Back in January we had the pleasure of attending the Oxford Farming Conference as Scholars Sponsored by DHL AgriTeam. DHL of course are a huge worldwide specialist logistic business, recognisable by their famous yellow and red brand that we all see dotted about on vans, lorries and adverts like at the Monaco Grand Prix. They have just started to break in to the farming Industry, Openfield supplying wheat for Hovis bread was a big contract they secured last year and now they have gone on and picked up new contracts across the county and more locally. This year they have taken over logistics for Muntons at Stowmarket with farm collection and then delivery of processed stock away from Stowmarket. They have a proven track record of delivering improved logistic efficiency by applying complex business models and management tools.
We have been very lucky to meet the team and forged a great business relationship and friendship with them and we were delighted to invite them to our farm for a look at how we operate and run our business. During the day we gave them our views on the industry and where it was heading in our eyes as well as a really deep look behind the scenes of our farm. Looking at modern farming, machinery management, crop needs, marketing, wildlife conservation, bio-tech crops, financial management and many other discussions came up in a very enjoyable and interesting day. At the end of the day they have a final summing up which everyone highlights something they have seen or learnt that they will look to use in their own business life, a great idea to round up a day. This for me and Patrick was really interesting to hear, what on earth could a family farm in Suffolk teach DHL? They run a completely different type of business, met and look into so many different businesses vastly bigger than ours really we should be learning more from them. As they went around the table one by one they all explained what they had learnt and would take from the day. A couple of points kept on coming up, what had impressed them the most was our attention to detail. Looking at every decision from the outside in and then researching into that area to find any alternatives or tweaks that we could apply. They said that is exactly what they strive to do, every decision however big or small needs to be made with all information gathered and evaluated. Also they said that something they would definitely be doing was what we had done and regardless of the type of advice we needed we would always go out and take the best advice we could. Even if we had to pay a bit more nine times out of ten we have benefited from this policy by the people or experience that the advisors could then pass or bring to our business. They said this was not always the case in a DHL and sometimes they compromised this due to one thing or another.
It was a very interesting day and we hope that our connections with them will go on for many years and look forward to seeing James, Jason, John, Richard and Angharad soon. BWB