We don’t just want to survive the future, we want to thrive in it. Change is inevitable.
Happy New Year! It is always exciting to start a new year and while there is still quite a bit of uncertainty in the air around the world, we need to start on the front foot. Everything can be overcome in one way or another. No doubt some of you have set yourselves some personal New Years Resolutions…. this is also a good time for all farmers to think about their farming businesses and what they want to achieve this year and in the future.
Change is everywhere
Farming has changed from 10 years ago and even 5 years ago and it will change even more going into the future. And we can’t run away from these changes or hope they won’t happen – they will and the more prepared we are for them and the more systemised our businesses are, the better we will cope with them. Whether we like it or not this is where our businesses need to go.
We have customers
We are in the public eye more than we have been before, consumers are extremely conscious about where their food comes from, yet at the same time even more removed from it and ignorant of it. We need to know and deliver what our consumers and customers want which is something many farmers have never really worried about, it was something dealt with by their processors. And I don’t even need to mention the regulatory and environmental expectations and changes.
Excellence in everything we do
It all seems scary but we can all overcome these challenges if we have our farm businesses set up for the future. We need to lead the way and excel in everything we do. We need to work smarter not harder. We need to do more with less. We need to get better results across the board in all elements – from quality, to output, to people, to profitability, to safety, to animal welfare to environmental sustainability. We need to break our businesses down into all these different elements such as animals, feed, our people, our customers, community engagment, communication, performance, environment, management, sustainability etc and excel across each of these areas. While we have been good at focusing and excelling in one or a few of these areas in the past, today we need to excel across all of them. And some of the areas which have not been a priority in the past eg customers, our people, communication, are becoming essential now.
Lean is helping us to thrive
This is why we are using lean management principles and systems in our business to help us achieve excellence in everything we do. We still have a long way to go – we are definitely not lean yet. But we know we need to do this to not just survive the future but to thrive in it. One of my favourite quotes that is by Leon C. Megginson a Management professor and is based on Darwin’s Origin of Species is “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself”. I think this is spot on when looking at our farming businesses.
All the best for 2022! Let your New Years resolutions be achieved!