Every four egg consumed in Poland comes from Fermy Drobiu Woźniak (Woźniak Poultry Farm). If it is not good enough already, you should know also that only 30% of what the company turns out is put on the Polish market. The business is located in Żylice near Rawicz (the voivodeship of Major Poland), where more than 20 years ago Zbigniew Woźniak built it up from scratch. Its rapid growth stands out as a perfect example of the simple truth. As a beginner you do not need wads of cash to achieve success in business. It is enough to know that you should neither put all your eggs into one basket nor count your chickens before they are hatched.
Written by Bartosz Sowiński
Up from Scratch
In 1986, when Mr. Zbigniew Woźniak started doing business virtually from zero in Żylice, no one gambled on it that only one henhouse would turn into a foundation for the largest egg producing farm in Poland and Europe. Whereas initially it used to turn out up to 50,000 consumer eggs a day, nowadays it is capable of producing, mind you, nearly 5.5 mln. How it all happened may provide a lesson not only for those who are about to set up their own enterprise. The Woźniaks never squandered profits they generated and always made their money work for them. They could not carry it off so successfully if it was not for the founder’s resolve. Mr. Woźniak was well aware of the fact that nothing would secure the company’s expansion better than his personal governance. That is why his egg farm was originally structured as a family business. It proved a right decision taken in a right time. Capitalism did not take off a flying start then yet and many people still underestimated the importance of private ownership. At the present time, as the world strives to handle the financial crisis triggered off by the corporate management culture, one might again recognise the values of those entrepreneurs and workers who, having once set up the business, stuck up together through thick and thin, just as if it was a family. For that matter, it is Zbigniew’s elder son Adam who presides over Fermy Drobiu Woźniak and his younger brother and sister help him run the trade. From their head office in Żylice they manage the nexus of farms dotted around the regions of Major Poland and Lower Silesia.
Success in Numbers
Now let us pass on to some facts and figures. Fermy Drobiu Woźniak look truly impressive here. It should be emphasised again that there is non such in either Poland or the whole of Europe. Only last year did the farm produce more than 2 bln of consumer eggs. Currently, the business supplies 25% of the demand for eggs in Poland. This means, therefore, that every four egg eaten in Poland comes from the Woźniak company. Nonetheless, only 30% of the 5.5 mln eggs produced there each day is available on the Polish market as all the rest is exported. These data have to lead to the following conclusion. Fermy Drobiu Woźniak prove geared up enough to cater for all the Poles who enjoy eggs as their meal. For those in the know it will come as no surprise. The Woźniaks’ technological and infrastructural base seem little short of a farming powerhouse with its 10 mln hens, 70% of which lays one egg a day. The remaining livestock makes up either the herds of chicken or mother hens. Nearly 1300 people are working there, including 848 production workers, 302 drivers and 120 administrative officers. The list of facilities comprises not henhouses only but also siloses, feed manufacturing and mixing plants, hatcheries, breeding farms, sorting plants, warehouses and own laboratory. Last but not least, there is also a transport fleet of more than 100 cars, namely 60 refrigerated lorries for egg transport, 20 cistern-silos lorries for feed transport and 30 lorries for grain transport. A real empire indeed. Having said that, one should bear in mind that the management of Fermy Drobiu Woźniak will not rest on their laurels. It is exactly the opposite. Suffice it to say that on the agenda of their recent investments one might find the following: firstly, a newly purchased farm in Kleczew near Konin; secondly, a feed mixing plant in Lasocice near Leszno, a project partly funded by the EU; thirdly, new henhouses in Żylice. Two more plans underway should be mentioned, too, that is the renovation of the older henhouses as well as land purchase for future investments.
