News from the factory

Our GM, Shane, reports to the board at our monthly meetings, covering operational matters at the factory, health & safety, and the previous month’s financial results. Items of interest include:

  • There is work underway on a new grading system for the 2017 harvest – details should be out to you soon. The new grading system should be robust and transparent from a financial audit point of view, and provide quantitative data to growers on the quality of their crop so the grower can see why a particular grade was given.
  • We are considering the purchase of a second cracking machine to enable us to deal with the high volume of walnut supply predicted for this coming year.
  • There has been work done at the factory to determine the costs involved in each of our products. A lot of data have been gathered and analysis is underway to help us understand which products are most profitable for us.
  • We are participating in a business evaluation and coaching programme called ‘Enterprise DNA’ run by KPMG, with funding assistance through Callaghan Innovation. This will help us identify and act on areas for improvement in our leadership, strategy, marketing, networking with other businesses, customer relationships and other areas.

Board strategic planning

The board met on 3 February for a strategic planning session to look forward over the next three years and develop goals for that period. Critical Success Factors were agreed on at themeeting.  We decided that for Walnuts NZ to be successful it must be especially good at thefollowing activities:

  1. Marketing and selling all our products to the most profitable markets
  2. Efficient processing
  3. Maintain the full support of our shareholders.

We analysed our strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and decided on the following specific objectives:

  1. Walnuts NZ enjoys an engaged shareholder base as a result of being well regarded and successful. Growers become financially successful and enjoy participating in their industry and new participants are being attracted
  2. Financially successful
  3. Participating in high margin “Super Profit” market sectors
  4. Significant improvement in operational efficiency
  5. Build capacity to process and sell the increased supply volumes predicted in coming years
  6. Committed and stable management team.

We are still working on the details of quantitative ways of measuring our success in these areas.

Board strategic planning

The Co-op board has decided to hold its next strategic planning day in February. The board is very pleased with the way the first 18 months of trading has gone, and improvements to processes in the factory. The planning day will enable the board to chart a path for the business over the next few years. Current work on costing production, researching markets and options for improving efficiency will provide a sound basis for planning.

 

Directors re-elected

Under the constitution of the co-op one third of the board of directors retire each year, although they are eligible for re-election. Being the first year of operation lots were drawn to decide which three directors would retire. Andrew Horsbrugh, Frank Brenmuhl and Graeme Nicholas were chosen to retire. All three made themselves available for re-election and were declared elected unopposed at the annual meeting of shareholders held in Rolleston on 30 July. You may like to find out more about the eight directors.

AGM

The first AGM of Walnuts NZ Co-operative Ltd will be held at 3pm on Saturday 30 July. Shareholders will receive further details within the next couple of months. Under our constitution, directors’ terms are for three years. To set up the required pattern for the future, three of the seven current directors are retiring this year (and are making themselves available for re-election): these are Graeme Nicholas, Frank Brenmuhl and Andrew Horsbrugh. You are welcome to nominate other shareholders to stand in this election at the AGM, and you will receive nomination papers prior to the AGM. The total number of directors is seven under our constitution.

Voting at the AGM – Under our constitution, shareholders have one vote for every 500 shares (or part thereof) they hold. So, for example, shareholders with 150 shares or with 400 shares would each have one vote, a shareholder with 5000 shares would have 10 votes. Voting is capped at 20%, so if any grower owns more than 20% of the total shares of the co-operative, they still only get 20% of the votes – this is to protect the influence of our smaller shareholders.