The demise of Westland as a cooperative contains a lesson for all business, says Roz Henry, the new Cooperative Business NZ chief executive.
A drop in butter prices has forced the co-op to revise its predicted 2018-19 payout range to $6.50/kgMS to $6.90/kgMS.
Four months ago, the co-op was predicting a payout range of $6.75 to $7.20.
Westland chairman Pete Morrison says the revised forecast payout “is in line with other milk processors”.
Chief executive Toni Brendish says Westland was now implementing its new five-year strategy, the key to which is milk segregation, and the continual focus on improving internal systems and process, which were now starting to deliver results.
“During the 2017-18 season we proved our ability to identify, separately collect and process milk with key characteristics that carry significantly more value in the market place and return increased premiums.
“We’re working with Southern Pastures to produce grass-fed milk to a set of very high standards that include strict environmental, animal welfare, feed management, soil and water management and other criteria that will set this milk apart.
“Our comparatively smaller processing plant gives us the flexibility to produce nutritional products for very specific niche markets with increasing global demand. Other types of speciality milk will also soon be available,” she says.