Tuesday, 04 April 2023 08:55

New strategy, culture help WMP hit $1b in revenue

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Westland Milk chief executive Richard Wyeth. Westland Milk chief executive Richard Wyeth.

A strategy focusing on high value products and a culture shift among the workforce has guided Chinese-owned Westland Milk Products to hit $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time.

The milestone is a feather in the cap for chief executive Richard Wyeth, who joined the Hokitika-based company two years ago.

Wyeth told Dairy News that as part of it strategy refresh, the company implemented a lot of things to turn several years of losses into a $39m profit last year.

It moved away from infant formula manufacturing and focused on high value products.

Wyeth says a culture shift gave staff freedom to work within the strategy.

"For us this culture shift has been as important as the strategy," he says.

Owned by Yili Group since 2019, Westland Milk's total revenue for 12 months ending December 2022 topped $1.04b.

Farmers who supply the West Coast proessor received a record $9.40/kgMS for their milk in 2022. Westland pays farmers a 10c premium above the forecast Fonterra milk price.

The company's milk payout contributed $35 million into the West Coast and Canterbury economies.

Wyeth says the company's strategy of focusing on high-value product sales, leveraging off the West Coast's reputation as a source of premium dairy products and ingredents, is now paying dividends.

"This is the first time in our company's 85-year history that we have surpassed the $1 billion dollar revenue mark," Wyeth says.

"Having the support of Yili has enabled us to invest in our people and the infrastructure needed to increase production and sales of value-added products." Wyeth says the turnaround in performance is also a result of a well-planned, whole-of-business approach to improve quality, reduce waste, increase sales, improve opportunities for staff and reduce costs of production.

"The biggest contributor to increasing revenue has been our high-value product stratefy and to some extent high global commodity prices but right across the business we have focused on doing everything well.

"Customers willing to pay a premium for high-value products have high standards. We're working with our entire supply chain to ensure we can demonstrate these standards so that our customers can see for themselves the value of our ingredients and products."

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