In a ceremony held at Parliament House on the 26th of November 2009, Kubota Tractor Australia (KTA) won the 2009 Australian Bio-Security Awards for identifying an invasive fungi and taking rapid action to contain the biological disease.
The Australian Bio-Security Awards recognise outstanding achievements in safeguarding national bio-security integrity. Kubota received a record number of 45 nominations and won the national award from four other regional winners.
Mr Greg Vincent, Logistics Manager at KTA said, “We are very pleased and honoured to receive this Australian Bio-Security Award. Kubota has a global policy focusing on environmental values, and as many of us are from a rural background, we know only to well the detrimental effects that can be caused by introduced pests and disease. So it is definitely something that is close to us and our business”.
“The discovery of blue stain fungi on wooden crates shipped to us from the United States initially was thought to have been about 100 packages, but we ended up de-crating over 1000 to be doubly sure. Not only as a company operating in Australia, but also as citizens of this country, it was our responsibility to take fast action by working with Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services (AQIS) to first of all contain this fungi, and secondly to take action to prevent more of the contaminated wood entering the country” said Greg.
KTA employed extra staff enabling the conduct of a large scale inspection of packaging material and to help trace other shipments that had gone directly to clients.
“Everyone played a role, from our Managing Director quickly contacting key management in the United States as well as keeping Japan informed on our progress, to our forklift drivers and assemblers dismantling crates in order to dispose of them in a biological friendly process. Bulletins were sent to our dealer network to update and inform them of any risks and action required if anything was discovered”.
All shipments from the United States were suspended until they could be assured that associated companies in the supply chain put in new procedures enforcing greater quality control. If there was any doubt about packaging it was destroyed.
Greg went on to say, “Since the initial discovery and action taken, there has been no further cases of blue stain fungi coming into the country. However to remain proactive on this issue, we are investigating other packaging alternatives including a recently received shipment of tyres packaged on heavy duty recycled cardboard pallets”.
“Our KTA head office is constantly looking for ways to minimise negative effects on the environment. We have a “Green Team”, a group of employees that work on ways to keep our water and energy usage down. We also have a minimal paper policy where by we use electronic forms of communicating and working to prevent wasting excessive amounts of paper which occurs at many other companies”.
“Our products are designed to help Australians make a living off the land, so we are passionate about protecting the environment that essentially drives our business forward. The way we handled the Blue Stain Fungi issue is evidence of that value”, concluded Greg.