A house brick which was accidentally uncovered from a bale of wool last week before processing stages has sparked a timely reminder there is no room for complacency in a booming market.
Speaking to Fairfax Ag Media, CEO of Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) Mark Graves said after receiving the information and photos from a processor they were very quick to use the incident as an example by posting it on the AWEX Facebook page.
“The communication links between the processor, AWEX, to the grower and the classer is very short and very responsive,” Mr Graves said.
“Everybody needs to be aware that the industry does communicate often, and with issues like this, that are hard to explain at best, for every action there will be a consequence.”
Mr Graves said that consequence, from the processor’s side, is that it could have cost then tens of thousands of dollars in damage to machinery.
Fortunately the brick fell from the bottom of the bale as it was being lifted before the wool went into the hopper (scouring of wool begins with sorting the fleece and feeding it to a hopper).
Alarmingly, the brick only narrowly missed hitting a wool processing staff member.
Mr Graves said AWEX have no knowledge as to how far back along the supply chain it went.
“The processors made us aware of it because of the obvious contamination risk and the obvious risk to them in terms of their machinery,” Mr Graves said.
“We are using this incident as an example and why people cannot become complacent.
“We are looking at prices we haven’t seen before in the wool market.
“It means from a classer, wool handler, to the grower – everybody along the supply chain - they should be more vigilant.
“Had it not been noticed, or been in the middle of the bale and not tipped out at that point could have been quite expensive for everyone concerned.”
Mr Graves said they did not know who the grower was or what action has been taken, but it will be taken back to the appropriate channels.
He said AWEX’s first course of action is to go to the wool classer.
“We have responsibilities with regard to the classer to understand exactly how did this happen because that person with the stencil on the bale is accountable,” Mr Graves said.
“We follow these things up on numerous occasions, not just contamination, but poor performance in classing – where something does not meet the expectations of the buyer or the processor – that’s our role and our responsibility.
“Clearly this is not good business. Anything that potentially causes harm to the reputation of Australian wool is the bigger concern and the bigger consequence.”
Clearly this is not good business