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Beyond the Bale : February March 2009
16 NEWS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER’S UPDATE A happy new year to you all. My name is James Barry and I am AWI’s general manager of finance. Since the departure late last year of former CEO Craig Welsh, I have also been acting in the capacity of chief operating officer for AWI until such time as a replacement CEO is appointed. I consider it a privilege to lead the company through this transition. As it is my duty to introduce 2009’s first issue of Beyond the Bale, I will begin by reiterating the Board’s enduring commitment to the AWI Strategic Plan. While the company has already seen some changes in the past few months, and is likely to continue to do so, the strategic direction of AWI will not change. The AWI Board, management and all staff are resolutely focused on the three pillars of the strategic plan, which are: ? to create an additional 20 million kilograms per annum (clean) demand for Australian Merino, by working with the top 200 international retail and brand partners; ? to reduce wool’s cost of production through increased productivity and lower costs; and ? to provide woolgrowers with viable mulesing alternatives. This is a big job in itself; never more so than in the current economic climate. However, as mentioned last year, AWI is well placed to weather the global financial crisis. Not only did AWI generate an operating surplus of $5.5 million in 2008, but we have been highly prudent in managing our reserves. All investments were consolidated into short-term cash before the crisis hit. As a result, AWI has suffered no ill effects from the dip in global stock markets. Moreover, company costs have been and will continue to be reduced, with the maximum possible value extracted from each dollar spent. Money will be redirected into AWI’s international marketing campaigns, which are even more vital at present. In the current economic downturn, AWI has an opportunity to work with our business partners to publicise the high quality and durability of wool which, for hesitant consumers, means long-lasting, value-for-money garments. Therefore, 2009 will be spent heavily promoting AWI’s various product innovations around the world, including the shower- washable MERINOfresh™ technology, as well as new sportswear and undergarment brands MERINOcool™ and MerinoIntimates. Of course, 2009 is also a WoolPoll year, when you, the grower, tell us how you want AWI to operate. As always, there will be a full, independent review conducted into our performance in all business areas over the past three years. In particular, we will be keen to demonstrate how the greater investment in marketing has paid off. There is much work ahead of us, but on behalf of all AWI staff, I can assure you we are ready for the challenges ahead, and look forward to future success. JAMES BARRY INTERIM CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AWI’s new ‘umbrella’ website, www.wool.com, is a one-stop shop for all things Australian Merino. news WELCOMING WOOL.COM AWI is pleased to launch wool.com, the company’s single premier online destination for Australian Merino wool. It is a consolidation of a number of separate websites that fall under the AWI umbrella, including the formerWoolmark site. This investment of levy monies will produce a number of fundamental benefits. First, one central site will vastly improve internal productivity, dramatically reducing day-to-day management and maintenance requirements. Second, it also serves to unite the entire wool pipeline, from farm gate to fashion house. For the very first time, all AWI stakeholders right across the globe – growers, industry bodies, supply chain representatives, retailers and consumers – will have visibility beyond their own territory, and access to information 24/7. This can generate valuable networking opportunities and, similarly, sends the message that AWI is a highly professional organisation with strength and knowledge in all aspects of wool production. Third, during AWI’s shareholder research last year, woolgrowers said that they did not want more communications, they wanted more relevant communications; wool.com answers this call. Not only is online technology leading-edge in cost-efficient communications, but it can be extremely targeted. The new website will host all of AWI’s vital wool production information, and provides growers with the tools and functionality to personalise their homepages and tailor online activities to suit their own business requirements. This will also enable AWI to better target grower needs and prioritise our resources. To help us do so, AWI asks that all growers jump online and register for membership – please refer to the brochure accompanying this edition for instructions, hints and tips to get you up and running. All of these elements will assist AWI and, ultimately, Australia’s wool-growing community, in creating demand for Australian Merino – and that’s the name of the game. February – March 2009 BEYOND THE BALE
Dec 08 - Jan 09
April May 2009