Sunday 18th Aug, 2019

Growth by the numbers: AGI’s strategy for success

Agricultural infrastructure company Ag Growth International speaks to ABHR about the three critical numbers that make up its 5-6-7 strategy.

Australia’s agricultural industry produces an abundance of food, with a significant amount exported to other nations.

This is according to the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) 2010 report Australia and Food Security in a Changing World. It found that although Australia accounts for less than three per cent of the global food trade, it produces enough to feed a population of 60 million.

However, as the projected global population is set to reach 9.2 billion by 2050, the report says existing and emerging food production constraints and the anticipated impact of climate change could lead to conditions deteriorating.

Professor Peter Langridge, PMSEIC Chair says in the report that global food security will demand the development and delivery of new technologies to increase food production on limited arable land.

The infrastructure required to feed the world’s people consists of a global network of facilities that store, blend, mix, convey, condition, process and protect the hundreds of millions of tonnes of agriculture inputs and crops flow around the world on a daily basis.

Ag Growth International (AGI) is one company helping to further refine the definition of global food infrastructure, providing the equipment and technology required to facilitate the global movements of material needed to grow, harvest, process and transport crops.

Paul Brisebois, Vice President – Farm at AGI, says the company provides the infrastructure to feed a growing global population, and to do so it relies upon its 5-6-7 strategy.

“Our core vision is to continue to be a global leader in the planning, engineering and manufacturing of full solutions and systems across five platforms: grain, fertiliser, food, feed and seed,” Mr Brisebois says.

“We aim to grow in each of these vertical platforms within food infrastructure.

“We then take these systems and solutions across the globe, to the six continents we operate on: Australia, North America, Africa, South America, Europe and Asia,” he adds.

Each of these systems is then brought together and delivered for farm and commercial applications through seven components: storage, handling, structural, processing and controls, engineering and project management.

The 5-6-7 strategy is based around five platforms, six continents and seven components.

The 5-6-7 strategy was developed by AGI CEO Tim Close to provide a structure for the growth of the business. It has been particularly critical for the company’s acquisition plans, helping to identify potential businesses which align well with AGI.

Mr Brisebois says that from a growth perspective, the 5-6-7 strategy has helped improve clarity internally for employees and externally for customers and key stakeholders.

“As we continue to grow, either through research and development or through acquisitions, the strategy focuses us on our goal of providing solutions for our customers and growing our businesses together,” he says.

“Our dealers and commercial customers have also been able to benefit from it, as it helps them make informed partnership decisions.”

AGI’s roots can be traced back to rural western Canada, where the company began with its Batco line of conveyors. It has since acquired more than 25 companies and now employs more than 2,500 staff around the world.

AGI is able to provide turnkey solutions for its customers, which Mr Brisebois says has been a key trend within the industry. “Customers want the simplicity of dealing with just one supplier that can meet all their needs,” he says.

Australian Growth

AGI has been involved in Australia for more than 36 years with its Westfield augers and Batco conveyor belts used in farms across the country. The company also assists farmers with storage solutions through its Westeel and MFS brands.

Recently, it has also assisted GrainCorp’s Project Regeneration, which aimed to create a more efficient network of storage sites around Australia’s eastern grain belt. AGI assisted GrainCorp with the expansion and upgrade of its network, helping design and manufacture the facilities.

Peter Forster, AGI’s Australian Business Manager, says inefficiency and high costs within the Australian supply chain hurts growers trying to compete in the global market.

“Geographically, Australia is a vast continent with its regional population spread thin. This, along with ageing infrastructure, has led to the local supply chain becoming one of the most expensive in the world,” he explains.

“However, Australian grain is high quality and significantly sought after in the Asian market. AGI is dedicated to upgrading local infrastructure to drive down costs and help the industry compete globally.

“Our partnerships play a significant role in this. They allow us to provide customers with face to face expertise and can draw on the support of a major manufacturer,” Mr Forster says.

An example of this can be seen with Allied Grain Systems, which recently completed the Malteurop Geelong expansion.

The company’s dealer network works closely with farms and commercial customers to help upgrade local infrastructure by designing, constructing, assembling and maintaining bulk handling systems.

Monitoring technology is a significant part of AGI’s Australian offering, particularly for keeping materials cool, nutritious and properly fumigated. Aeration, conditioning and monitoring systems allow information to be provided to the customer, which assists in operational decision making.

Mr Forster says the new technology being developed will help take the market to the next level, particularly when it comes to food traceability and supply chain management.

“The Australian market is going through a period of reinvestment. Consumer confidence and food security is becoming an important trend to focus on, especially within periods of drought,” he says.

“As a global company, AGI understands the different effects climate change has on the agricultural industry and is reaching out to invest in farmers around the world.”

“AGI, through its 5-6-7 strategy, expects the Australian market to continue to be a growth opportunity in the future and we aim to continue expanding our portfolio of turnkey solutions and continue to supply the market with Hi Roller belts, Neco dryers, Union Iron elevators, MFS silos and Yargus fertiliser systems.”