Multi-million dollar lab investments pay off

Published: Mon 31 Oct 2005 09:43 AM
31 October 2005
Multi-million dollar laboratory investments pay off for AgriQuality and NZ
With more than 1.1 million laboratory tests completed in the 2004/05 financial year and in excess of $13 million invested in its New Zealand and Australian operations in the past two years alone, AgriQuality is a global leader in the science of bringing together leading edge technology and the most technically proficient experts to deliver excellence in food safety, quality assurance and biosecurity laboratory work.
Laboratory testing is becoming increasingly important as demand from businesses across the food supply chain for credible, measurable scientific evidence continues to grow. With its recent investments in the area AgriQuality now offers unparalleled leadership within the Australasian market.
“Pioneering US architect, educationist and researcher Don Prowler, expressed it best when he said, ‘the laboratory is to the 21st century what the cathedral was to the 14th century – they both embody the spirit and the culture of the age and attract the greatest intellectual and economic resources of our society’. That is certainly true of our operation at AgriQuality where we see the laboratory as a fundamental cornerstone in delivering seamless traceable quality assurance services across the supply chain,” says AqriQuality CEO John Morgan.
In 2004/05, one of AgriQuality’s most significant undertaking was to commit $7 million dollars to the automation of their microbiology laboratories in Auckland and Melbourne. The automation project is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
“It’s an integrated laboratory system that automates much of the mundane handling involved in microbiology, speeding up turn-around times and freeing up scientists to carry out specialised analysis and test interpretation. Most importantly, it provides full traceability throughout the laboratory testing process,” says Mr Morgan.
Mr Morgan says the automation project has trebled throughput and is an excellent example of AgriQuality harnessing leading-edge technology to deliver world-class scientific evidence. He stresses the other vital ingredient is the expertise of those working within the labs – and indeed within the entire organisation.
“We have more than 750 people working across 50 sites in Australia and New Zealand and all of them bring a high level of expertise and experience to the table. Our scientists, laboratory and field technicians, inspection and specialist auditors, GIS analysts, logistics experts and biosecurity professionals hold 360 university degrees – 240 of which are bioscience based. We also have another 250 staff with formal food and agricultural technical qualifications,” Mr Morgan says.
Just as AqriQuality is committed to investing in the best technology and scientific equipment, the organisation is also committed to continually upskilling its people to keep them at the forefront of these dynamic and constantly changing industries.
To this end, AgriQuality has invested heavily in 2004/05 to develop the already impressive credentials, expertise and experience of its staff.
“Having the best equipment and most sophisticated systems housed within the most advanced laboratories is irrelevant if these things are not matched with the highest levels of expertise. AgriQuality has always understood the importance of investing across all three areas and because of that vision we are able to deliver our customers the very best in scientific assurance,” says Mr Morgan.

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