QCONZ celebrates 20 years in business

Date: February 2020

For the past two decades the auditing work of QCONZ has been helping New Zealand’s primary industry build an international reputation for sustainable, ethical and safe food production. As a result, many dairy processing companies in New Zealand are now well-placed to meet the growing demands of high-end overseas markets – where consumers will pay a premium for proof of provenance and traceability.

Our journey started when the government opened the door in the early 1990s to allow private companies to audit dairy farmers alongside the then, Ministry of Agriculture. Peter Wood, who was working privately in the dairy industry saw this as a golden opportunity. Peter recruited Murray Pedley and Josh Wheeler, who instinctively understood that food processors would always need auditing services and that good auditing services would increasingly be in demand.

Reflecting on when the company was first started in 1999, the team really just saw a great business opportunity in one of New Zealand’s fast expanding areas – the dairy industry.

At the time, we pitched for quite a large auditing contract for the NZ Dairy Group and won it. We quickly pulled together a team to service the client. Our promise was based around offering a quality, customer-focused auditing service so we built a company with quality as the inherent thread and named it Quality Consultants of New Zealand to drive the point home.

Now with a team of over 30 qualified assessors across the North Island, the business incorporates looking after small, medium and large scale farmers and suppliers, as well as several significant food processing operations. We look at risk management and ensure compliance across a range of dairy, poultry and fertiliser manufacturing and spreading clients – and we are pursuing interest from the sheep and beef sector. A major part of our work involves our technical capability. We have developed bespoke digital solutions for robust quality assurance within the primary sector. Our electronic data systems make auditing so much more accessible and user-friendly for the client.

In 2010, the company expanded offshore – opening an office in Victoria, Australia and an office in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, employing a total of 28 people. Josh Wheeler, who is responsible for assisting the Brazil team in committing to continuous improvement and innovation, says the dairy industry there is significant; “Having an office in Belo Horizonte puts QCONZ on the map in South America and helps those businesses at the forefront of the dairy sector really take the lead.”

Here in New Zealand, the auditing scope has broadened over the past 20 years, and still continues to do so as the world wants more. To meet demand, QCONZ has continually extended its services. We now also audit biosecurity, animal care, sustainability and environmental impact programmes. And that’s before we even begin to discuss our training and IT offerings.

Looking to the future, we have no doubt the auditing world will continue to focus on food quality and safety as consumer’s expectations for greater visibility and transparency grow, but if the prize is safer food, healthy products, better animal welfare and less environmental impact then we believe few will argue.

Other news

Believed to be a world first, a new training programme focusing on the benefits of animal wellbeing has been developed by QCONZ in collaboration with UCOL, Fonterra and DairyNZ.

The Fonterra ‘All things milking’ workshop was held in Pongakawa last week and prior to that in Waihi for local dairy farmers.

QCONZ has been successful in our bid to be an approved audit agency for the NAIT accreditation programme assessment which launched this week.

Ko Tatou – This is us – Biosecurity 2025 Biosecurity is important to our business, our sector, farmers, and farming communities and to the overall economy of New Zealand. A proactive approach to biosecurity is good business risk management. It is also part of caring for the communities we live and work in.

On 31st January Josh Wheeler (QCONZ) and Nick Dowson (BOP Dairy Farmer) began their journey to cycle New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff!  This is no mean feat!

Josh Wheeler was invited to speak at a SMASH Fielday in Taranaki this month where he shared helpful pointers to assist farmers with mastitis management and milking efficiency, including demonstrating the benefits of milking by time and MaxT.

Another QCONZ IT development is near completion!  

QCONZ is leading the way with animal wellbeing training set to launch in Autumn 2022. 

QCONZ is excited to announce the appointment of Mark Neal as an independent Director to our Board.

We are pleased to announce that QCONZ will be helping deliver a ‘Reducing Strains and Sprains’ project co-funded by ACC and DairyNZ.