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Peter Trefort

HILLSIDE is a co-founding partner of the supply chain alliance known as WA Q Lamb, which has been recognised as the most successful supply chain alliance “from paddock to plate” in the Australian lamb industry. Hillside’s involvement with Q Lamb has enabled Peter Trefort to build strong relationships with producer suppliers and customers by putting a focus on quality rather than price. Gaining export registration in 2001 was the start of a significant expansion for the abattoir. It has since developed strong market growth in Australia and around the world in places such as Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, Japan and Mauritius. Hillside’s greatest challenge came in 2002-2003 when Western Australian producers were affected by drought. Many areas of the business experienced the fall-out, especially stock levels, which reduced production on a daily basis, in turn increasing the labour component of the cost per unit of production. Hillside managed to push through this difficult time and become stronger as a result. The major lesson Mr Trefort learnt was to anticipate and react quickly to a looming bad situation before seeing the signals. The secret to Hillside’s alliance has been to make sure it sold not just lamb, but lamb with a guarantee. This claim is evidenced in the vigorous quality control procedures the company undertakes, including strenuous on-farm trials. In addition, Hillside has gone ‘online’ and developed an electronic feedback system to allow producers to monitor quality. Mr Trefort believes his workforce is his biggest asset, and they are valued. “Without your workers you are nothing,” he said.

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