The main thing at the lockdown was full shelves

The main thing at the lockdown was full shelves

With another high turnover of 269.8 million euros and cheese sales of 51170 tons in 2019, milchwerke oberfranken west can once again look back on a successful and stable business year. Equity was again strengthened, future-oriented investments were made, the share of specialties was further increased, and a milk price was paid that was comparatively above average in germany.

And just at the beginning of the week, there was another piece of positive news. In the NDR market test of grillkase, milchwerke oberfranken west was way ahead with its grill-taler. Ludwig weib, managing director of milchwerke oberfranken west, was able to present this summary to suppliers and members at the general meeting.

After all, the company’s sales have risen since it was founded from 56.8 million euros in 1992 to 269.8 million now. The best guarantee for this development, according to weib, is the investment in machinery, equipment and buildings, which amounts to around five million euros a year – a total of 117.3 million euros since 1992. The milk plants are in an excellent position and will be able to maintain their place on the world market.

World market is unpredictable

However, because of its unpredictable and nervous development, the company is working hard to further reduce its export share. In 2019, export sales amounted to 64.1 million euro, domestic sales to 205.7 million euro. "Third-country markets", so women "are a bitch to deal with, you can "t count on it."

Registration, limited number of participants, mouth-nose protection, hand disinfection and no honorary guests: in this period marked by the corona pandemic, both the general assembly itself was unusual, not only in terms of the timing at the end of august, but also in the circumstances of the event. Because in march, sales growth skyrocketed – for milk as well as for cheese, butter or margarine. He had never experienced anything like it, said ludwig weib, and he spoke of the hysteria about buying and stockpiling that had prevailed a few months ago.

The hit of the summer

There was hardly any compliance, and the coarse retail chains did not even care in which cartons the cheese was delivered, the main thing was that the shelves were full of. The coburg grillkase in its variations had developed as the hit of the summer. Corona had also presented the company with major internal challenges. Weib mentioned, among other things, staggered shift times to minimize encounters, distance markings throughout the plant, quarantines for vacation returnees from risk areas, an additional break room, mouth protection even in non-sensitive areas, housing checks for temporary workers, home office. Some export markets have collapsed and domestic demand has exploded. The import tariffs imposed by the USA had taken their toll, as had the confusion surrounding the brexit, which continues to cause concern. Weib sums up: "but overall, the balance sheet looks good. And we have also passed this on to the suppliers in the form of the milk price." This price is still higher than the average price in germany. The managing director went on to explain: "this has been made possible by a higher degree of refinement and continuous investment."

"Erika" makes backcamemberts

Particular success stories are the rice kase, for which a fourth line is currently being built, and the baking and grilling kase, of which 500 tons more have been sold. For backcamembert, he said, "erica" is the a press has been purchased that can print 14,000 copies per hour.

What worries chairman harald reblitz is the declining number of suppliers from 769 to 1. January 2019 to 735 at the end of the year. 34 milk producers from the supplier area of bavaria, thuringia and hesse have ceased production during this period. And unfortunately, according to reblitz, this trend is continuing. Currently, there are only 719 suppliers. The milk plan runs until the end of 2022. "Hopefully there will be no structural break here." Weib underlined where the journey is going with another figure: more than half of the suppliers deliver 90 percent of the milk volume.

This year, the dairy plants will once again be investing heavily. New investments of 7.1 million euros planned for 2020 and 2021. This involves automations and expansions at the case production and packaging facilities. The better utilization and the increase in the volume of speciality cheeses, said weib, gave hope that the milk price would continue to be stable, even if there were still many unknowns on the world markets and in the current pandemic situation.