November 4, 2010

Commodity export prices at record level

There was more good news for exporters this week with the ANZ Commodity Price Index which tracks the performance of many of our major exports showing a 3.5 percent rise in October and soaring to a new record high. Leading the charge was wool with its world price surging 29 percent to a 21-year high.

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How to get better trained staff

Companies around the world spend up to $100 billion a year to “train” employees in the skills they need to improve performance but training typically doesn’t have much impact. Only one-quarter of the respondents to a recent McKinsey survey said their training programmes measurably improved business performance, and most companies don’t even bother to track the returns they get on their investments in training.

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In search of improved productivity

The second 2025 taskforce report on “closing the gap” with Australia released this week looks like it will join the report in the Government’s wastepaper bin. Perhaps of more significance was the appointment of Murray Sherwin, MAF’s retiring director-general, as the head of the new Productivity Commission, as economic commentator Bob Edlin reports.

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Mobile money

A shopping-by-mobile-phone trial being conducted in a Spanish town highlights the increasing ubiquity and range of mobile technology. A group of residents with slightly modified phones and retailers with adapted sales terminals are testing what could end up being common practice – chucking credit cards in favour of mobile phone payment for everything from a loaf of bread to a haircut.

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The Last Word: Don Elder

“We continually have the wrong discussions in New Zealand on almost every issue of major national importance,” says Don Elder chief executive of Solid Energy. “No sooner is an idea advanced for discussion, than one group or another hijacks the issue and redefines it in a grossly, over-simplistic way.”

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Top 200 finalists announced

Classic “tough times” management has helped New Zealand’s largest companies weather another challenging year in reasonably good shape. A number of outstanding performers from amongst them have been recognised in this year’s Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 finalists list.

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