Intouch : Global Leader Makes Flying Visit

As the world reels from global economic crisis resulting from questionable businesses decisions and structures, at least one international company is going from strength to strength – based on strong ethics and “family first” focus.
Amway, one of the world’s largest direct-selling companies, is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and president, Doug DeVos made whistle-stop visit to New Zealand last month as part of the company’s celebration of the milestone.
Amway has come long way from its humble beginnings. Established in 1959 in Michigan by lifelong friends and business partners Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, the company’s first year sales, equivalent to $831,400, were based on single household cleaner. Still privately owned today, Amway is run by the founders’ sons. Doug DeVos, youngest son of Rich DeVos, has been Amway president since 2002, while Steve Van Andel, the oldest son of Jay Van Andel, succeeded his father as chairman in 1995.
Today, Amway is present in some 80 countries and territories and sells more than 450 products primarily focused on health, wellness and beauty as well as home care. In 2007 its global sales topped US$7.1 billion and the company predicts another US$1 billion increase this year. Its fastest growing markets have been Ukraine, India, Russia and China and number of other markets have recorded double digit increases.
While the company’s global growth has been impressive, New Zealand/Australia sales have been stable but flat, with New Zealand turnover standing at $20 million year.
“Australia and New Zealand are very important markets for us,” says DeVos. “We are taking hard look at what we can do now to get all markets up and moving again. We are determined to reach wider audience, specifically generations X and Y, and share with them the sense of achievement from growing their own business and reaping the rewards while teaching them business and selling skills. We are challenging ourselves to be more innovative, creative and responsive to the needs of the consumers, including the Gen Y and Xers and to gain ground in today’s competitive environment.”
In New Zealand, one of Amway’s major new initiatives is developing programmes that merge innovation with business ethics in soon-to-be-launched training programme that targets Gen X and Y salespeople and ensures that ethical business practices are rewarded.

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