Dale Bisset, Auspork's production manager, recognized the need to increase throughput and efficiency on the production line to keep it future-ready. He began searching for a portioning solution that didn't compromise on end-product presentation quality. "I'd tried many different portioning machines, but I wasn't happy with the results. They were all too rough and would damage the meat." One Friday night, sitting at home sifting through YouTube videos, Dale came across a video of the Marel I-Cut 130 portioning whitefish. Fish has soft flesh, so when Dale saw the I-Cut 130 cutting it cleanly without damaging the meat, he realized this could be the machine he needed. Further investigation revealed that the widely used I-Cut 130 Portion Cutter had an excellent reputation. He reached out to Geoff Stone at Marel, Australia, and the partnership began.
From a need to a necessity
Auspork's retail-ready portfolio includes around 80 SKUs of beef, pork, chicken and lamb, all prepared and packed in a single facility. With the production line being so varied but not very big, every piece of equipment needs to be well suited to its task and provide clear value to the production line. Seeing the I-Cut 130 on videos is one thing, but Geoff wanted Dale to feel confident it was the best solution for Auspork. They organized a trip to Tasmania where Dale could see the machine in person. He was convinced, "As good as the machine looked in the videos, seeing one in action blew me away. I just knew we had to get one."
Not long later COVID hit, and the company faced restrictions that had severe consequences on production. Suddenly the need for the I-Cut 130 became a necessity.
With only 63% of staff allowed on the floor at any one time, coupled with a 20% increase in customer demand, Dale says the company was "headbutting the wall wondering why we hadn't followed through with the deal quicker." Around this time, Geoff called to check in. Dale calls it serendipity, "he heard the issues we were having and said, you know we've got one of them sitting in Brisbane." They completed the deal there and then.