CBH is in the process of implementing radical new technology to help reduce staffing issues and decrease delivery times at grain receival points during future harvests.
CBH operations manager Colin Tutt said the innovative technology being trialled by its grain operations section would provide long-term solutions for some of the problems encountered this harvest, including staffing shortages and prolonged delivery times.
Mr Tutt said the drive to improve science and engineering had already started with the successful trialling of an automated weighbridge at Brookton this harvest.
He said there was more technology to come, including an automatic sampling machine, with the potential to dramatically reduce sampling times.
Mr Tutt described CBH’s overall performance during the 2007-08 harvest as pleasing, but said there was still plenty of room for improvement.
“Overall, considering the fact we had a lot of issues with seasonal employment, we can be reasonably comfortable with the way we handled harvest, understanding that we need to focus hard on our need to improve in certain areas,” Mr Tutt said.
“We recognise that in certain locations, our situation and performance needs to improve enormously.
“We had a lot of trouble at places like Regans Ford and South Yilgarn.
“Avon was quite difficult at times as was Kojonup, and even right down south at Kojaneerup.
“So there is still room for an enormous amount of improvement to the way we manage our supply chain.”
Mr Tutt said CBH would implement new technology in the near future to help reduce delivery times.
The Brookton weighbridge will be tested again next harvest then introduced to 20 other primary sites across the state the season after that, providing they continued to provide results that please.
Mr Tutt said in the longer term CBH was looking to have automated weighbridges operating at all primary sites. The weighbridges cost about $25,000 to install.
He said the new technology would help reduce the number of staff required to operate weighbridges.
“If we can get that number down by 50pc to around 100-150 staff we can save a lot of time and money in the supply chain,” he said.
“The other area we are trying to automate more is the sampling process.
“We have an image analysis project in place at the moment, which can potentially reduce staff numbers for that aspect of our business by 50pc as well.
“And that will take the numbers down by 300 so in total we can reduce our labour requirement by 450 in the future.
“That is the strategy — we need to be less reliant on casual labour.
“We are also looking at recruiting staff from the eastern states and overseas to supplement labour losses in the future.”