Lessons from the Road – CrystechNZ
It’s no secret, the fortunes of the honey industry have taken a dramatic swing in recent seasons. Gone are the halcyon days of the 2010s and in have come five years of non-mānuka prices below cost of production, and now a season or two of depressed mānuka honey prices really putting the squeeze on beekeepers.
In my role as manager of CrystechNZ and as a technician, I spend, on average, a week each month travelling the country and visiting honey extraction and packing plants, be it for new fit-outs or maintenance work. Therefore, I have seen first-hand the impact of the downturn, not to mention in our own business, which has naturally seen a slowdown as less honey-money flows into the industry. That said, there are still those beekeepers and/or packers committed to the industry and sticking it out beyond the current tough times. If you’re still in the industry now and reading this – I guess that’s you!
With that in mind, I want to take this opportunity to reinforce CrystechNZ’s commitment to beekeepers and elaborate on what I’m seeing in the honey sheds around the country. It’s also a chance to explain how CrystechNZ continues to provide a valuable service, and cost savings in the long run, to those ‘sticking it out’…
New versus Old
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that we, like other suppliers to the industry, are competing against a growing supply of used honey processing equipment for sale. For beekeepers, the price of used equipment might be appealing, but it is often far from the best return for the new owner.
Reliability is essential in honey processing – once those honey supers are in the shed/hot room they need to be spun out ASAP. The same usually goes for packing honey and meeting orders. Too often we are left to try and get used equipment up and running again after a breakdown in the middle of ‘honey season’, because of a history of less than adequate maintenance from a previous owner, and/or replacement parts have become hard to source due to the age of the equipment. There is nothing like the reliability of new equipment – built specifically for your shed – to keep the honey flowing and prevent costly delays.
Those with Crystech gear also get the benefit of priority servicing and break down support from our team of technicians. Most beekeepers, up and down the country, are ‘firing up’ their honey plants at the same time of year. Therefore, being at the top of queue when an expert hand is needed means we can get you up and running while others may have to wait. We have our home base in Tauranga, plus a vehicle and equipment stored in Christchurch, so help is never far away for our clients.
A regular occurrence for me in my travels is visiting sheds with a mis-match of equipment makes and models, and it can make for more complicated fixes, servicing and plant adaptations. We always find a way around these issues, but it is often more costly to the client than if our plant-design expertise was consulted from the get-go. Or, if purchasing used equipment is imperative, it makes the technicians job a lot easier to diagnose any issues if it is Crystech-built gear.
Long term wins
So, add it all up:
+ Less money out the door in repairs.
+ Fewer breakdowns at critical periods, saving you time and production.
+ Service technicians on hand when you need them wherever you are based, to keep the honey flowing.
+ Faster and more cost-effective plant servicing because your gear is a known quantity.
+ An adaptive honey processing plant that is set up to not only take care of your business’s needs now, but can easily be fitted with any variations when the time comes.
= Greater productivity … Less stress and … Cost savings in the long run.
That’s what I have witnessed, in a nutshell, in my travels around the ‘honey sheds’ of New Zealand. For some operators, the second-hand market will still be too tempting to ignore, but I recommend really weighing up the longer-term risk and price paid. After all, those of us who are sticking it out now are obviously in this for the long run. On that note…
CrystechNZ – here for your honey processing needs
Despite the downturn in honey prices, CrystechNZ ain’t going anywhere. We were formed by NZ Manufacturing in 2009, with a commitment to providing high quality equipment for high quality honey. No matter the price of the honey garnered, that is still or objective. So, you will still see plenty of CrystechNZ around the apiculture industry – including at the Apiculture New Zealand conference next month … pop by for a yarn.
-Jamie Grainger, CrystechNZ manager