Eggs Always Intact
It does not seem difficult to guess that all these figures stand for hard work combined with top of the range technology. This means that the eggs are properly taken care of at the every stage of their processing. In so doing the farm holds to Zbigniew Woźniak’s philosophy whose main tenet reads as follows: if you wish to be recognised as a reliable provider of top quality consumer eggs, they must be delicious and fresh all the year round. How do the specifics of the production process look like? Mrs. Małgorzata Kuriata, sales and marketing manager, let us on in their secret: “Once eggs are laid, they enter a line which carry them further to sorting facilities. Then according to size they are segregated by cutting edge sorting machines which also detect breaks and place eggs into packages fit for sale. Next these are loaded onto refrigerator vehicles which deliver them to the shops around Poland and Europe as well.” State of the art production sites are furnished with BIG DUTCHMAN and MELLER cages as well as with automatic systems for moving eggs to the central sorting plant. There, top notch gears segregate eggs according to their size and place them in marketing packages.“No one touches the eggs from the moment they are laid until they are packed. This has been made possible due to the top notch solutions such as OMNIA sorting machines. Since they make sure that eggs are spotless in terms of microbiological tests, such gears are particularly sought for by the industry,” adds Mrs. Kuriata. Inside OMNIA machines there has been a special break detector installed which spots, marks and, consequently, eliminates eggs unsuitable for consumer or marketing standards. The eggs leave the storage and are loaded onto refrigerated lorries which delivered them to customers dotted around Poland and Europe. It should be added again that no one touches the eggs during the whole process, from the moment they are laid until they are packed. This has been made possible by the state of the art processing solutions. It should be added again that storage houses are air-conditioned and the temperature there does not exceed 18 Celsius degrees. Finally, a few words on transport. The management considers it crucial in the process of further growth. Needless to say, eggs are fragile and smash easily. “For that reason, we rely on our own fleet. It guarantees perfect transport conditions for our products which reach our customers intact and on time as well.” explains Mrs. Kuriata.
Eggs from Various Baskets
Nevertheless, Fermy Drobu Woźniak gained recognition on the strength of their comprehensive offer which can be roughly divided into the category of standard products (marketed in packages containing between 6 and 60 eggs) and special products processed thanks to the uniquely balanced feed blends and ground-breaking solutions. These create ambient conditions which facilitate the whole process of getting scrumptious, healthy and wholesome eggs. Royal eggs are commonly known for their XL size and it happens more often than not that they have double yolks. White eggs are now gaining in popularity among Polish buyers. They are as delicious as brown eggs and may also be used for decoration purposes during Easter time. Freshly laid eggs are recommended particularly for little babies and you can check when they were laid as it is stamped on their shells. Sucha a wide range of products as well as neatly designed packages has made Fermy Drobiu Woźniak earn trust and enter contracts with diverse business partners, including commodity exchanges, nationwide as well as local or regional retail networks.
Spick and Span
Since salmonella poisoning is not that uncommon among egg consumers, you would certainly like to learn how do Fermy Drobiu Woźniak address hygiene related issues. The fact that the company complies with the stern requirements of HCCP food production norm should set your mind at rest, however. No matter how often their business partners, mainly retail networks, conduct an audit there, the company turns out to be impeccable in terms of safety and healthiness. No wonder, therefore, that the giants such as: Carrefour, Tesco, Biedronka, Netto, Kaufland, Intermarche, take advantage of their services. As Mrs. Kuriata stresses: “It is our topmost priority to turn out eggs of the highest quality possible. That is why we are particularly keen to make our facilities spotless and our poultry in perfect shape, which is also seen to by a full-time vet. Day in, day out, our doctor together with workers take care to prevent any health, hygiene or productivity related dangers that might afflict our herds.” This is further shown by the fact that storage houses are air-conditioned and the temperature there does not exceed 18 Celsius degrees.
Mere statistics quoted so far prove nonetheless insufficient to do justice to the Woźniaks’ position on the market. There is a long list of prizes and awards, the most important being Złoty Laur Konsumenta granted subsequently in 2008 and 2009. This honour was conferred by Media Partner Group which specialises in PR for business done via printed press channels. The company prides itself also on the fact that their contribution to the making of the Polish economy has been recognised by the influential “Polityka” weekly. In the ranking ran by the magazine Fermy Drobiu Woźniak were given 355 position in general competition and 33 in the food industry category. Moreover, Regionalna Izba Przemysłowo-Handlowa (The Regional Chamber of Industry and Trade) in Leszno honoured the business for innovation in terms of technology and management. All these prizes make a strong case for the strategic marketing course chosen by Fermy Drobiu Woźniak.