Open, critical, analytical, visionary – those words provide a brief summary of the representatives’ meeting. There was plenty of straight talk in Hannover’s Congress Centre on June 19, from the representatives to the supervisory board, the executive board and business management alike. Speaking for the management, Ingo Müller promised to do everything possible to raise the milk price to match competitors. “None of us are happy with the current price,” he said. He also acknowledged that the radical organisational changes that were set in motion two years ago were demanding for everyone. But he added that now, the conditions are set to be able to look ahead more optimistically at the future. Those improvements will also help raise the milk price.
Russia and China are growth markets
That’s part of Vision 2030 which describes the group’s target image, and was the subject of much discussion. The aim is to make DMK the first choice for dairy products of natural origin – for always: In Germany, Europe and select growth markets such as Russia, China and Nigeria. “We know what is ahead,” Ingo Müller said. “We are DMK – and now we’re going to attack!” Talk then turned to the individual areas of business at DMK and how they are developing. Chairman Thomas Stürtz reminded listeners that in 2016, the company had to recover from the milk crisis and that it had been completely restructured in the last 24 months. Now, updating supply relationships is important, he said, and the stock-based fixed-price model is central to that. The attendees then listened with interest to the economic data presented by Dr. Klaus Hein. He said that on average over the last year, the average milk price was 33.57 cents per kilo, including all surcharges and minus the dividend. That is in the lower mid-range of what German dairies are paying. “That cannot and must not be our goal,” Dr. Hein said. The cooperative’s management then described the most important topics for the future, including digitisation. This will generate added value for DMK, particularly in terms of sustainability. “We will further develop our digital services for the future and also rethink them,” the director said.
“We have to hear the grass growing”
After paying tribute to the long-standing finance director Volkmar Taucher, listeners were introduced to his successor, Dr. Frank Claassen. He addressed the importance of working faster, more efficiently and more responsively in order to better respond to customer needs and to address mistakes. “We have to literally hear the grass growing,” he said. By the end of the meeting, despite differing opinions, everyone agreed that the measures currently underway serve the goal of making DMK, and every dairy farmer in the cooperative, more successful.
“One challenge is clear to all of us: on the milk price, we have to catch up with our competitors as fast as we can.”
“We are pressing ahead with the organisational changes. As the board, we are looking out for both sides – the company and the farmers alike.”
“Our farms are still seriously affected by the drought and the higher feed price it caused.”
“DMK has defined farming as a central area for digitisation. We are going to rethink digital services.”
Dr. Klaus A. Hein