Jamaica Broilers Group JANUARY 10 www. bus- ex. com 55 spend up to four years learning about the business and the company's philosophy. " Our culture allows us to be caring, professional, loving and understanding. It binds us together, and we are stewards for the people here," affirms Levy. " When the company was privately held," he continues, " the basic feeling was that we wanted to share this blessing with our employees, and we introduced one of the first employee share programs in Jamaica. Even today, you pick up the Word of God if you want to understand all aspects of Jamaica Broilers' culture." Levy feels that the company's transformation into a publicly traded entity in 1992 has provided opportunities and challenges alike. " We have made a quantum leap with 40 percent profit earned in hard currency that has changed our perspective from being just a Jamaican company into a different dimension. We have to think that we can grow beyond Jamaica, and our challenge is to continue to grow the company in that vein. Our focus is on paying off debts and looking for opportunities in new markets." Going public at the right time raised capital, enabling expansion, and Levy says this was also the catalyst for the technology explosion. " The biggest change has been the professionalism of management," he asserts, " but it has also given us more credibility overseas." And capital for new projects, like the $ 45 million investment in an ethanol plant in 2007. " Fifty percent of the funding came out of equity, and in 2008 we doubled the size of that plant," he explains. " The idea came to fruition in 2006 after we had been in debt and had prayed for a means to reduce this burden. We went on a retreat to the cool hills above Kingston, and one of the board members suggested ethanol production as an opportunity. It took only about eight months to build the site, and we have enjoyed a 25 to 30 percent return already." Although reluctant to discuss the subject, Levy admits that Jamaica Broilers has made a strong contribution to the community both locally and across Jamaica, with education and investment in technology a primary focus, along with an annual music festival across the island. A drop in the ethanol market has slowed growth recently, but Levy remains steadfast that the company has chosen the right path. " Without a doubt we will take our time and pay off our ethanol borrowing first and then look at incremental growth. I think we will be in a fantastic position in the next 18 months to make the next step." Levy explains. " We use a benchmarking company called Agri Stats, which collects information on just about every process we undertake including labor utility, packaging and mileage. Being efficient is critical to us, particularly given electricity and energy costs in Jamaica, and being an island, most of our supplies and finished products have to be shipped, which also costs a fortune. We are very heavily dependent on technology, and our broiler and feed sites are totally automated and online, allowing us to trace everything right back to the field. Traceability is critical on the feed side, particularly with the micro ingredients we use, so it's important to get things right." Aside from efficiency, Jamaica Broilers' bigger clients also conduct regular audits to ensure that the company is meeting its stringent quality standards. Given the company's attention to detail, these are meetings that Levy welcomes. " We work very closely with our primary breeders, who help us with feeding formulations to improve efficiency and quality, while on the feed side we work with nutritionists to improve animal health and nutrition. The farmers here are relatively small and wouldn't otherwise have access to the level of knowledge we can introduce from the United States. " Our technical support team visits our farmers regularly and provide them with advice on animal feed and veterinary support, to help guarantee quality and efficiency," Levy continues. " As an agricultural company, we also take environmental responsibility very seriously and have attained ISO 14001 accreditation, and we are now working toward HACCP accreditation at the poultry plant." The company has embraced IT, and everyone from sales reps to truck drivers utilizes computers or handheld technology to enhance efficiency and measure performance. Training its 2,000 employees plays a vital role at Jamaica Broilers, and trainee managers will Coldstar Inc specializes in the design and installation of industrial ammonia refrigeration systems, with a focus on optimum energy efficiency. Our 30 years of experience recently produced over 25 percent energy savings for Best Dressed Chicken's freezer project. Coldstar Inc has a unique personal approach to our customer's requirements for increased profitability and refrigeration needs. Coldstar Inc.
56 www. bus- ex. com JANUARY 10 project The thedecade