Global supply chain ties strengthened on ‘Q’ Geelong tour

PRIDING itself on its strong relationships throughout the global supply chain, Quality Wool has further enhanced these close-knit ties on a recent fact-finding trip to Victoria.

A contingent of the ‘Q’ team from South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales paid a three-day visit to Geelong and surrounding districts to tour local scouring and knitting mills, viewing first-hand different processing stages of the raw fibre they market.

For young team members Suzie Carlon, Dale Bowers, James Kellett and Jeremy Dyson, the trip served as a continuation of their Quality Wool youth curriculum through which the quartet are building their trade craft and knowledge.

The first port of call was the EP Robinson scouring and carbonising plant located in the historic Riverside Mill (Newtown, Geelong), where the group was treated to a personal tour by owner Jim Robinson.

The Quality Wool team observed the intricate scouring and carbonising process applied to greasy wool fleeces direct from the farm, as well as tracing the company’s supply chain – not only providing white wool that fills doonas and quilts for Australian bedding companies, but also the natural wool grease that becomes sought-after lanolin cream.

Switching from processing to manufacturing, the tour then moved to Melton (35 km west of Melbourne) and the state-of-the-art ABMT Textiles mill.

After initially receiving the wool in yarn form, ABMT manufacture a large variety of circular knitted fabrics for domestic and global brands including Under Armour, Adidas and Kookai.

Guided by the company’s Global Sales Manager Julian Collins, the group saw the full scope of the mill’s knitting, dyeing and finishing processes as well as in-house design and development.

The ABMT site also includes a full five-stage water treatment plant, meaning up to 85% of water is able to be reused, either back through the manufacturing process or via third party recycled water programs for agriculture parklands and industry.

The final stop on the tour was Quality’s wool store and show floor in North Geelong, where the young ‘Q’ team members met buyers as well as taking part in a hands-on session with Showfloor Manager Peter Ryan identifying the characteristics of wool on offer in the season-opening M01 sale.

Initially relocating from the Melbourne wool stores to Geelong in 2012, Quality Wool handles all its wool internally in addition to owning the property and showfloor space, containing costs and minimising service charges for buyers.