NZPM choose Syndex for efficient member management in keeping with the co-operative principles
Ensuring best practice communication is delivered to member customers
New Zealand Plumbers Merchants (NZPM) started in 1964. Today they have a network of 54 ‘Plumbing World’ stores across NZ, plus Metrix, a bathware importer. This customer-owned co-operative is funded by ordinary shareholders (trading partners) and redeemable preference shareholders.
NZPM supports the co-operative principles that underpin all co-operatives - voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, continuing co-operative education and training, co-operation amongst co-operatives and concern for community.
Decisions are made to further the representative members’ interests and increase their performance. With a 4% rebate, quality training, knowledgeable staff and an enticing community events portfolio, this co-operative has a compelling advantage.
The recent partnership with Syndex is the result of the co-operatives share registry system review. We asked Brett Cruickshank, CFO, about their share registry needs.
"It’s off-the-shelf software, but where we have control within our branded space and can offer a more personal touch - again, this fits with the co-op ethos", Brett Cruickshank, CFO NZPM
What were you looking for in a new share registry system?
In search of a replacement, we were looking for a number of things. Communications were a key aspect that had to be ‘just right’. We needed to be able to communicate (and run) director elections, report on shareholder spending, disseminate information to gain strategy support from our directors; plus other communications that ensure the stability of our membership. We wanted to move away from a reliance on the postal system, which was slow and heavy administratively.
We wanted a portal, to enable our members to self-help and reduce any friction with shareholders. Every year we’d receive over 500 requests for tax statements which is time-consuming and inefficient - we needed to automate this approach and that of other reports. Overall we wanted to accrue technology to improve our member relations, to retain great member engagement and feedback.
Our members run sophisticated businesses, some of them big and complex. In introducing a new share registry we wanted to offer an application that ensured great communication and record-keeping but didn’t cause them a distraction from their daily activities. For many, this is their only external investment and we wanted to have ‘part-time’ control in its management. This way it’s at arm’s length, without causing any conflict of interest.
We opted for Syndex as it promises the level of service we desire. To a certain extent, it’s off-the-shelf software, but where we have control within our branded space and can offer a more personal touch - again, this fits with the co-op ethos.
What has driven the need for a new registry system?
We’ve put in a range of measures in the last few years that have equated to strong growth and performance. In the past 4 years, we have increased over ¼ of our members despite our history being over 60 years. This is partly due to the retiring owners passing on their businesses and these members reviewing their partners. We have picked up members who see a benefit in the cooperative structure, but also want more digital tools for efficiency.
The purchase of redeemable preference shares has had to be capped due to continued demand, fuelled by competitive returns. We see the capping as a good problem to have. This growth has increased administrative traffic and we needed to get faster and more efficient in order to maintain the pace of processing. With so much growth scalability is so important. We also wanted to reduce our share register role from full time to part-time, so we knew we needed a system that would deliver automation and smart functionality.