Planning ahead pays off for DMS

By David Porter

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DMS operations manager Derek Masters says growth results from investment in people and infrastructure.
DMS operations manager Derek Masters says growth results from investment in people and infrastructure.

Bay of Plenty kiwifruit post-harvest operator DMS says the groundwork it has laid in recent years is paying dividends. The company has announced a 33 per cent increase in its grower rebate to 30 cents and an 8 cent dividend for its shareholder growers.

DMS operations manager Derek Masters said the increase was attributable to the company's ability to leverage its performance on opportunities provided by the significant increase in crop volume during the past three years, especially the past season.

Derek Masters.
Derek Masters.

"We have been preparing for this growth phase for a number of years and continued with these developments and investment despite the impact of Psa," he said.

"Over that time, we have made a heavy investment in our people and infrastructure to prepare for the growth that we knew would come in the future.

We have built additional coolstore capacity over the last two years to cater for the increased volumes and ensured that we are utilising our assets effectively."

Mr Masters said DMS had also focused on having the people, systems and processes in place to ensure high performance levels could be maintained.

The company had outstanding results for onshore and offshore fruit loss, which were well under the industry average, he said.

For the 2015 season, DMS achieved an onshore fruit loss of just 1.28 per cent for green kiwifruit, compared to the industry average of 4.10 per cent. DMS' onshore fruit loss for gold kiwifruit was a tiny 0.05 per cent, or just 924 trays, while the industry average was 1.05 per cent.

Mr Masters said DMS had also applied Lean Manufacturing concepts to all aspects of its operation, particularly the principle of continuous improvement, which had contributed to these results.

"Our focus is on continuing to grow at a controlled rate over the next few years."

DMS packed some 6 million trays of green and 1.9 million trays of gold last season, and was expecting to pack 6.6 million trays of green and 3.3 million trays of gold this year, said director Craig Greenlees.

The past season had been notable, not just for the expected continued growth in gold as new plantings come on throughout the region, but also for the higher yields in green, he said.

"The level of green crop in the business last year and again this year is unusually high," he said. The higher green crops were a new norm, but perhaps a bit more than could be expected as an average in the future, he said.

Gold yields were looking good and the industry was expecting that growth to continue.

"We've got spare packing capacity still for some growth next year and we're continually building more coolstores," he said.

DMS:

* Bay of Plenty owned and operated

* Orchard management and post-harvest operator

* Two major packhouse sites in Te Puke and Te Puna, Tauranga.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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