Milking New Zealand’s Potential
Oceania Dairy aims to provide an internationally recognised and respected source of highly valued dairy nutrition that nourishes people for a better, healthier life. We discover more with General Manager, Logan Hanifin
Writer: Ed Budds | Project Manager: Liam Pye
The Kiwi Nation of New Zealand (NZ) may be small in terms of its population size, but its dairy industry has an oversized impact on the global stage.
The country is the world’s eighth largest dairy-producing nation and a major contributor to the national economy, with dairy exports earning more than twice as much as meat and forestry exports combined. Accounting for more than 30 percent of all exports from the island nation, this vital industry generates in excess of NZ$18 billion of revenue each year.
Situated within the nation’s picturesque southern farming country, Oceania Dairy Limited (Oceania Dairy) combines local community expertise with innovative talent from its parent company, Yili Group. The company boasts a proudly home-grown workforce that is given every opportunity to develop career-enhancing skills to ensure progression within the business.
“The dairy industry in NZ is thriving, and our ability to continually improve how we sustainably farm and process dairy products is keeping us at the forefront of global dairy production,” says Logan Hanifin, General Manager of Oceania Dairy.
Hanifin has a background in engineering, working for a variety of industries across the South Island of NZ, where the milk industry is intricately ingrained at the centre of most communities.
Before becoming General Manager, Hanifin was involved initially in building the factory in 2013, progressing to take on senior management roles in engineering and operations.
“It is extremely rewarding to be leading a significant dairy company such as Oceania Dairy and to be responsible for managing the expectations and goals of our stakeholders,” he adds.
Currently employing 400 permanent staff, 50 temporary staff and myriad contractors to support the business, Oceania Dairy manufactures a wide range of value-added fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) specialising in both infant formula and UHT milk.
“We are extremely lucky to have such valuable partners to work with us to deliver robust end-to-end supply chain management”
Oceania Dairy is committed to continuous improvement and staying ahead of the sustainability curve to ensure it can operate in a way that protects the planet for generations to come. With these goals in mind, the company is constantly looking to invest in further developing its already state of the art facilities and manufacturing processes to decrease its overall carbon footprint.
Throughout 2021, Oceania Dairy invested significantly in a chemical recovery plant which is now successfully operating and recovering cleaning chemicals, unlocking the capability to both re-treat and reuse these substances in the manufacturing process.
Oceania Dairy has also produced an energy transition accelerator strategy, a foundational study allowing the company to plan the transition to renewable energy supplies.
“We have run trials of various types of biofuels for process heat, as well as scoping electrical infrastructure upgrades to support emerging technology such as high-temperature heat pumps to allow full transition away from fossil fuels,” Hanifin says.
The progression to cleaner, more sustainable business practices is developing alongside a range of exciting products and expansion into new territories.
One key growth area for the Oceania Dairy product range is the registration of three infant formula brands for general trade to China, specifically produced to meet new GB standard requirements. GB standards are Chinese national standards that ensure products comply with everything from labelling to safety, usage, and more.
Similarly, Oceania Dairy recently completed China’s SAMR audit which included a significant on-site audit by MPI on behalf of SAMR. Oceania Dairy is the first company in NZ to pass this audit which is currently required for any business that wishes to sell their infant formula brands in China.
Meanwhile, the company continues to press ahead with the expansion of its whole milk and skimmed milk 1KG product portfolio into the Southeast Asian market, set to be introduced next year.
“This marks a significant achievement for our business and places us in a good strategic position for our product launches, which will begin in early 2023,” Hanifin says.
“We are very lucky to have such a dedicated workforce, who believe in our core values and truly understand the value they bring to our organisation”
A RESPONSIBILITY TO DELIVER HEALTH
Product quality is at the core of everything Oceania Dairy does. Strict quality assurance processes wrap around the procurement of raw materials and ingredients, staff training and manufacturing processes, product testing, releasing, shipping and distribution.
“We make food for the most vulnerable population on the planet - babies. Therefore, we must have strict control over every piece of our process,” explains Hanifin.
Oceania Dairy has fashioned a robust quality management system that is validated through multiple audits including from NZ and Chinese government agencies as well as significant audits from its customers and internal audit team.
“We recently invested heavily in a state of the art laboratory to further refine our quality control, enabling full testing from end to end to be completed on-site, allowing us to control our quality from start to finish, minimising our reliance on third parties,” expands Hanifin.
This scrutiny over every level of safety-ensured decision making also includes the supply chain process. Not only does the company send its products around the globe, but it also has a significant requirement for ingredients and raw materials from all over the world that must be maintained.
“While our internal, highly talented supply team are exceptional, we cannot do it alone and this requires significant strategic collaboration with our global suppliers to ultimately deliver on our business goals and company guarantees,” Hanifin says.
“We are extremely lucky to have such valuable partners to work with us to deliver robust end-to-end supply chain management. Our key partners also worked tirelessly across the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our supply chain moving and our products in our customers’ hands, for which we are very grateful.”
UTILISING A DEDICATED TEAM
Oceania Dairy manufactures products 24/7, 365 days a year and relies on every single individual to do their bit to maintain a high standard of safety and quality management.
As Hannifin affirms, “in an industry such as ours, people are everything. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated workforce, who believe in our core values and truly understand the value they bring to our organisation.’’
With a mature strategy around growing its own talent, there are multiple examples of exceptionally talented people moving through the organisation into senior roles in management, manufacturing, supply chain, IT and engineering, or whatever role they desire as a career path.
“Our team know that our training and career development can set them on any path they wish, and they are not confined to their current roles and responsibilities. This is critical in driving an engaged, empowered and valued workforce,” Hanifin elaborates.
“For me, there are two key factors that differentiate us from our competitors, and the first is always our people. We have a unique culture that is built around quality, agility, and continuous improvement.”
This means the company’s manufacturing and sales ability is uniquely placed to pivot at the required pace to both improve processes and performance, while also responding dynamically to customer demands.
“The second is our ownership by the Yili group, the largest dairy company in Asia. This gives us significant reach in both R&D and innovation as well as sales and distribution to leverage the best value possible outcomes for NZ’s milk supply,” he tells us.
A BRIGHT FUTURE IN DAIRY
With the global demand for milk products rapidly growing, Oceania Dairy is positioned to capitalise on this surge in demand, providing confidence to both its owners and supply partners that will result in increased profitability for farmers and owners alike.
The high concentration of existing dairy farms within a 50 kilometre radius of the Oceania site provides significant efficiencies for Oceania Dairy’s processing facility.
The local economy is strong too, with a growing population and enviable lifestyle options. Oceania Dairy is already recognised as an employer of choice in the region and plans to take active steps to maintain its favourable reputation.
“We have created a strong set of goals within our 2023 strategy, as we look to grow our people, ensure safety and deliver on sustainability improvements. Furthermore, our longer-term strategy will ensure our business is well placed to lead the industry for many years to come,” concludes Hanifin.
Historic trends show NZ farm and cow performance is continuously improving; in this way, Oceania Dairy understands the importance of responding to a changing world and seeking new and innovative ways to create competitive, resilient systems.