Supply chain innovation

Supply Chain Innovation (SCI) helps horticultural businesses make their supply chains more effective. We focus on improving product quality to build demand-driven supply chain value and increase profitability, sustainability and return on investment for entire supply chains.

How we work

Our approach is science-based and participatory, involving horticulture businesses and their partners in domestic and export supply chains. We develop solutions that improve knowledge, skills and practices. We do this through knowledge of commodity biology, coupled with chain analysis skills and research, development and extension (RD&E). We also collaborate with industry and research providers across Australia and overseas.

What can we do for your business?

We can help your business by:

  • prioritising interventions to make your chain more effective and efficient. We do this through value chain analysis that can involve whole-of-chain auditing, benchmarking and risk assessments and analysis
  • commissioning consumer research into preferences for visual quality, soundness, eating quality, food safety, and health and nutrition to increase customer demand and develop demand-driven chain improvements
  • evaluating new technologies for treating, handling and monitoring product quality (e.g. novel packaging and remote sensing), to predict the consequences of handling conditions and practices on fresh produce for chains
  • improving supply chain handling systems and optimising quality to the consumer by understanding/modelling product responses to commercial postharvest conditions
  • re-engineering transport, storage and ripening practices and logistics
  • developing effective treatments to disinfest product for access to markets
  • diagnosing quality issues that occur in supply chains, identifying the causes, and helping to improve practices
  • developing quality and traceability plans and systems to track origin, quality and food safety
  • reviewing and improving communication and relationships between chain partners
  • delivering advice, information and training to meet emerging industry, supply chain and consumer needs
  • supporting the development of industry skills by supervising research postgraduate students and their projects.

Being part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) enables us to offer your business the benefit of:

  • supply chain and postharvest experience in subtropical and tropical fruit, vegetable and ornamental industries
  • the lead RD&E agency for many of the sub-tropical and tropical fruit and vegetables
  • postharvest research facilities in Nambour, Brisbane and Cairns. Facilities include produce reception and treatment laboratories, controlled temperature, relative humidity, atmosphere/ripening and shelf-life assessment rooms. Also on-hand is a suite of equipment for monitoring and analysing all aspects of fruit quality and deterioration. It also has access to collaborating department and university laboratories and resources.

Examples of our activities

Recent examples of SCI activities include:

  • determining the potential to ripen mango fruit during transport (in-transit) to increase supply chain efficiency, decrease time between growing and the consumer, while maintaining ideal fruit quality
  • whole-of-chain analysis and improvement to increase mango exports from several Asian countries
  • understanding the root causes and contributing factors in avocado flesh bruising, and developing practices to minimise this consumer concern
  • supply chain audit work in Asia investigating links between mandarin shelf life and flavour, as well as identifying causes of carton collapse
  • identifying key in-field and postharvest management practices that effectively reduce the risk of under skin browning in Honey Gold mangoes
  • strengthening the Queensland papaya industry by evaluating improved packaging, cool storage and disease control to extend the shelf life of papaya
  • auditing packing shed, wholesaler, ripener and retailer practices and providing training in Australian avocado supply chains to improve the quality of avocados
  • supporting the 40 packing sheds making up the Qld Citrus Exporters Group by developing and using agreed quality standards for Murcott mandarin exports into China
  • reviewing ripening practices and facilities, and providing appropriate training in Singapore and Malaysia to help market penetration for avocado exports
  • assessing the efficacy of improved modified atmosphere packaging for use in broccoli exports into the Middle East.

Some information sheets that may be of value to businesses interested in improving the management of their supply chain include:

For more information, contact our Customer Service Centre.