Last year, APAL commenced the Packhouse Optimisation Project to help growers and packers understand the full cost of packing apples and pears and identify ways to optimise their operations.
The Project aims to analyse the cost of packing, by developing a robust financial model of growers’ packing sheds to provide growers with the financial information they need to make informed decisions about upgrades, refurbishments, starting a new packing shed on a green-field site, or, possibly, amalgamation.
Over the last few months, nearly all the financial models of the packhouses involved in the Project have been completed.
Tom Chick, a Rural Financial Counsellor (and accountant) from AgBiz Assist (part of the Rural Financial Counselling Service) has been working with growers to put their data into the financial model that has been built for the project.
Putting the correct data into the model, particularly in regards to the value of the packhouse, coolrooms, equipment etc. is quite complex and an experienced person is needed to ensure that the right data is entered.
Once data collection is complete, each grower will get a short report of their results from which they can draw conclusions related to where they go in the future with their packhouse.
APAL plans to publish a summary report of the aggregated data from the project. This should be available in the next few months. The report of the Victorian study could lead to a national program for packhouse benchmarking.
APAL’s Packhouse Optimisation Project is funded by the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources through Regional Development Victoria’s ‘Food Source Victoria’ program.