Fletcher International Exports has evolved into what can best be described as one of Australia’s greatest agribusiness success stories.
Founder Roger Fletcher established the business by purchasing mobs of sheep from sale yards and selling them on auction. While much of this private, family-owned business still revolves around lamb and sheep farming and processing, Fletcher has since developed a range of high-quality co-products, ventured into grain exports, and has purchased a company-owned train to assist with logistics.
Fletcher operates from two facilities in Dubbo (New South Wales) and Albany (Western Australia); combined, these plants process up to 90 000 sheep per week. Gabrielle Ryan, Project Manager at Fletchers, says that the industry is privy to various interwoven and uncontrollable factors. “We face ongoing challenges around climate conditions, livestock supply fluctuations, international markets and currencies, competition, geo-political factors and increasing operating costs”,
In addition, the notable increase in the average weight of a sheep carcass meant that Fletcher’s had to evolve to accommodate changing processing demands. Explains Gabrielle: “The more kilograms per animal, the more meat needs to be processed, packaged and refrigerated which in turn requires investment in additional capacity. Adding to this is the rise in ‘quick serve’ restaurants and changes to portion sizes”,
“To accommodate this, we have expanded and upgraded our facilities in terms of processing machinery, chilling, and refrigeration plants - all whilst keeping overheads front of mind.”