The beginning of a new year always represents an opportunity for improvement – and this applies to people, companies and, of course, farms. After all, we have 12 months ahead to reach new goals and try to make better everything we are involved in. However, this process of transformation requires planning, something which unfortunately has never been really part of our culture.
In farms, we commonly find people who follow the “on-the-fly planning” practice. People who get their hands dirty, who work very hard and face problems as they appear. The greatest damage caused by this practice is the lack of predictability – every day in the farm is a new surprise, which takes time from managers, results in rework and does not allow people to project the future.
In order to avoid this cascade of problems, we need to think ahead where we want to get, trying to anticipate challenges that may come in our way. In a farm, the best way to build this route is by establishing targets based on the expected production performance, from January 1st to December 31st. These targets will guide activities – in the short, medium and long run – towards the maximum production potential, ensuring business profitability.
However, those who have not outlined the targets for 2016 yet are late! Ideally, these targets should have been set in July last year, when breeding of the animals to be delivered in January this year started. If the manager waits until December or January to set the farm targets, the delay in the process may affect results, with a negative impact on the search for the maximum production potential.
It is essential that planning is part of a routine in the farm, so that the manager dedicates time to define both the targets and the ways to achieve them. This organization is necessary so that we have clarity about all the deadlines to be met so that farm results are positive, reducing losses.
The most important element in the planning process is to set targets that are based on reliable information on the production history of the farm, in addition to industry indicators, so that we can compare this history with the results achieved by farms of the same size and with similar characteristics. The Agriness Best in Pig Production competition is an excellent tool for that, providing a complete benchmark of the industry. It will help you and your team to set targets that are feasible and correspond to reality.
The goal of a good manager will always be to work with proper planning, setting targets and establishing routes, shorter ways between the situation where they are right now and where they want to get. From there, it is much easier to predict how the year will be like at the farm, reducing risks (and unpleasant surprises).
In order to facilitate the follow-up, we suggest that annual targets of the farm as a whole are broken down into weekly targets and, in some cases, targets for different areas in the farm. In this process, it is fundamental that goals are shared with the whole team through visual management tools so that everyone feels engaged.
If this has not been done in your farm, it is time to try to catch up – you can do it! Additionally, you should not forget to set aside some time in your agenda this year for the 2017 planning. The sooner you start, the easier it will be to successfully run your business.
What about you? Have you been working with targets for your farm? Please tell us about it in the comments!