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Thomas Foods Collaborative Innovation System Program

Project start date: 01 April 2012
Project end date: 12 August 2015
Publication date: 21 October 2015
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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​Thomas Foods International (TFI) began operations in 1988 and has evolved into Australia's largest 100% family owned meat processing company with an annual revenue well in excess of $1 billion. TFI commenced involvement in the CISP Program in April 2012 and have built a foundation for sustainable practices and plant performance during this period. Throughout the last three years TFI has successfully integrated innovation into its overall business strategy to increase operational excellence (specifically processing efficiency and environmental sustainability). During this time 26 innovation projects have been completed, with a direct benefit to TFI's business realised from 26 completed projects is estimated to $24,478,000 p.a.

During this period a significant focus has been on increasing operational performance across the group's newly acquired facilities. To facilitate this, an extensive capital works program has been undertaken to achieve industry best practice. Significant achievement has been made in these identified focus areas since the program commenced. The initial innovation program strategic plan provided the foundation for sustainable practices and plant performance.

TFI have also extended their innovation programs strategic focus into the area of lamb supply chain management.  This resulted in a specific strategy around improving lamb supply and quality. It is envisaged that this initiative will become the foundation for developing strong supply chain relationships to enhance quality, encourage consistency and ensure customers' expectations are met.
The main benefits to Thomas Foods International arising out of CISP in Stage 1 have included:Reduction in costs and increased production efficienciesGreater confidence in implementing new technologiesAbility to adapt to a changing business environmentBecoming a strategic collaborative partner for the MLA/ CRC lamb supply chain group with the appointment of a lamb supply chain coordinator ( Dr Dave Rutley) to develop and implement value chain alignment strategies

The main benefits to Thomas Foods International arising out of CISP in Stage 2 have included:
Increased producer engagementImproved food safety and e-coli management stratagiesImproved process efficacy through technology and automationImproved environmental sustainabilityNew product development through new innovative processesAbility to confidently evaluate and implement new cutting edge technologies

More information

Project manager: Matt Dorney
Primary researcher: Thomas Foods International Murray B