When it comes to sustainable innovation, it’s always growing season for GrainCorp, one of Australia’s leading agribusinesses that’s exploring alternative proteins, AgTech, animal nutrition, and agri-energy.

GrainCorp connects over 10,000 regional grain growers with customers worldwide to turn wheat, barley, canola, sorghum and specialty commodities into foods and animal feedstock. With the largest grain storage and handling network on the east coast of Australia, GrainCorp operates over 160 grain receival sites with bunker or silo storage, and seven bulk grain port terminals. Food supply chain resilience is fundamental to the company’s sustainability commitment to boost services and profits while lowering environmental impact.

“Our vision is to lead sustainable agriculture through the next century of growth, to create value for everyone’s future,” said Cate Hathaway, chief people and transformation officer at GrainCorp. “Through strategic partnerships and digitalisation that supports collaborative innovation and data-driven decision-making, we are building the workforce and supply chain resilience that we need for the next generation of agribusiness.”

Renewables feed agri-energy innovation

GrainCorp is well placed to help address growing global demands for renewable fuels and fuel feedstocks. The company exported over nine million tons of grain worldwide last year, and is the largest supplier of renewable feedstocks in Australia and New Zealand, including used cooking oil, tallow, and canola oil.

“We believe that GrainCorp has a responsibility to help the agricultural industry feed the world’s growing population in a changing climate with fewer resources,” said Hathaway. “We are uniquely positioned to support the transition to renewable fuels, reducing our own waste impact, and participating in the market’s growth.”

Last year, GrainCorp’s canola crushing facility in Victoria received International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) to export canola oil into international markets for conversion to renewable fuels.

Workforce resilience from digitalisation

Replacing manual and disparate HR systems with one centralised digital platform has reduced costs and increased workforce engagement at GrainCorp. The company has saved approximately $1 million moving from in-person to online quality control training sessions, and reported over 90% employee satisfaction levels with the recruitment and onboarding experience, and 20% faster onboarding of new-hires.

“With strong Australian crop yields and GrainCorp achieving record results over the last two years, SAP SuccessFactors has been a huge leap forward in the technology we use to engage our workforce,” said Hathaway. “We brought in hundreds of permanent employees and thousands of seasonal workers on time and within budget while facing the greatest global talent shortage in the past 50 years.”

Despite challenges from extreme weather, the pandemic, and supply chain disruptions, GrainCorp’s workforce has remained impressively resilient.

“Given the volatility of the weather and fluctuating market conditions, the nature of our business demands a resilient workforce,” said Hathaway. “We have the data to understand and act on moments that matter within the employee lifecycle. We can better identify and nurture top talent, and proactively conduct workforce planning to mobilise talent for peak business periods, such as the Australian harvest season.”

AgTech investments pay off with growth opportunities

GrainCorp’s digitalisation strategy is designed to build relationships and explore new business opportunities. Its venture capital fund, GrainCorp Ventures, has invested in a regional connectivity company that helps close broadband coverage gaps for growers in remote areas of Australia. GrainCorp’s investment – a 15% stake – in Hone, an Australian-based AgTech company, is another example of digital innovation. Touted as a quality testing revolution, grain growers can use Hone’s technology to make real-time, data-based decisions for healthier soil and crops, supporting sustainable farming practices and more profitable business.

GrainCorp has also launched a $4.4 million research partnership with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to explore manufacturing and supply chains in the fast-growing plant-based protein ingredients market. The objective is to reduce reliance on imported ingredients and increase the value of grains and oilseeds for use in new products. The plant-based protein market is predicted to total over $17 billion by 2027.

“We want to stay one step ahead of consumer trends like plant-based proteins by partnering with experts who have similar values and the same strategic focus on growth and innovation,” said Hathaway.

Unparalleled commitment to customers and community

Last year’s record-setting floods in eastern Australia were a major stress test of the region’s food supply chain resilience. At the time, GrainCorp’s teams literally waded in to support flood recovery and prevention.

“Our employees are experienced and agile in responding to supply chain challenges, and are passionate about supporting the communities in which they live and work, while continuing to deliver for our growers and customers,” said Hathaway. “This is what happens when you create an environment where people find their passion, grow their potential, and thrive as part of a team dedicated to sustainable business.”

Learn more about how you can solve complex business problems and create innovative business results with SAP SuccessFactors.