Taking China On - And Winning

Date: 06/10/2010

If competition from China threatens you, find niche products and customer service practices they can't match

Back in the late nineties, Adelaide-based firm Pinz found itself under threat from cheap Chinese leather and textile goods. Rather than go under, it changed direction, into outdoor awnings and sails which were custom-made and relied on quick turnaround.. a niche market. Owner and CEO David Snoad says the business is now "China-proofed" and growing strongly - by more than 170 percent in the past three years - with customers who'd opted for cheap, mass-produced Chinese goods now returning , choosing quality and reliability over price. He says advances into modern technology helped them survive the GFC when others failed. And loyalty to their suppliers paid off when raw materials were hard to come by as the business grew. A flexible approach to working hours and time off has helped build an enthusiastic workforce with a high component of "working mums". And an emphasis on work-life balance -- David limits his working week to 40 hours and expects no more from his management team -- is another plus.

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David Snoad, Pinz