Traceability is becoming increasingly important when it comes to connecting with consumers and responding to potential challenges throughout the supply chain.
While these ideas aren't new, successfully streamlining Australia's supply chains has been hindered by a lack of collaboration and data not being standardised.
How to overcome these challenges and get collective value out of data was discussed in detail during a panel session at the 400M Agrifood Innovation Forum in Toowoomba last week.
APAC Sales Engineering director for Denodo Technologies Chris Day said with threats like foot and mouth disease, the speed of the response was crucial.
"We need to make decisions now rather than look back two weeks ago, the decision time has gone," he said.
Mr Day said there was often little to no cooperation or collaboration across the different parties involved in logistics and supply chains.
He said this was something all parties had to help improve.
Deakin University Centre for Regional and Rural Futures research fellow Rose Elphick-Darling said whether it was pandemics, natural disasters or infestations, it was important to consider what the next challenge could be.
Ms Elphick-Darling also emphasised the need for a plan B, C and D.
"I've been on government panels where we talk about the next thing that might happen; I can remember pandemics used to be at the bottom of the list," she said.
"It's only a matter of time before the next one and so agility, the ability to roll with the punches, is something that is not an option, it's a series of plans with no mucking about with it.
"The need to not just have risk mitigation plans but to actively say, 'okay, this is going to happen, what am I going to do,' is a really important challenge for all of us who are involved in supply chains."
When it comes to data, the information being collected presents plenty of opportunities as well.
Mr Day said data visualisation was about being able to present results in a consumable way.
When paired with the practice of virtualising data, where disparate data sets are brought together in an organisation or supply chain, this information could be used and integrated in real-time.
"They meet together in that the visualisation now has a higher quality output, a higher level of trust and the virtualisation means that we can deliver that faster," he said.
Ms Elphick-Darling said focusing on the standardisation of data would help with interoperability.
"If I said to you today, what's the date, I reckon I would get at least six formats from you on how to write the date," she said.
"All we're trying to do is standardise and format that information so that it can travel with the product."
Ausgyu seedstock production manager Jessie Chiconi said traceability was incredibly important from a producer standpoint.
Ms Chiconi said Wagyu was a long-term investment and based heavily on carcase data to ensure the consumer enjoys the end product.
"If we don't know what our end product is, we don't know how we can improve it," she said.
"I do believe, yes the paddock to plate program is in place, but we prefer to look at it as more of a palate to paddock program because if we can find out what the consumer wants, then we can change our foundation to make sure they get what they want.
"If you don't get that genetic factor right at the beginning, three years down the road after they've been fed $3500 worth of feed, and you end up with a marble score three, there's a huge impact."
Woolworths business enablement and group enablement team general manager Richard Plunkett said it was a complex and evolving world around traceability.
He said while Woolworths did not know all the answers, it was keen to work with growers, industry bodies and academia on traceability.
"As a retailer we need to be focused on what our customers are looking for, so we listen really carefully to our customers," Mr Plunkett said.
"Sustainability and provenance is becoming increasingly important and we also know from research, whether it's Australia or internationally, customers are prepared to pay a premium for product they can trace and understand where it's actually been derived from."
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