Dr Eckel modern nutrition for food-producing animals
by Tom Blacker, Milling and Grain magazine
ith 20 years of experience and a multi-award winning track record for both leadership and innovation, Dr Eckel GmbH is one of the most widely regarded companies in the global animal nutrition sector. Managing Director and founder, Dr Antje Eckel set up the company from her very own home in 1994. She remains the sole shareholder, and the company has continued to grow ever since it began life in 1994. Dr Eckel GmbH reported a turnover of approximately €24 million in 2014, with a market share of approximately 25 percent in this particular processing segment in Germany. All own-brand ‘Dr Eckel’ products are produced on the company’s single site in Neiderzissen, Germany and are exported around the world to an international customer base. I visited the company with fellow Milling and Grain colleagues (Tuti Tan, Roger Gilbert, Ivan Marquetti and Darren Parris) where Dr Antje herself greeted us for a detailed tour of the company premises.
Key development steps
The growth that the company has undergone in recent times is evidenced by the expansion of its buildings and office space. In 2003, the company’s main offices were constructed. In 2005, the warehouse was constructed and began stocking products and in 2009 the large-scale production unit began. By last year, demand saw a further floor extended in the office. A remaining legacy that reflects the development dating from this time is that of a former wooden pre-fabricated office. It now fulfills a great role for on-site seminars, and as meeting room for customers, distributors and staff. This provides a useful facility and service, in the heart of the scenic German Rhineland. One thing of particular note was the beautiful pond 70 | Milling and Grain
next to the company’s office. It is a key example of how a conscious engagement with the environment and the overall environmental credentials of the company cannot be ignored. In every section of the Dr Eckel premises, the quality and standards were impeccably and impressively high. All machines, parts in the production facility and materials were of the best quality. Dr Antje herself said that she tours the production facilities once a week as part of the oversight procedures. The production tower has three floors above the ground floor, which is quite a landmark in the vicinity. There are delivery doors and a control centre. The systems can be controlled from iPads if necessary. Audits are carried out for the requirements of customers. On average, 20 tonnes of animal feed products are produced each shift, on average twice each day.
Quality is a constant
The investment made in hardware, science, research and staff has undoubtedly lead to the building of its reputation in the market place. Its four colour-coded categories act as a theme through its product portfolio for the pig, poultry and ruminants sectors: performance, health, protection and function. As Dr Antje says on the matter, “Our customers asked for a simple and straightforward system to target specific challenges, simply and effectively. We listened and created an innovative specific target group orientated system. “It will make things more efficient and facilitate the selection of just the right additive. In a complex and constantly evolving market such as the animal feed market, this development is crucial. It is reassuring to know that the solutions are much easier to find now.”