Award-winning sustainable partnership

A PARTNERSHIP between local software developer NGIS and Great Southern Plantations was recognised at the recent Industry and Export Awards. NGIS developed a software solution called ForMS (Forestry Management System) to manage the rapid growth needs of one of the largest public companies in Australia’s agri-business sector in an enviro-nmentally sustainable way. The efforts helped earn the partnership a finalist berth in the 2005 Department of Industry and Resources WA Industry and Export Awards. The awards focus on how technology is implemented not only in the way it benefits the business, but the industry as a whole, as well as the communities that support the sector. Management of pesticides and fertilisers is one advantage of the system according to NGIS managing director and 2002 WA Business News 40under40 winner, Paul Farrell. The system allows Great Southern to manage over 100,000 hectares of the company’s land across the country by allowing the forester to easily view information relating to a particular location including plantation data, environmental conditions, and details of neighbouring and surrounding areas - ensuring no important information is overlooked. "This means Great Southern can now produce, for example, highly detailed maps showing exactly where tasks such as fertilising are taking place, the costs involved with this work order and produce the reports showing compliance with regulations on how fertilisers should be used, through the one centralised system," he said. The solution also won the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards natural resources category. According to Mr Farrell, the software system has delivered significant commercial return for Great Southern as well, helping to increase productivity gains in the order of 230 per cent. Mr Farrell has a background in forestry having previously worked for the Department of Conservation and Land Management. But he said it was his involvement with the 40under40 Awards which introduced him to fellow award recipient Cameron Rhodes, general manager at Great Southern. To win APSEA’s Natural Resource Award, ForMS was judged against a very different set of criteria to that of the WA Industry & Export Awards, demonstrating the varied benefits of the system. ForMS has also attracted expressions of interest from other industries, said Mr Farrell. It is most applicable for those whose business involves complex, multi-site activities, he said.

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