Business

Wisynco and Trade Winds commit US$3.5 million for new products

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 21, 2014    

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WISYNCO and Trade Winds Citrus have committed US$3.5 million for the introduction of new products.

Andrew Mahfood, Wisynco Group's recently appointed CEO, made the disclosure at the company's first annual sales conference on Wednesday, following Wisynco's acquisition of a 50 per cent stake in Trade Winds.

This comes against the Group's stated aim to steer the juice manufacturing company to growth in the local and export markets. For Wisynco, the Trade Winds buy-in afforded the firm the opportunity to completely round out its portfolio into a full complement of non-alcoholic beverages.

Both companies are positioning themselves to grow, despite the economy's dire condition.

As the Government tries to rebalance the trade deficit, the dollar devalues and imported items are facing the full brunt of increases, locally produced items are at an advantage, Mahfood said.

"I will tell you, we are looking at producing a lot more. Peter McConnell, our new partner and the managing director of Trade Winds, has just committed about US$3.5 million ($376.9 million) and it's actually in spend already. We are hoping to have new products for this team to sell," he told approximately 200 sales people gathered at the Jamaica Conference Centre.

Wisynco services 8,000 outlets across the island and over 600 schools.

When both companies signed the partnership deal last year, McConnell noted that the manufacturing and distribution company would open up opportunities for his firm.

"Any increase in customer accounts will help my business, and Wisynco's marketing expertise is well known," said McConnell.

Speaking on the company's decision to stage a sales conference, chairman of the Wisynco Group, William Mahfood, said: "The recession is a good time to invest in business and people, because eventually things will pick up. It's the cycle of the economy."

In emphasising the importance of being proactive sales people, Andrew told the members of his team that the country faces the task of getting multilateral support while battling an economic crisis.

"Our exchange rate is declining; it's devalued 14.4 per cent in 12 months and looks to be slowing but availability of foreign exchange is still very tight. Inflation is now at around 12 per cent and costs are increasing and the very consumers that all of you liaise with every day, their purchasing power is declining..."

He further added, "With this as a background, one has to ask, why are we even here talking about dominating sales?"

The reason is simple, with every crisis there is opportunity and billionaires such as Warren Buffett, Michael Lee Chin, make money in crises, said Andrew Mahfood

The chartered accountant reckoned that the economy could be turning upwards.

"Signals of recovery are right around us, we can't wait to increase our focus on selling and distribution when we get the green light, we have to do it now," he charged.

He noted that the company has increased its sales channels, implemented sales forces automation and added a call centre to enhance customer service. Over the last five years, Wisynco has increased its customer base by 36 per cent, increased product sales by 34 per cent and grew revenues by 56 per cent.

Despite missing his flight to Jamaica, international business and sales expert, Grant Cardone had a virtual presence in the conference centre. The best-selling author gave his main address via Skype.

He told Wisynco's sales teams that they need to get on the ground, get the company's name and brand well known among consumers.

"Sales are the lifeblood of any economy, any business and any family. Each team member must learn to drive revenues. Quit focusing on the economy, troubled economies are easier to grow in," said Cardone.

Meanwhile, William Mahfood told Caribbean Business Report that his new role in Wisynco was part of a corporate governance restructuring exercise. He previously assumed the role of managing director of the company.

"My father, the previous chairman retired last year. We split the roles to ensure compliance for standard corporate governance purposes," he explained.

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