No beef with Stockyard’s international export success
Stockyard, a Queensland family business operating for more than half a century and part of the CCIQ International Trade team, will be a strong contender at the Australian Export Awards on November 24.
CEO Lachie Hart proudly accepted the Agribusiness Award at the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards last month (pictured below) against a high-class field of entrants.
Mr Hart spoke to CCIQ this week about Brisbane-based Stockyard, which was established in 1958 and specialises in the production of grain-fed beef, in particular top-quality Angus and Wagyu.
“As a small family business we are very proud of what we have achieved in a very competitive global marketplace,” Mr Hart said.
“I believe our export success is based on the following attributes:
- Identity – understanding our differentiated capabilities and promoting these through our brands and our shared values within the organisation.
- Market – thoroughly understanding our markets and establishing the appropriate channels to effectively deliver our products to our customers.
- Offering – ensuring our products exceed our customers’ expectations, each and every time.
“While this sounds simple there is a significant amount of work and experience behind this strategy to make it work effectively.”
Stockyard was started by Mr Hart’s parents, initially breeding and backgrounding cattle for the local market in Australia.
His father Robin Hart AM, visited Japan in the early 1970s and this opened his eyes to a nation of high value consumers with an appetite for high quality grain-fed beef.
“He was a pioneer in exporting chilled grain-fed beef to Japan in 1973 and today, still remains an important market for Stockyard. We have strived to produce the highest quality beef to meet the growing demand for this product abroad,” Mr Hart said.
“There would have been three members of staff back in 1958, including my parents. Today we have 30 hardworking members employed within the organisation and following our feedlot expansion next year this number is expected to grow to 40 staff.
“The staff are the backbone to our organisation and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve these accolades without them.”
Mr Hart cites an old saying about doing business with Japan: “make friends first and do business later”.
“Developing a trusting relationship with the Japanese importers/distributors and end users was, not only, very important but also time consuming,” he said.
“It required many visits, thousands of meishi (business cards), copious consumption of sake; and our best (often very bad) performance at the end of a Karaoke microphone before we secured our first sale.
“One value we have learned from this experience and one that has helped us in many other markets we have developed, is patience.”
Stockyard is now exporting to over 20 countries including Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, Singapore, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Hong Kong, USA, Russia and Mauritius.
Mr Hart said every market was different and they all had unique challenges to overcome.
“Whether it is a language and/or cultural challenge, a technical trade barrier or the lack of an established distribution cold-chain; all have to be effectively overcome to be successful,” he said.
“It helps a lot when you have established a strong reputation from your brand and you have a ‘pull-though’ effect from people within the market to establish your brand there. You just have to be persistent.
“The bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements are very important to our industry and to Stockyard. The Australian Government is to be congratulated for effectively securing these FTAs with our closest trading partners.
“As an industry, we will continue to support our Government in pursuing similar outcomes with other important trading opportunities in the GCC, the EU (and now the UK separately), India, Indonesia and the TPP. The agreements are very effective in reducing or eliminating tariffs and other market access issues which have enabled our Industry to remain competitive against other international competitors.
“JAEPA has certainly helped Stockyard’s growth in Japan. Our competitive tariff (compared to other beef producers namely USA and New Zealand) has enabled us to secure retail shelf space in a number of supermarket chains in Japan.”
Stockyard has been utilising the Certificates of Origin issuing services of the International Trade team at CCIQ for many years, including the Certificates of Origin associated with the various FTAs Australia has with different countries.
Mr Hart said they had been of enormous benefit to Stockyard.
“As an exporter, we depend on the services of numerous organisations to ensure the transaction occurs seamlessly for our clients. This includes freight and logistics, banking, insurance and, of course, documentation.
“The CCIQ International Trade team, led by Manager Diana Gueorguieva, are of great assistance to Stockyard and their service to exporters is first class.”
Stockyard has won many awards over the years and has a great chance to pick up another at the 54th annual Australian Export Awards in a fortnight.
Mr Hart said the key to peer recognition and awards was “get your backyard in order first”.
“Make sure you have the processes in place to ensure your products and services will deliver to a standard that exceeds the customer’s expectation,” he said.
“Be persistent, but be patient – it is unlikely you will secure a sales order on your first visit. Remember the motto; “make friends first and do business later”.
“It is the most rewarding work to see your brand’s success overseas and the enjoyment it brings to the consumers who use it.”
Ms Gueorguieva said it was exciting to see the export achievements of CCIQ members recognised and rewarded by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Trade Investment Queensland.
“On behalf of the team at CCIQ International Trade, I would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists for your amazing export successes. We are privileged to have had the opportunity to be of assistance to these businesses in their export journey. Your successes are our successes.
“On behalf of the International Trade team at CCIQ, we wish Stockyard and Lachie Hart and his team good luck at the finals. CCIQ International will be there cheering for you to win the Agribusiness Award at a national level. You will no doubt do Queensland proud.”