Members of the Fleet Logistic Support Element - Submarines based at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia recently revamped their approach to “breaking down fresh” victuals by working with local supplier In2Food to improve packaging options.
Looking to minimise cardboard packaging and waste, the members visited In2Food at Market City to learn about the steps involved from growing the fruit to packaging and distribution and completing customer orders.
The team discussed an innovative approach to the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Paul Graham said that by working together both Navy and In2Food improved business outcomes by rethinking the way they were doing business.
“There is so much waste both in packaging and in time with the double handling of fresh provisions to the submarines,” Petty Officer Graham said.
“We realised we needed to find a smarter way to work when breaking down the fresh produce and be more efficient.
“By having In2Food package the produce in Navy’s recyclable and stackable plastic boxes the amount of cardboard boxes and plastic waste has been reduced to nil, thus saving room and weight on the submarine, and hours of double handling.
“A task that used to take us four hours now only takes 30 minutes,” he said.
“When the stores are received the truck delivers the fresh produce straight to the wharf where the forklift transports the stores directly to the submarine where it is stored.”
Personnel from Fleet Logistic Support Element - Submarines and the Main Galley also had the opportunity recently to visit the Galati Group’s Spud Shed farms south of Perth where all the harvesting and processing takes place.
There they were able to see the handling of the fresh fruit and vegetables at the processing property where Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Cook - Submariner Jamie Dibble noted that the machines used to harvest the produce in large quantities resulted in surprisingly little to no damage to the produce.
“We were shown the harvesting machines and learnt about Galati’s harvesting practices that are so specialised that they cause minimal damage,” Able Seaman Dibble said.
“We discussed water management and bore water and then had the opportunity to have a tour around the packing and onion shed.”
After doing some of their own harvesting with plenty of the fresh vegetables, the team from Stirling left with a new appreciation and understanding of the process the fresh produce goes through from the farm to the galley.