Mutu atau mati (quality or die)

13-04-2017

On the 29th of March, the general assembly meeting of KPSP Saluyu Dairy Cooperative situated in Kuningan, West Java, took place. About 300 people attended the event, amongst which were farmer members, board members, supervisors, staff, and various other officials of the local government.Business advisor Bram Maurits was present at this meeting to hold a presentation on the partnership between Saluyu and Agriterra and the goals we plan to accomplish together in the coming years.

During the meeting, there was an overall level of positive excitement and optimism noticeable. 

''In my presentation I once again highlighted the three key pillars of Agriterra – governance, financial management and business development – and emphasized the importance of continually growing in these three fundamentals. To further inspire KPSP, I also mentioned the achievement they had in being voted as the best performing client of Agriterra Indonesia. Just as I was amused and surprised by this revelation during the team summit in the Netherlands last December, it was also taken up with a lot of surprise as well as delight by the audience.  While Saluyu still cannot claim to be the client with the highest turnover, they have proven to be very open to new ideas and business practices. 

As I got off the stage and walked back to my seat, a hilarious thing happened. I was asked to deliver a number of shovels as lucky prizes to a group of farmers. I am an avid reader of history and as I handed out the shovels wrapped in brown paper bags, I couldn't help but fantasize that I was arming a group of peasants. A first step, perhaps, on the long journey towards an agrarian revolution.

But back to serious matters. As the meeting went further on several other good news came to light. The cooperative is actively working towards good financial management systems; KPSP recently completed financial audit for 2015 and 2016 fiscal year. Another step they took was transitioning from a very basic bookkeeping system to installing a standardized financial bookkeeping system.

As the current chairman of KSU has been physically ill for the past two years, he was unable to provide leadership to the cooperative.  As a follow up to Agriterra's suggestion during a previous governance training, an overwhelming 99 percent of KPSP members voted the current general manager to take over his responsibilities by becoming the new chairman. Since then a qualified senior staff member has been trained to grow into the position of the new general manager. This change in governance is formally announced during this year's meeting, officially separating the roles of the chairman and manager. In a business sector known for its cliquish and dynastic culture, Saluyu has shown that it is very capable of delegating responsibilities and professionally transferring knowledge from one generation to another.

Furthermore, a mentionable development is the implementation of a youth council, right now being in its final stage. This would make KSU the first among all Agriterra Indonesia clients to have a youth council. The core group of young farmers has already been identified, and the council is soon to be formalized, with activities planned to start as early as May 2017.

The key theme was of course reserved for last. In his closing remarks, the newly elected chairman simply said Mutu atau mati (quality or die). This theme represents the improving purchasing power and of the Indonesian consumers and their growing awareness and interests of high quality products. Therefore the challenge for the co-op is to continually improve their level of quality in order to satisfy the rising demand. The chairman clearly pointed out the importance of members with good quality milk who would ensure the future of KPSP.

While the challenge is not easy and the road ahead is uncertain, I am optimistic that Saluyu will continue making progress into the future.‚Äč''

Bram Maurits, business advisor Asia


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