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Knowledge and Timing – the key to success!

by 5m Editor
17 July 2006, at 12:00am

By PIC International - I have come to believe that success in business is all about KT – knowledge and timing. Supermarket loyalty cards are a good example. They gained good information on consumers to target products accordingly. Customers were able to get what they wanted when they wanted it.

The first cards were introduced at a time when retail outlets were moving into a very competitive phase – so first in the field got the advantage. Knowledge and timing may be a useful approach for considering future requirements of the UK Pig Industry. As a smaller industry, we should be able to respond more rapidly to changing market requirements and if, through better understanding of the detail of individual businesses, we could focus on controlling costs of production, we could be very competitive indeed. Knowledge of what our downstream customers value would also help us position UK pigmeat as the product of choice, rather than having to compete as a commodity against cheaper imports. So success is all about knowledge and timing.

Our initial focus is on reducing costs of production. On the pig unit, knowledge is still the key – if you don’t record it you can’t control it and we need to be thinking detail. What is the value of early growth compared to growth in the finishing house? Will higher conformation provide benefits for the complete pork chain?

What is the value of improved consistency? We need to consider the relative value of different options as they affect the whole supply chain, decide on targets for improvement and then manage the changes required. In terms of efficiency, our European competitors operating similar systems don’t necessarily have better knowledge but they do apply attention to detail. Our attention to detail needs to be as good or better!

It is important that we share good ideas - tailoring them to different circumstances. Improving health is a key issue for the industry. Several large businesses have opted for a continual restocking programme so that improved health will lower costs of production. To gain the benefits long-term, they are prepared to restock regularly in a controlled way. Why don’t groups of independent producers consider adopting the same strategy - using shared access to a gilt mating unit? Commitment is needed, but think of the benefits. Let’s take the initiative and be innovative.

We also need to think ahead to add value for our customers. We cannot always assume that we will get paid for improvements in meat quality such as improvements in pH ultimate. However, if we start improving quality at minimal, or no cost, we will be targeting customer loyalty and making the UK product more competitive. We need to make the UK product the product of choice. To get the timing right on this one, we need to be planning now.

Correct timing in genetics is more challenging. When it takes three to five years to make significant changes, we need to be working closely with the market in order to plan ahead. We can sometimes take advantage of products already developed for other markets, such as robust progeny and improved growth (PIC 327 and PIC 337) which are now of interest to the UK market. These products can help us quickly reduce costs of production – but individual management systems need reviewing to make sure producers maximise the potential of these products.

PIC is already planning the next development. We need to think of genetics as a continual pipeline to new opportunities - if we are in a position to make good use of them. So let’s focus on knowledge and timing as the priorities for adding value throughout the supply chain. Working together, I believe we can minimise the risks, take advantage of getting the timing right and be ahead of our competitors. Let’s think KT.

Source: PIC UK - June 2006