I love the following quote from General Eric Shinseki of the U.S. Army: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” What is he saying? We’ve got to keep up with change! Be like the Boy Scouts, who are always ready to – “Improvise, Adapt, & Overcome!” Every producer has lots of new challenges: Higher Feed Expenses, Rising Insurance Costs, and more Government Regulations. We are in a constantly changing industry environment where decisions we made five years ago are not necessarily as effective as they previously were. It is time for each of us to take back the reins of the decision-making process and adopt a more proactive approach moving forward. Management consultant Peter Drucker stated that, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Yes, you’re saying, but how can I do that, since I’m a “Price Taker” when it comes to my milk price, and under the present circumstances? I’ll tell you how – get out from under those circumstances. Change your thinking. Alter your approach. It has been said that if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting…I contend that simply may not be true. In some cases, your results could be worse! So, what do we need to do?
- Embrace change as you encounter it. Of course, we all like the familiarity of our normal day-to-day processes. At times, I am guilty of this, too. However, when things are changing as rapidly as they are in the dairy industry today, we run the risk of getting “run over” if we simply stand still.
- You are thinking that you just finished restructuring your bank debt and have most of your vendor payables caught up (hopefully). You’re asking: “Can’t I stop and take a break?” My advice: Do so at your own risk.
Take the time to check all of your efficiency measures, and I do not mean just your costs/cwt. These are important, but be sure to look closely at other measures such as cows milked/hour, pounds of milk shipped/full time worker, the average age of your first lactation females at calving, and feed efficiency (pounds of energy corrected milk/pounds of dry matter fed). Improving these items could save your business. Think about it!