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Jenkins Group takes 50 percent stake in CR Automation

Leading fresh fruit labelling and packing innovator Jenkins Group – which has a significant presence in the Bay’s horticulture sector – has taken a 50 percent stake in Hawkes Bay-based CR Automation (CRA), an award-winning automation and control systems manufacturer.

The two companies say they are coming together to deliver a range of automation services to post-harvest operators across Australasia who want to enhance efficiency, meet compliance needs and overcome labour shortages.

Jenkins Group and CRA have collaborated on a number of projects in the past.

Managing director of Jenkins Group, Tony Sayle, said the combination of skills, products and services that the two organisations will now provide will be game-changing for the horticultural industry.

Jenkins Group is a key industry player throughout Australasia’s horticulture post-harvest industry with subsidiaries in New Zealand and Australia (Tauranga-based Jenkins Freshpac Systems Ltd and NSW-based J-Tech Systems PTY).

The group provides an extensive range of labelling, packaging and handling systems to the fruit and vegetable industry across both countries.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) and automation are clear requirements for our horticulture sector to excel and thrive in a global economy and soar through its ambitious target of being a $10 billion industry by 2020.”
– Tony Sayle

“The Internet of Things (IoT) and automation are clear requirements for our horticulture sector to excel and thrive in a global economy and soar through its ambitious target of being a $10 billion industry by 2020,” said Sayle.

“Jenkins Group Ltd has a long history of innovation and we have decided to invest in CRA to bring together our existing pack-line automation solutions with the cutting-edge integration and line management capability that CRA are renowned for delivering across Australasia and around the world.

Labour and compliance challenges

Sayle said the new partnership would provide industry-leading produce handling capability to a post-harvest industry screaming out for efficiencies and solutions to its labour supply woes and escalating compliance needs.

Product security, authenticity and traceability are becoming vital elements of the supply chain, he said.

“CR Automation are a world- class developer and provider of automation and control systems,” said Sayle.

“We’re impressed by their engineering capacity, and our horticultural clients will certainly benefit from their services and products. Together we intend to lead the field across post-harvest produce handling, FMCG production automation and municipal asset monitoring.”

CRA’s services encompass the food and beverage industry, water and wastewater, materials handling, cool storage, meat and wool processing and general manufacturing.

“We wanted a partner founded on similar ideals who could also provide market access beyond our existing client base.”
– Peter Richards

Their capabilities range from machine safety through to electrical and software engineering, industrial IT, robotics and project management.

Earlier this year they won the “Most Innovative Solution” award for ABB robotics at the ASIA Value Provider Conference 2019.

CRA managing director Peter Richards said the 18 year-old tech company had experienced exponential growth over the past three years and was looking for an equity partner who could help sustain that growth and ensure longevity.

“We wanted a partner founded on similar ideals who could also provide market access beyond our existing client base,” said Richards.

He noted that  Jenkins Group was a family-owned company with 136 years of success behind it.

“They are very client-focused and trade with a high level of integrity.

“Jenkins are across the industry challenges and want to provide solutions by extending their service offering, so CR Automation will be delighted to help them do just that.

“We’re excited about what the future holds as the potential of both companies is realised through this new equity partnership.”

David Porter
David Porter
Editor, Bay of Plenty Business News. Email: editor@bopbusinessnews.co.nz

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