Food Industry Innovation

Businesses embrace supply chain automation

Understanding the technology that is becoming necessary to meet the requirements of your trading partners was a motivator for hosting the ‘Embrace the supply chain revolution’ workshops. Held on 9 and 10 August in South Perth and Margaret River, “get on board with warehousing technology” was the takeout message.

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GS1 Australia manager Terry Papadis works with Mark Andrew and Vicki Shina of Marvick Native Farms.

The workshops, presented in partnership by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Food Industry Innovation project and AusIndustry (within the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science) and delivered by GS1 Australia, were attended by value-adding food and beverage businesses from across the supply sector.

Terry Papadis, GS1 Australia manager said he wants to remove the fear of automation and help businesses understand the benefits of embracing technology.

“This workshop is about changing mindsets and providing small steps to develop and apply technology and automation to their businesses,” Mr Papadis said.

“The rest of the world is moving ahead, I’d like to challenge everyone in the room to think about how we can improve what we do and not risk being left behind.

“You need to take the next step, invest and introduce a level of technology that will assist you to meet the requirements of your trading partners and help build your business,” he said.

Upskilling participants on the requirements to supply into contemporary automated warehouses and online platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon included awareness around the role of automation in the supply chain and learning the art of survival. Topics also covered opportunities, benefits and challenges of change along with practical tips on how to take the next steps for your business.

Key opportunities for applying automated technology to grow business were identified as:

  • data flow and capture to assist business decisions
  • implementing bar codes
  • stock control and stocktake
  • interoperability - where data is structured to work across multiple trading partners
  • meeting compliance/accountability standards
  • the benefit of graduate students to complete small projects.

Businesses were also shown a vision of ‘Industry 4.0’ the fourth and next industrial revolution of technology. The rise of not only system automation but artificial intelligence will lead to system autotomy, self-correction, self-optimisation and could be a reality for the near future.

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(L-R) GS1 Australia principal consultant Earl Lappen, Western Salt Refinery’s Andrew Smith, DPIRD Food Industry Innovation project manager Kim Antonio, Pressed Earth Juices co-owner Luke Kelsey, Swan Valley Honey’s Debbie Starr, AusIndustry business advisor Gabor Hernadi, GS1 Australia manager Terry Papadis, Mondo Doro Smallgoods manager Adrian Rapanaro and DPIRD client engagement advisor Amelia De Groot.

DPIRD’s Food Industry Innovation manager Kim Antonio said the workshops were a great example of the FII project’s ongoing collaboration with AusIndustry’s Entrepreneurs program, delivering training programs to the food and beverage value adding sector in Western Australia.

“We regularly deal with businesses who are transitioning to working with larger buyers who operate automated warehousing facilities.

“These workshops provide an excellent introduction to the types of technologies that WA food and beverage businesses require to allow them to supply into such facilities,” Mr Antonio said.

Positive feedback was received from attendees who indicated an increased level of knowledge following the workshop and rated the usefulness, theory and opportunity to participate highly. Comments included “we are a growing business and this topic was most useful in our development”, “perfect, answered all the questions I had and some of the ones I didn’t even know I should be asking!” and “the presenters were both hugely knowledgeable but also able to personalise their information to the various attendees”.

The South Perth session was filmed and will be posted in the WA Food and Beverage Network Facebook group when available.

For more information about upcoming workshops please contact the team at foodindustryinnovation@dpird.wa.gov.au