21 June 2013 www.revista-piata.ro
How would you describe the first part of this year, and which are the main challenges?
For Albalact, the beginning o this year was a very good one. Our turnover increased by 18% in the first quarter, and we managed to preserve profitability. It is a very good result, considering that we are faced with decreasing income in the hands of the population, and a higher VAT rate. All of these are the true challenges for the entire team of our company. Keeping the company profitable is very difficult. Although the saleswoman in me is tempted to achieve stable figures, my responsibility as Business Director is telling me that we must achieve this figures in a profitable manner. This is why we will focus on the categories which generate the highest sales in the period to come. Yogurt and cheese remain in the focus for our company, but we are carefully looking into our portfolio every day, and adapt it to the market needs. The days of cottage cheese are still young, and years will pass before consumers would eventually give up making cheese at home. The cottage cheese market is largely formed, as GfK shows, of home-made, and is similar to the milk market.
I would like now to discuss about Albalact distribution. How much having your own distribution helped things running smoothly?
The business department of Albalact has two important parts: operations and sales. The sales team enlarged by approximately 30%, but the operations side grew with the volumes. Keeping an open relation with the retailers, and living up to our promises are critical for our business. In our meetings with smaller or larger retailers in time, we identified their need of supplier with very good services. Before discussing the benefits and quality of the products, retailers used to be very interested in the servicing side. How many times can you deliver? How fresh are the products? How fast can you act upon my requests? These were the key questions we were asked by retailers all the time. We mapped them, and together managed to have today a premium service level. Our service level is somewhere at more than 96%, and with even reach 98% with some of them. I need to say also that all of this are the result of a joint effort, not the doing of a single department. All departments work in the same direction, and when just one departs from the road, things can get complicated.