Campbell's Soups Shepparton is gunning to boost its export volumes to Asian markets following the pandemic in what would be a win for job security and district suppliers.
Arnott's International supply chain vice-president Craig Funnell said Campbell's Shepparton had invested $18 million over the past five years in securing export volume, with a further $16 million potentially in the pipeline.
“We’re now presented with a big opportunity to take on more volume in to the Asia market place,” Mr Funnell said.
“If we got this volume into the growing markets of Asia, it would make a huge difference to the Shepparton plant and suppliers in the region.”
The planned investment forms part of a project to increase export volume at Campbell's Shepparton from 11 per cent, to a projected 29 per cent.
Throughout the pandemic, Campbell's Shepparton has been working closely with district suppliers in the Goulburn Valley such as Visy and Provincial Food group to meet increased demand.
About half of Campbell's Shepparton's Victorian suppliers — 92 out of 189 — are based in the Goulburn Valley.
Mr Funnell said most of these suppliers had been working with the company for decades through a system of mutual understanding and trust ensuring shorter lead times and faster operations.
“As we get this volume in to the plant it will mean we'll need more packaging and ingredients from our suppliers,” he said.
“We’re going to buy more of both these things and I think that’s where we'll see an economic benefit for the area.”
Mr Funnell said the Campbell’s Shepparton plant must carefully manage costs to remain cost competitive as it competes against Campbell’s Malaysian operations for the additional Asian volume to Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
“We need to ensure we have a very reliable operation in Shepparton first and we need to have board approval — it won't happen overnight,” he said.
Mr Funnell said Campbell's Shepparton had experienced significant spikes in demand around March and April during the pandemic putting strain on supply lines.
“We supplied over and above what was in our demand ensuring we put food on the shelves – it’s a testament to the employees at Shepparton,” he said.
“It is a big thank you to our local suppliers for the wonderful job they did.”