The following conversation was heard at the recent 7th anniversary USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter Rural Australian - Asia Trade Summit. The aim of this event was to facilitate structured networking and dialogue to inspire the engines of trade and investment for our region's mutual economic growth. More than half of Australia's top two-way trading partners are located in Asia - one of which is Singapore. Australia’s two-way trade in goods and services was worth nearly $670 billion in 2015 — a vital component of our countries' economic prosperity. The event brought together Senior Government, Trade, Investment, Scientific and Corporate representatives from across the region.
How is digital impacting your industry?
Looking at the traditional arm of agriculture we have to assess and ask, "what is the most disruptive element that is going to add the most value to the farm group?". With that, there is an element of complexity around technology that a farmer may not readily accept. We have to build in an allowance for the confidence and the assurance that this change can bring to productivity.
If we say it will simply increase yield one may not get the buy in, but, if the technology is angled, and identifies ways to reduce significant costs, it will prick any farmers ears to listen. Agriculture is an industry that continues to advance and adopt change, but some changes take longer than other. Uptake of digital technology is an example of slow recognition in some area’s but once it catches on - look out!
We are seeing rapid digital advances in online auctions. To sell an animal it used to require multiple movements to a traditional sale yard that can be seen as inefficient and costly for some. Now with online auctions, a farmer can upload the photo of their animals. Then bidders, potentially from anywhere around the world, can place a price on that animal. This disruptive technology is growing in Australia with millions of animals now sold digitally. With it, the growing confidence and the assurance that digital disruption can decrease costs and can work to support a farmers return.
Other examples include circumstances where the distances of rural Australia lends itself to open solutions for drone technology e.g. to monitor distant water points. Digital medicine and animal monitoring with remote veterinary services are becoming an acceptable part of business. For an entrepreneur, these distance/time factors have to be a consideration of the cost and complexity that can be overcome by creating the right business model.
Photo Credit: Deloitte Singapore: L to R: Nick Stanley, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Tribal Group, Dave Lim, Innovator & Futurist, TEDx Ambassador and Founder, IdeasWorthDoing, Cathy Heeley, Vice President & Chief Counsel Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International, Andrew Simpson, Regional Manager - South Asia and China, Meat and Livestock Australia and Yoong Hui Chia, CEO, and Chairman, Ascenz Solutions Group.
Early adoption also helps some farmers to take the leader advantage, but there is considerable work to be done around the supply chain organizational structure that supports this new technology. Fragmentation in agriculture, needs ways of linking it all together before it becomes food on your plate. It is more of a challenge for some industries, so the opportunity for investment in research and development and in the interoperability and interconnectivity of supply chains is a good start. If you look at forecasting data, for example, the first ingredient you need is the historical data to benchmark. By encouraging the banking of this data, working on the readability and presenting its forecasts has a big future for our industry. To be able to say what we need in 3 months, or 3 years for food security is an unlocked potential between our countries and region. Use of digital disruption to a farmers advantage, building into the forecast of supply and production, so that farmers can adjust their output to ultimately a bilateral consumer-driven demand model... now that’s working together!
Cathy Heeley, Vice President & Chief Counsel Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International
I would encourage you to reflect on your own organizations. Because for some new companies being on the right side of the digital divide is really easy. I would love to work for Airbnb because they are working on the leading edge, creating wealth and doing something really exciting. But for traditional companies like ours, which started in bricks and mortars it's a lot more difficult. And I say that because I think we are creating a new divide which is not healthy, where we are creating an ecommerce department – an e-commerce structure that sits beside our traditional structures and I wonder if that’s actually clever. I wonder if in fact, we wouldn't be better off right from the beginning saying there can’t be a great divide.
Photo Credit: Deloitte Singapore: L to R: Cathy Heeley, Vice President & Chief Counsel Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International, Andrew Simpson, Regional Manager - South Asia and China, Meat and Livestock Australia and Yoong Hui Chia, CEO, and Chairman, Ascenz Solutions Group.
If you are going to do marketing in a traditional multinational you have to be able to market across every channel. It can’t be you have a specialist e-commerce, specialist modern trade, and specialist traditional trade marketer because the reality is that our consumers are making decisions in every country in the region by what they are seeing on their mobile phones, not what they are seeing on their televisions, or reading in their newspapers very often now. And unless you have an org structure and a group of people whose skills cross the entire spectrum, the digital divide will become a lot more destructive in the long run.
In our industry, I met a ship-owner in Taiwan and he had returned to his country as his father wanted him to take over the family business. He was a former banker from the US and on his first day, he asked his father for the data. But in the shipping industry people have traditionally managed on experience and gut feeling. Fleet managers are typically ex-sea goers or ex-mariners.
We have to change. The industry has to change because the new generation is so used to assimilating data. They are bought up on Fifa and Pokemon Go. They want to see the data to be able to manage the business.
In the maritime industry, people are not collecting accurate data. So we are still at the initial stage of installing good sensors to collect accurate data to send back to shore.
Once you have 3-5 years’ data you are then able to visualize it to see what are the trends, and what the data is all about. Only then can you garner insights for informed decision making.
With all this demand for data for forecasting, analytics, and predictions it is going to revolutionize the way we make decisions in our industry. This is how I see the whole IoT and big data influencing the maritime industry.
About the USQ Rural Australian - Asia Trade Summit
On the 6th October 2016, the USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter proudly celebrated its 7th anniversary. In the spirit of our mission to deliver business opportunities to our members and support our Community, we hosted a rural Australian - Asia Trade Summit at Deloitte Singapore.
As in all sectors of our economy, innovation and R&D play a vital role in increasing agricultural productivity and rural/farmer profitability – benefits of which flow through the whole of the regional economy and are fundamental to our Asia Pacific prosperity. With the global population growing rapidly and arable lands shrinking, our farmers, service companies, and technologies are uniquely placed to help fill the world’s food basket.
The aim of this event was to facilitate structured networking and dialogue to inspire the engines of trade and investment for our region's mutual economic growth. The event brought together Senior Government, Trade, Investment, Scientific and Corporate representatives from across the region.
More than half of Australia's top two-way trading partners are located in Asia - one of which is Singapore. Australia’s two way trade in goods and services was worth nearly $670 billion in 2015 — a vital component of Australia and Singapore's economic prosperity.
The audience heard the latest regional economic outlook and took home highlights and lessons learned from APAC business leaders.
This Summit was proudly sponsored by Tribal Group, Deloitte Singapore, RL Expert Group, the University of Southern Queensland, Australian Alumni Singapore, Treasury Wine Estates and V Hotel Group.
For more information see http://www.usqsg07.com or http://www.usqsgalumni.com
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