— In Ukraine consultancy is not very popular with people. Why?
— Because pig production as a business is just starting to grow here. If to compare to experience of other countries, Ukraine today remains Russia 5 or 6 years ago. Ukrainian pig producers are beginning to understand that pigs and barns with expensive equipment are not enough for profitable pig production. They start their farms and then realize that they don’t know a lot of things and so they have to ask. Along with it they also realize that not anyone can give a useful advice. It’s how the mechanism of consultancy begins to work. But there is also one limiting factor — money. High-quality consultancy can’t be for free. In other case it’s just an advertisement of a product of a commercial company. This is what we see in Ukraine.
— What to do with a problem of trust in consultants, when each persuades he is right? Whom to believe?
— In pig production as in our life there is no one right way to do things. There are basic principles, but how to follow them each unit decides on its own. Here is an example: some inseminate sows one time, others — two times, but there are also people who believe they should do it three times. The result is the same. Only in the first case they believe they are skilled enough, in second case they want to be on the safe side. The last case is just following a tradition (I am talking about Russia). What makes difference is what people believe is right. So the task of a consultant is not only to show different ways of achieving desirable results, but also to explain which is the most optimal for the enterprise. A consultant can’t be blinked, when he sees only one way out and believes all others are not right. The first and the main principle of consultancy is to understand and make others to understand that there are different ways to achieve the aim. When I, for example, come to the farm, the first thing I do is to listen to my client and try to understand what he wants. If a client is obsessed with very high born alive and that’s what he wants and believes is right, so I can advise him to achieve what he wants. If he wants extremely lean pigs then it’s a different advice. It’s like selling cars: some believe that BMW is the best, others think that it’s Mercedes. In reality both cars do exactly the same job, they are both luxury. In pig production the main principle is always the same: maximum kilos — minimum costs. But there are many different ways to achieve it. So I just explain my clients how to achieve what they want!
— How to become a good consultant? What do you need for this?
— First of all, basic knowledge. But the most important thing is experience. Consultants are made rather than born. Before you become a consultant you should see, know and understand the whole process from inside. A good consultant begins from the bottom, so to say, from scrubbing floors on the farm, and move forward step-by-step. In this way you can understand what is right and what is wrong for production. You won’t learn it at university. And this is the case when the more you see the more skilled you are. I am very lucky as I saw farms in Africa, South and North America, Asia, Europe, Russia, China… I’ve seen the farms worldwide. It helps you to understand what’s good and right, and what’s bad and wrong. Basically you borrow something from one place and give it to another place.
To be a good consultant you also need to listen to clients and not be blinked, understand there is not only one way to do things. And of course understand the basic principle: maximum kilos — minimum costs.
- If there is a situation when a consultant doesn’t know what to do. Where can he find information to solve this difficult question?
- What is the algorithm of a consultant’s work on the farm? Why is the fattening unit the most important
- What is the most difficult point of the cooperation with people?
- What are the most popular problems that make people ask for consultants’ help?
- What are the main drawbacks of Ukrainian pig production, according to Simon Grey opinion?
You can find answers for these and other questions in the full version of the interview in the magazine “Profitable Pig Production”, 1 2013.