How might we allow Australian wool to be bought and sold online?
In March 2020 COVID hit Australian shores. The social distancing restrictions brought about by the pandemic meant that alternative wool selling methods were urgently needed.
In early April, the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, asked market participants to: “please consider if their livestock saleyards and wool auctions can be held online, remotely, deferred or be cancelled to do so.”
Working with AWI, WoolQ and a broad range of industry participants, including brokers and buyers, LEVO co-designed and built an online auction platform to enable Woolgrowers and their Brokers to sell their wool on-line. Since the April 2020 launch, WoolQ has conducted regular auctions and 2,700 woolgrowers have signed up to use the tool.
The WoolQ trading platform is an extension of the previously developed WoolQ - woolgrower management platform created by LEVO in consultation with many industry representatives.
Australia is the largest wool producer in the world, with an estimated raw wool value of $3.6B in 2018/191. A fundamental part of Australia’s economic identity since British colonization, little had changed in the process of producing and selling wool to Australia, and the world, for over 100 years. Triggered by the findings of the Wool System Selling Review, Australian Wool Innovation engaged LEVO in 2017. This 18-month long partnership delivered a digital evolution of the wool supply chain, from shearing shed to ship’s rail; creating greater efficiencies, competitive tension and improved transparency to the great benefit of over 40,000 Australian woolgrowers.
We had an ambitious vision for the WEP. We wanted to empower farmers with more decision-making power in the selling process. Before they’d been beholden to the industry; unable to track their products’ journey through the sales pipeline, or succinctly access historical data, and could only sell through one market or private treaty. We knew we could change this, but we needed a partner that could help us on the journey.WIll Wilson, WoolQ Chair
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is a not-for-profit company that invests in R&D and marketing along the global supply chain for Australian wool – from woolgrowers through to retailers. AWI is well-known as the owner of The Woolmark Company and Woolmark logo – the world-renowned textile fibre brand – which has been applied to more than five billion products since its creation in 19642.
In October 2014, the AWI commissioned the Wool System Selling Review (WSSR) conducted by an independent group of thought leaders. The result of this process was the major recommendation of an online Wool Exchange Portal (WEP) which would revolutionise the way woolgrowers tracked, monitored, promoted and sold their wool asset.