Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Newfoundland Labrador Business post adapting


Finding ways around the strong dollar

Most people attending this year’s Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters conference in St. John’s last week seemed to have the words "lean and mean" firmly occupying their lips.

The economy may be booming, but a high dollar, competitors using cheap foreign labour and high transportation costs due to record fuel prices are putting pressure on local manufacturers to pare costs.

None of this is news to the players in Newfoundland’s seafood industry who have been battling all those factors for some time, not to mention the added burden of operating in an industry that is as much answerable to local politics as it is the stringencies of economics.
The key to fighting the decreasing margins on Canadian products sold into the U.S. when the dollar is high is to get your costs down ahead of time, Tippett argued.

Another thing Cooke did to get lean, Tippett noted was to integrate its operations. The company now owns subsidiary companies that do everything from manufacture nets, cages and feed for its farmed fish to operating a fleet of trucks for shipping fish to market.

"We’re taking six truckloads of fish a day into the New York and Boston markets on our own trucks and with our own people," Tippett said.

That kind of integration allows Cooks to control its supply chain "from egg to plate," he added, thereby better controlling its costs.


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