Entrepreneurs and investors may consider the current business climate too risky to expand, diversify, increase staff strength and acquire new businesses but an Indian couple believes that this is the ideal time to do so.
“It is all a question of belief – in self, staff, associates and the market place. We derive our strength from the Bible, which is the best marketing tool ever written,” Kalamazoo Group Directors Steve and Odelia D’Souza said.
“We need to create a sense of belonging among people- be they staff, customers or suppliers. To each of them we owe a responsibility. We grow together and therefore share together,” they said.
It was about ten years ago that the D’Souzas arrived in New Zealand and started their careers as employees on a modest scale at the Kalamazoo Group (which was then at Alright Place but moved in October 2010 to the neighbouring complex following the acquisition of Wickliffe) in Mt Wellington. Hard work combined by good fortune and being at the right place at the right time with the right people, enabled them to acquire the printing facility that was hard pressed for cash.
The printing press soon became a profitable enterprise, encouraging Mr and Mrs D’Souza to shop for more acquisitions, all of them in dire straits.
“I do not easily scare because I care. Each acquisition has meant an expanding family. The Group today accounts for more than 430 full time employees, located throughout the country,” Mr D’Souza said.
The Kalamazoo Group is arguably the largest printing house in New Zealand, incorporating among others, Kalamazoo NZ Limited, Wickliffe Solutions, Publishing Press Limited, Print Shop, Computer Forms Limited, Stocklink, Zoom It (Auckland), Keeling & Mundy (Palmerston North), Wyatt & Wilson, Raven Print (Christchurch), Astra Print (Wellington) and Taieri Printing (Dunedin).
Mr D’Souza said that the Group was planning not only more acquisitions this year but also diversification, among which are image transfer, logistics and packaging.
He said that ‘Going an extra K,’ is the motto of the Group and its staff.
“We believe that whatever can be done, can be done better. Customer Service is best achieved through staff involvement at all levels and in all disciplines. We have delegated authority and responsibility to managers and their teams in all areas of our operations and we value them,” Mr D’Souza said.
Mrs D’Souza said that the Group has products and solutions to suit the needs of its varied clients to enhance their business profile.
“This extends from visitor passbook used at reception desks around the world; and the continuous business forms that speed up the administrative process at government departments, organisations providing services to the public; to the exceptionally high quality commercial print solutions that give a company that unmistakable professional look,” she said.
The Kalamazoo Group is the Sponsor of the ‘Business Excellence in Customer Service’ category of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2012. The Group has been a sponsor of a related category for the past three years.
“The purpose of the Sponsorship is to recognise and encourage people in business. We are in the service industry and we appreciate companies that excel in their service to customers,” Mrs D’Souza said.
In many ways, the Award is a reflection of the Group’s operating philosophy and corporate objectives. The latter includes pursuing excellence in all activities, surpassing customer expectations, fostering teamwork and promoting good employer-employee relationship, motivation and career development.
Companies that create and maintain a congenial environment for growth are also those that foster professionalism.
Mrs D’Souza said quality professionals were critical to the success of any organisation, more so to a commercial entity in a competitive environment.
“From customer relations, sales personnel and administration and accounts staff to those involved in production and supply chain management, everyone should not only be of high professional calibre but also be committed to quality,” she said.
Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2012
Business Excellence in Retail Trade The Ranchhod Group
Business Excellence in Restaurant Trade
Business Excellence in Innovation Singapore Airlines
Business Excellence in Marketing Radio Tarana
Business Excellence in Customer Service Kalamazoo Group
Business Excellence in ICT KPMG New Zealand
Best Small Business 2degrees Mobile Limited
Best Medium-Sized Business Unitec Institute of Technology
Best Large Business BNZ Partners
Business Excellence in Export to India New Zealand Career College
Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year Patton Limited
Best Businesswoman of the Year Triangle Television
Supreme Business of the Year (All entries will be entered for this category)