Zespri has selected Deloitte as its design and implementation partner for the kiwifruit cooperative's Horizon transformation programme after a competitive tender.
The programme, reported by Reseller News last month, was expected to cost up to $160 million over four years, chair Bruce Cameron told investors today.
Cameron said Horizon was an important investment and had been designed to modernise the foundations of its business processes and systems.
This would help the coop to become more agile and efficient, allow it to continue to support the growth of the industry and help to ensure it continued to deliver stronger returns to growers.
"We will be working with Deloitte over the next four years, with the project scope focused on modernising our systems and processes in finance, grower enablement, supply chain, sales processes and systems, and digitisation of sales and operations planning processes and systems," said Cameron.
Deloitte will be leading a New Zealand-based consortium that combined expertise from SAP specialist Zag and Sysdoc.
"Modernising the processes and internal systems that enable us to get our premium Zespri kiwifruit to customers and consumers in over 50 countries worldwide is crucial to being able to continue delivering strong returns to our growers and communities," Cameron said.
"Our investment reflects the confidence we have in the future of our industry."
The Horizon programme would help deliver greater operating efficiency and effectiveness for "decades to come", Cameron said.
Horizon was being funded within the limits of Zespri's current funding model and through "prudent financial discipline and economies of scale".
"Each phase of the programme requires a detailed business case and justification and we expect to be able to communicate details on the investment amount following the completion of high-level design at the end of this year," Cameron said.
"For guidance, the programme will be implemented over four years with investment expected to be in the range of approximately $30 million to $40 million a year, should the business case and justification for each phase be approved by the board."
Zespri spends around $10 million to $15 million a year now to maintain its existing digital systems.
Zespri’s approach to the project prioritises the development of solutions to modernise supply chain and finance processes and systems.
Some of the coop's systems were now 20 years old and were designed to support a much smaller industry, fewer varieties and a smaller market footprint, Zespri said in its latest "Kiwiflier" newsletter to growers.
"As part of our planning for these replacement systems, we also know there are other digital platforms we use such as Canopy and Spray Diary that are also overdue for investment to make them fit for purpose, easy to use and able to continue delivering value," the article said.
Gareth Glover, consortium lead and Deloitte Technology partner, said the consortium would draw on global experts with deep domain and industry expertise from other parts of the world.
"We will however, stay grounded in who we are – a consortium of local practitioners who are invested in the success of one of our nation’s most iconic brands,” he said.
Cameron said the project would define the future of Zespri and have a considerable impact on both the industry, and the New Zealand economy.
"It builds on the considerable investment being made by industry partners, and we look forward to continuing to engage with the industry and our growers as we get underway."