The pace of acceleration is astounding. Only 12 months ago I was whining about how pack houses seemed to have their heads in the sand on the need to stop talking about preparing for the inevitable onslaught of product to be handled, and get on with it. Now we are scrambling (in the best possible sense!) to make sure we are wrapping the right resource around the plethora of conversations taking place across Australasia.
The old adage of change coming on like a freight train seems very appropriate. Are we on the train or on the tracks? The train was fairly empty a short time ago and is filling fast which is awesome to see.
My observation is that the work taking place around preparing for the future is starting to fall into two camps. The corporates are looking at large CAPEX investments to ensure they have the ability to scale and handle the forecast volumes. The smaller players are looking at things quite differently and appear more focused on leveraging their existing footprints and infrastructure and making sure they stay relevant in a consolidating industry.
The reason I am calling out this observation is that I think it is marvellous, and important. I think these conversations naturally falling into these two camps provides some really sustainable attributes. Its collusion without colluding. When everyone knows their place in the competitive landscape and works hard to develop their patch then we see a really sensible deployment of resources where the industry benefits as a whole.
Whether it is green field developments in the tens of millions, or incremental plant automation, there are lots of exciting conversations taking place. Let’s not make the run too late as it would be heart breaking to think that the fruits of our labour could end up rotting on the ground because we did not get our thinking caps on sooner.
To support this evolving world we are investing heavily in R&D, partnering with research institutes, developing and adding to our internal capability, partnering with the best of the best when it comes to plant layout, fruit handling and of course making sure we have the right companies alongside in regard to the seriously clever stuff like machine learning, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
It’s a bloody exciting time to be doing what we do.
(Photo - Kingston Flyer, South Island, New Zealand)