First BVG Meeting for 2017

The following article first appeared in Hunter Headline here.

HunterNet has hosted its first Business Value Group (BVG) of the year with keynote speaker, John Pala.

Held at the HunterNet offices, the latest event focused on doing business in relation to international supply chains. This is the first event in a series held throughout the year.

With over 35 years in the resources industry, John spoke from personal experience and gave a fascinating insight into conducting business overseas.

John highlighted his six best tips and took the audience through the process he followed in establishing relationships with global clients, from researching cultures to what language contracts are written in.

“You need to know who you’re talking to; your best sales person over here might not work so well when dealing with developing countries,” John said.

He also highlighted the benefits of using all available resources, including HunterNet and Austrade.

After John’s presentation, MC Simon Rutherford from PKF curated a panel discussion with John and a group of local experts.

Kari Armitage of Quarry Mining spoke about the associated risks of importing and how a good relationship is fundamental.

“We’ve got our engineers talking to their engineers. Quarry Mining has someone in China managing those relationships; we visit thee times a year ourselves,” Kari said.

“You have to have your specifications up front and manage these relationships.”

ANZ Senior Emerging Corporate Relationship Manager, Chris Blomgren, reminded the audience of the human element when dealing with overseas suppliers.

“You can have all the contracts in the world but you still need to have trust,” Chris said.

Panel member,Julien Gilbert is the Branch Manager for Scorpion International, a freight forwarding company based in the Hunter. He spoke about testing products to meet requirements and being aware of regulations and additional taxes that come with international importing.

Several audience members asked about exchange rates and how to deal with a fluctuating Australian dollar.

“FX is a bit like gambling,” Simon said.

“Know what you can live with.”

Kari mentioned many suppliers are willing to be flexible, particularly once you’ve built up a trust.

“Dealing with raw materials, we’ve got to be prepared to be flexible and we’ve found our supplies to be good in that regard”.

The discussion also turned to problems with corruption in overseas economies, which prompted a shaking of heads from all panel members.

“Don’t do it. Don’t get involved. Period,” John said.

The Business Vale Group is managed by a committee of local business professionals who are all HunterNet members. They run several events a year to promote local knowledge in all facets of business and industry.

The next BVG meeting in July will focus on leading business.


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