Standing in front of the milk powder dryer of Oceania Dairy Limited’s new factory at Glenavy, Shane Lodge has a feeling of deja vu – but with a difference.
Shane’s 30 year career in the dairy industry has seen him involved in new plant construction for Fonterra and New Zealand Dairy Limited. The difference this time, is that Oceania’s owners are Chinese and that is a reflection of the changing face of the global dairy industry.
Rabobank recently released the findings of its annual global dairy survey and Yili Group – owner of Oceania – was named in the top ten companies in the world for the first time. With annual sales growth of 14% in the past year, Yili outperformed many of its peers to move into a top ten position.
Rabobank said that “Yili had derived the vast majority of their expansion over the last five years from organic growth, being a lead player in the rapidly expanding Chinese market.”
Yili Group fully acquired Oceania Dairy Limited in April 2013. It immediately set about constructing the new Glenavy plant with capacity to deliver 47,000 tonnes of infant milk powder per annum at full production.
The ownership change resulted in a new position for Shane Lodge as the Quality and Compliance Manager of Oceania. He has overseen the construction of the Glenavy factory site from grassy land to new plant.
“It has been fascinating to witness the interaction and harmony between people representing the world’s largest milk powder export country and the biggest milk powder consumption country,” he said.
“It has been a huge effort to turnaround the site to a nearly-completed factory in less than two years and this is a great reflection on the new owner.”
Shane has also worked directly with local supply farmers to lock in the contracts for milk that will supply the new factory. The confidence provided by Yili’s ability to absorb local productivity has been a very important aspect of the farmer recruitment process, according to Shane.
“We are very proud to be the earliest supplier for Oceania Dairy Limited ”Aad van Leeuwen said.
“Oceania is establishing a world-class plant here and that provides local farmers with more choice and opportunities.”
“The new factory and its ownership by Yili is a real boost for the local economy,” Aad van Leeuwen emphasised.
A key aspect of Shane Lodge’s role is ensuring that outputs from the new Glenavy factory meet the milk powder specification of both New Zealand and China.
“As the recipient of the outputs from Glenavy, Yili specifies certain standards that are delivered in tandem with the requirements of the industry in New Zealand,” he said.
“The people of China are increasingly wanting access to high quality milk products.
“As the world’s largest milk exporter, New Zealand is ideally positioned to work with China to meet the country’s insatiable demand for milk.
“Demand from China and our ability to respond to it is yet another sign of the changing face of the global dairy industry,” said Shane Lodge.