Analysing performance; establishing direction

Schuster Consulting Group coordinates a major meat industry research and development (R&D) program. As such we are charged with raising the awareness and profile of the industry and implementing the industry's on-farm R&D program.

The program aims to:

  • Enable learning and adoption of innovation and technology throughout the supply chain.

  • Increase the supply of livestock.

  • Improve on-farm productivity and reduce costs of production.

  • Contribute to natural resource management outcomes from agriculture.

  • Explore and leverage opportunities for meat and co-products and enable the industry to deliver a safe and wholesome product which meets customer specifications.

Diverse skills

The management of the R&D program requires proficiency in areas ranging from government liaison, industry representation and media liaison, project management, budget control, producer engagement and communications, technical writing, general advice and administration.

Establishing R&D priorities

After two years, the program required a review and a new strategy for R&D priorities to 2011.

As coordinator of the R&D program we undertook the most extensive review of the industry's investment and broader industry issues ever conducted. The objective of this review was to analyse the performance of R&D investment in the industry and to determine areas for future investment.

A rigorously constructed online survey was utilised and elicited more than 500 responses. The most significant finding was that more than 65% of respondents had made changes or intended to make changes to their business practices as a direct result of the R&D program. This now sets the benchmark for future program evaluations.

Growing the industry

Based on the findings from the review and extensive stakeholder consultation, we developed the industry's R&D strategic plan to 2011. This plan sets the direction for industry's R&D investment and outlines the key strategic imperatives that will help sustain the industry into the future.