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DECEMBER 2009

First Milk News

Message from Bill Mustoe

I

have been your Chairman for seven weeks and without doubt the world of dairy has been a steep learning curve for me. So far, I have presented to over 700 members as part of the meetings we did around the country, and probably talked one-on-one to over 100 members during that period. Even with my limited understanding of the dairy industry, I know that we are off the pace right now on milk price. Let me talk about what we are doing to improve this situation. The No.1 focus is our cheese business. At last count we have 16 projects at various stages of development that will improve our

profitability. However, we are not ignoring the rest of First Milk. We also have a number of project streams aimed at reducing costs or delivering new profit streams within our raw milk and ingredients operations. While we have made a good start over the last few weeks, we can and must do more. I have got the Board and the Executive team together at the end of this week to come up with more ideas to substantially improve the quality of our earnings. We need to be imaginative and open up our minds to ideas for driving the business forward outside the constraints of our current business model. In terms of managing costs, we've tightened up and stopped discretionary spend where we can by scrutinising all costs. I look at this very simply. Every pound the business spends is a pound that we can't pay out to you. I said in the November newsletter that I wanted the Farmer Directors to get closer to the business and spend more time with the Executive team. I am happy to say that each of the farmer directors has stepped up to this challenge and I believe that we will get better debates at the Board and therefore better decision-making as a result of this linkage. A significant number of members have told me that they are supportive of my plan to reduce the number of

Communications Update "We need to be imaginative and open our minds up to ideas"

elected farmer directors on the Board and co-opt farmer members with proven business acumen onto the Board. We are looking at ways to do this within the rules of First Milk, but rest assured that we will make these changes as quickly as possible. What we are doing right now is not sexy. We are working hard across a host of areas to grind out better net margins. But I know from other businesses I have been involved with that if you have a clear direction and deliver against set objectives, the relative position of a business will definitely improve. I wish you and your families well over the festive season.

Welcome to the first online edition of StraightTalk. In the November newsletter, we outlined our proposal to increase the speed and breadth of our communication with members, while minimising costs. This means that instead of relying almost exclusively on printed materials like letters, newsletters and flyers, we will be using a range of communication channels to ensure that members hear news about the business first. Our chairman Bill Mustoe recorded a voice message for members earlier this month. This proved popular with several hundred members calling to hear the message. From January, he will record a message each month. Having listened to feedback from members and local representatives for a shorter, sharper newsletter, we have reduced this publication from eight pages to four. This will be supplemented with a weekly news bulletin to keep you regularly updated on business information and UK/global dairy industry news. The first bulletin will be available on the ‘News’ section of the members' website on Friday 8 January. In order to support these changes, we will be making greater use of text messaging, email and the ‘News’ section of the members' website, which we will develop over the next couple of months. We will keep you updated on progress.

To ensure that you are kept up to date, please inform membership services of any changes or updates to your contact details by emailing membershipservices@firstmilk.co.uk or calling 0141 847 6800.

Pictured above: Mark McQuade receives the ‘Supplier of the Year’ award.

First Milk Awarded Wiseman ‘Supplier of the Year’

W

e have been awarded Wiseman Dairies ‘Supplier of the Year’ in recognition of the professionalism, responsiveness and capability of our sales team. This accolade recognises excellence across the Wiseman Dairies supplier base. Previous winners include the Clydesdale Bank who has worked with Wiseman for over 60 years and Isoma, who has designed and developed much of the machinery for the filling lines at the company’s dairies. First Milk Executive Director, Mark McQuade, said: "We have worked hard to understand the needs of the Wiseman business as it has evolved over the years. We are delighted to have won this award and it is testament to the quality of our members milk and the hard work, flexibility and dedication of our sales team."

Final Straight Talk Dec  

Final Straight Talk Dec

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