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NZ Business: Tradies ultimate beneficiaries of Callaghan co-funding

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New Zealand trade professionals network NZ Trade Group (NZTG) has qualified for a landmark R&D Growth Grant from Callaghan Innovation to boost the development of a suite of innovative software that will vastly expand business opportunities for its nationwide membership. 

The significant grant, which will be delivered as co-funding over three years and could total in the millions, will be applied to the research and development of NZTG’s ground-breaking all-in-one enterprise-level ERP software platform named Katipolt. 

Katipolt is said to take the guesswork out of operating a trade business, offering business planning and goal setting management tools and training. It will replace System Fox, NZTG’s software that was launched in 2007. After determining that members needed a more comprehensive tool at their disposal, NZTG embarked on an extensive research and development exercise to develop Katipolt. 

The Katipolt feature list includes an in-built design/drawing tool, quoting, controlled purchase ordering, project management, work scheduling, field management, employee timesheets, customer invoicing and lots more. 

Katipolt is unique in that it:

• Aggregates and captures all supply, demand and delivery data, and provides meaningful and granular analytical data to manufacturers, suppliers, installers, customers and industry bodies. 

• Operates as a community platform, encouraging cooperation and collaboration across the installer network. This makes it easy to leverage one’s own expertise and to seek out the expertise of others. 

The software is currently available in an alpha testing environment to NZTG members, and the funding from Callaghan Innovation will be used to accelerate the project and the development of the software. 

Andrewe Brown (pictured), founder of NZ Trade Group, says that the funding will make a step-change difference to the development and delivery of Katipolt, and to NZTG’s current 130-plus member business user group given the opportunity to be pilots in the implementation of the new software in their businesses. 

“Most industry software currently on the market only provides individual features, but not an all-in-one completely integrated software solution for trade businesses," he says. "Not only do Katipolt users gain benefits of the software - that is, fast quoting and seamless integration with suppliers and accounting packages - but they also gain access to distributors and suppliers for their relevant product offerings. The new software also greatly improves job sharing opportunities between members across the NZTG network.

“I should add that getting this grant over the line was not easy. It took a lot to convey to Callaghan that NZTG is an R&D company, but I am so pleased that we got there in the end!”

NZ Trade Group has the advantage of an in-depth understanding of end-user requirements, he says, based on their own trade contracting experience as trade business owners and managers, and years of developing and providing members with trade software.