INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cmanz’s Inaugural Year Brings Positive Results

Published: Tue 1 Aug 2000 05:49 PM
News Release: August 2nd, 2000
CMANZ’S INAUGURAL YEAR BRINGS POSITIVE RESULTS
Creating a greater degree of confidence in the stability of the New Zealand computer industry has been one of the main achievements of the Computer Manufacturers’ Association of New Zealand, during its first year of operation.
CMANZ’s inaugural president, Mr Colin Brown, says the association has created a warranty assurance programme which gives computer buyers unique consumer protection for their investment.
“This scheme warrants repair or replacement of any defective computer part for a period of up to two years from date of supply,” says Brown.
“This protects a buyer if an association member’s business fails, and that member is unable to meet product support obligations.
“Collapses of computer companies - both local and international - have in the past lowered confidence in our industry,” he says.
“The creation of this scheme, therefore, is a milestone in New Zealand PC manufacturing, and we are confident that this gives prospective buyers peace of mind in buying from members of the association.”
Colin Brown, who heads the Hamilton-based firm The PC Company - the largest New Zealand-owned PC builder - says the association’s first year has also seen a lift in the market share of the local computer building industry.
“When we began, our calculations showed that the local industry accounted for 33% of the total market.
“From data we obtained at the end of the March quarter, our share had increased to 40%,” he says.
“Whilst we are unsure if we can maintain this increased share, the increase has been encouraging, and I am sure that the creation of CMANZ has played a significant role in this increase.”
The Computer Manufacturers’ Association of New Zealand is hoping to participate further in the local economy following a recent meeting with the Minister for Information Technology, Mr Paul Swain.
Colin Brown says it had become apparent to the association that Government had no real understanding of the significant role local PC manufacturers play in the wider information technology industry.
“We told the Minister that our industry accounts for approximately 40% of the total market. We told him that CMANZ members are required to file six-monthly solvency statements, and that the association also encourages them to employ New Zealanders and invest profits back into this country."
“We stated that we found it ironic that Government departments, run on taxpayers’ money, did not buy locally assembled PCs. This was contrary to a buying policy created by the Government in 1994, where local content had to be taken into account when purchasing equipment,” he said.
Colin Brown says the Minister was “receptive” to the association’s views.
The Minister later accepted a letter in which CMANZ asked him to write to all CEOs of Government departments, ensuring that they follow the 1994 buying policy.
“We are currently awaiting a response to this letter,” says Brown, who emphasises that CMANZ has at no stage asked for government to buy locally built computers on a “quota” system, and would never expect such a system to be imposed.
After a year at the helm of the association, Colin Brown says the self-imposed standards CMANZ has set for membership have proved their worth.
A CMANZ member company has to be owned by New Zealand residents; have been in continuous business for more than five years, and be profitable enterprises.
“This criteria was set to give confidence to prospective customers that a member’s business was New Zealand owned, was financially stable, and had a track record in supporting their customers,” says Brown.
A further important step forward for CMANZ was the membership’s acceptance at the recent annual meeting of a Code of Practice.
“It is important to understand that our association is not a Standards Body, and so cannot certify quality standards for our members,” says Colin Brown.
“Registered Certification Laboratories perform such tasks. Nevertheless, it is important for prospective PC buyers to understand that our members conform to a certain set of standards.
“We see the Code of Practice as an important document that will grow and develop, as the Association defines and enhances practice standards.”
Following its review of its first year's activities, CMANZ has also decided to lower its membership fee structure. The association's secretary and vice-chairman, Mr John Gould, says now that the association is established and has met its set up costs, activities can be adequately funded from a lower level of membership income.
He believes there are significant benefits to be gained from reducing membership costs.
"There are a number of smaller companies in the industry which are well-founded, profitable businesses, but which operate on lower sales volumes. CMANZ does not want to penalise these excellent companies through charging membership fees which only the largest companies feel comfortable with.
At its recent annual meeting, CMANZ elected Mr Mike Cooch, managing director of Samcor Computers Ltd, Auckland, as the association’s new chairman.
He says his term of office will see the association carry on its goals of promoting the benefits of New Zealand-made PCs and promoting CMANZ’s “watertight warranty assurance, which no other supplier outside CMANZ can offer.”
“Also, I expect to see a growing membership for the association as the profile of CMANZ grows and buyers demand the CMANZ assurance when making a computer purchase,” says Cooch.
He says the association is looking forward to a continuing association with industry sponsors such as Microsoft, Intel, Tech Pacific, Datastor, Philips, and the Virus Defence Bureau.
Vice chairman and secretary of CMANZ is Mr John Gould, managing director of Ultra Computer Company, Auckland
ends
Press contacts:
Mr Mike Cooch (new chairman) Samcor Computers Ltd, tel 0-9-414 0780, fax 0-9-414 0788.
Mr Colin Brown (former chairman) The PC Company, tel 0-7-838 2081, fax: 0-7-838 1378
Mr John Gould (Vice chairman/secretary) Ultra Computer Company Ltd, tel 0-9-415 4141, fax 0-9-415 4341.

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