replica of your brain. So in layman terms, advanced photocopying your brain.”
The Wellington company didn’t initially start out to make money. Rather Will Brown started by making models for friends at Victoria University. Brown realised the potential for this product and it blossomed into a business.
However this isn’t for the mass market like building fiber optic cables for Christchurch is. Rather this is targeted to a very niche market. Although some would see a replica of a brain as art or intriguing, others would find it a bit bizarre.
Brainform has higher hopes for their company. In their mission they claim “We believe that science education is crucial for the continuing development of our global society… we want to play our part in helping create the scientific wonder that drives sustained science education. We want to add brain replicas to the list of iconic science models that help spark such wonder alongside models of the space shuttle, tesla coils, planets, and fossils.”