By Jon Brooks, NZ Country Manager, TradeWindow
For years it’s been drummed into New Zealand business leaders that we need to move our export economy from ‘volume’ to ‘value’, but there has not always been a corresponding level of detail on how we get there.
Now the Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon. Damien O’Connor has gone one further. At the recent U.S. Trade Summit held in Auckland he challenged delegates to move beyond a value-driven export philosophy to a values-driven one. Conceptually, this makes sense in a world where our global customers are demanding ethical sourcing, sustainability and positive social impact.
But how do we get there? Whether we’re pursuing a value or values led strategy, or just business self-interest, securely captured and verified data will become a key currency to prove the provenance and authenticity of our goods as they are exported to overseas markets.
What we need
A traceability solution to identify and authenticate a product’s origin through records and supply chain visibility is integral for exporters to create value, reduce risk, and ensure compliance within their supply chains.
Many of us are aware of the face-value benefits of digitised trade. One global authority estimates that digitisation of trade documentation in the G7 nations alone will cut 81% of the time spent on trade transactions, generate trillions of dollars-worth of growth, and reduce transaction processing time from 25 days to just one day.
However, aside from simply increasing productivity and reducing exporters’ exposure to hidden supply chain risks, traceability also provides assurance and transparency to key stakeholders, including both importers and customers, unlocking value right along the supply chain to consumer.
As both food safety and traceability requirements have increasingly become a concern for relevant regulatory agencies and consumers in recent years, the ability to prove provenance and validate the travel of goods along the supply chain is ever more essential for businesses to continue successful operations in key markets.
What’s more, with the rise of conscious consumerism, many organisations and businesses are now beginning to move beyond simple data-gathering (track and trace) and are instead opting for business models that serve to highlight their products’ sustainability and provenance stories (traceability).
Benefits from traceability solutions for the end consumer are vast and include enhanced food safety, biosecurity, and the ability to identify environmental and ethical production characteristics such as animal welfare, sustainable production, and quality control in the products they choose – as products can be traced right back to their origins.
The ability to communicate these stories to consumers is the golden ticket for many firms who no longer necessarily compete on price for their slice of the consumer-pie, but on an array of sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures.
This is of particular interest to boards, as listed companies across the globe are increasingly required to disclose their business practices and operations in annual ESG reports. A traceability solution is a key way to provide firm evidence that the company is fulfilling its claims across its supply chain.
Firms once used to generically trading on New Zealand’s clean, green image alone will need to work harder to prove their products’ specific links to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in order to win the sale from increasingly socially-conscious consumers.
Such traceability will enable our export sector to unlock significant additional value through trade digitisation, especially because consumers across the globe are increasingly willing to pay a premium for products with strong sustainability credentials and stories. It is more important than ever to have strong traceability solutions in place for those looking to trade internationally.
For soft commodities, such as fruit, sugar, wheat, meat and dairy, traceability and transparency are paramount to competing. Just imagine how being able to quickly and easily trace beef or lamb being served in an LA restaurant right back to the individual farm, or Manuka honey being sold in Guangzhou right back to the Kiwi beehive in which it was produced will forever change the game for firms looking to differentiate their products overseas.
TradeWindow is currently the only player providing a vertically-integrated digital trade platform that covers compliance, operations, management, data sharing and storage, internal and external stakeholder collaboration, and end-to-end supply chain traceability – and its offering is only getting stronger.
At TradeWindow we have recently announced the conditional acquisition of Rfider, an Auckland-based software company that offers a mobile interface able to be rapidly deployed in complex supply chains to capture many points of data, their solution to supply-chain traceability.
By combining this functionality with our own existing traceability solution TradeWindow Assure, already in use by exporters like Greenlea Premier Meats, we can now extend our reach deeper into primary industry supply chains to provide traceability right back to the points of cultivation and production.
For many years we have known the ‘why’ we need to move our exports up the value chain. It’s now exciting to reach this point where many more exporters are now seeking out the ‘how’ and embracing technology to move us to the promised land of end-to-end traceability.