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3 Jul 2014 12:15 PM - Article written by Robinson Sewell Partners

FY2015 – time to take control and innovate!

A new financial year is upon us! This is a time to review the existing performance of your business, and also to take a longer term view and set targets for future profitability. Take this opportunity to map a way forward for your business with an updated and ambitious plan that includes a strategy for the best way to remain competitive and grow your business... innovation is the new black! This article looks at the final stage of the innovation process ... from diffusion to practical application in your new business plan.

Innovation Salvation!  

When people discuss innovation they usually think of scientists in white coats working for large firms in complex laboratories doing R&D and shaping “radical change”. But innovation is more than that and worth exploring a bit more! In particular process innovation and marketing innovations can play a crucial, incremental and continuous role in growing your business, including agribusiness enterprises, industry and commerce.

The areas of innovation to focus your business plan on

The Economist Schumpeter noted in the case of productivity-enhancing process innovation, the firm gets a cost advantage over its competitors, which allows it to gain a higher mark-up at the prevailing market price or, depending on the elasticity of demand, to use a combination of lower price and higher mark-up than its competitors to gain market share and seek further rents.

The OECD OSLO Manual defines process innovation as the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method including changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.  They can be intended to decrease unit costs of production or delivery, to increase quality, or to produce or deliver new or significantly improved products.

The OECD also has a definition of marketing innovation as the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing. Marketing innovations are aimed at better addressing customer needs, opening up new markets, or newly positioning a firm’s product on the market, with the objective of increasing the firm’s sales.

Ten practical applications of small agri-business innovations and their impacts  




Process Innovation


Purchase of GPS technology to promote new tilling and planting techniques in precision farming.


Higher yields, lower crop losses, lower energy and fertiliser costs.

Process Innovation


New breeding techniques and Livestock system innovations such as genetic profiling


Improved productivity, welfare and quality of animals.


Process Innovation


New feeding techniques – use of GPS and soil sensors tracking to allow for more efficient rotation of livestock and pastures.


Lower costs from reduced water and feeding needs.

Process Innovation


Application of soil sensor technology to target more efficient use of pesticides and water


Higher crop yields, lower water costs, reduced carbon footprint.

Process Innovation



Replacement of ageing capital equipment, or automation and expansion of production process


Higher and more efficient harvesting and processing. Lower running costs.


Process Innovation


Purchase of new software to assist purchasing, stock control and payroll


More efficient restocking systems to better meet customer needs in a more timely fashion.


Marketing Innovation



New pricing methods – including collaborating with other farmers.

Better prices, higher turnover and wider customer base.


Marketing Innovation


New packaging design and branding – value add products

Open up new markets, Increase sales and meet customer needs


Financial Innovation




New funding platform – cost of capital, flexibility, transactional capability, reporting.

Reduce costs and improve profitability.  Capture marketing or investment opportunities.


Organisational innovation


Improve knowledge and skills and undertaking new training courses


Learn from the successes and failures of other innovators



Access to finances as the catalyst for new innovations and higher profitability

FY15 has commenced.  Strategize, plan and execute an innovative initiative into this year’s program and be rewarded for your efforts.  Businesses must continually evolve on the margin to compete and remain profitable in lieu of the global economic currents that forever change the operating landscape of your business.