He noted that before the pandemic in the Baltic States and Europe, the market was relatively calm. The competition was lively and mostly regional. Producers in the fresh meat segment competed with their closest neighbors, “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “” – with Lithuanian, Estonian and Polish producers, mostly in the private label segment.
However, he acknowledged that with the proliferation of Covid-19, the way companies work, how they ensure production processes and supplies, or how they work at all, has changed. According to him, the first quarter should be seen in the context of the changes introduced by Covid-19.
“As a food producer, it is important for us to stay afloat, maintain stability and provide the right amount of food. It is important to organize our processes in such a way as to both protect our employees and maintain production volumes,” Pranckevičs emphasized.
According to him, currently out of the total 1,100 employees of the “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “”, only 50 can fully work remotely, which creates many challenges to ensure the production process so that the risk of infection is as low as possible and employees are not afraid to come to work.
Pranckevičs added that “Poultry factory” Ķekava “” wants to highlight four significant factors influencing business in the segment. Including enhanced security requirements. Although the company worked with increased biosecurity requirements before Covid-19 due to the company’s initiative to raise chickens “without antibiotics”, the pandemic posed a challenge to redesign the system to provide maximum safety for workers in extreme conditions.
“Poultry factory” Ķekava “” has introduced a number of new systems in its work, which allows to ensure the most safe production and also to manage the company’s processes more flexibly in the new conditions. Work is organized in small groups to minimize the risk of infection. Employees are also provided with special face masks and other protective equipment. Every morning, all employees are measured by body temperature and people are carefully encouraged to monitor their health. The plants regularly disinfect the premises and surfaces, as well as introduce additional ventilation modes and ionization of the incoming air.
According to Pranckevič, when transporting employees to the factory, all buses are additionally disinfected, as well as additional buses have been introduced in the transportation routes of employees in order to reduce the number of people in one room at the same time. Since the middle of March, “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “” has stopped all business trips, face-to-face meetings and training, operating at maximum remote mode.
The company also closely monitors the flow of incoming traffic – and has stopped the entry of unauthorized vehicles into the territory. “Poultry factory” Ķekava “” allows the movement of vehicles that are necessary to ensure production, disinfecting absolutely all incoming vehicles.
According to him, the effect of Covid-19 is also a change in the overall behavior of consumers – changes in consumer shopping and consumption habits. “Such restrictions, which have been introduced in recent weeks, have never happened before, people have not experienced this kind of emergency. Hundreds of thousands of people have been temporarily out of work, hundreds of thousands of companies have suspended their operations. This type of quarantine is unprecedented. not only for us, but for society as a whole, “he said.
The head of the company added that if the first week saw increased shopping – a large part of buyers in Latvia and other countries went to stores and bought with a reserve, creating savings, including significantly more and frozen products of “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “”, then the level of anxiety decreased . Well, people have started to switch to a more moderate shopping style, buying the necessary, respectively, the sales volume of products produced by “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “” is also falling. Week is different from week.
According to Pranckevich, changes in public consumption have also taken place as a result of Covid-19. The company has many customers in the HoReCa sector in the Baltic States and Scandinavia, which were engaged in the supply of raw materials to restaurants and school catering. Following emergency decisions, these sectors have been suspended, with the result that exceptional sales in this sector have approached zero.
“This directly affects one of our plants, which specializes in the production of ready-to-eat frozen products targeting Scandinavia. Although domestic consumption of poultry products currently offsets public consumption, we are concerned about the suspension of this sector, as it is an important food segment. We hope that the restrictions will not last long and that the public sector will resume operations, “he said.
He expressed concern that as a result of long-term restrictions, the decrease in buyers’ income could affect the work of “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “”. If this situation continues, people may also start saving on food by reducing certain food groups or choosing cheaper alternatives.
The turnover of “Putnu fabrika” Ķekava “” in the financial year, which lasted from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, was 75.785 million euros, which is 9.3% more than a year earlier, while the company’s profit decreased 2 , 1 time – up to 985 940 euros.
The share capital of the poultry factory “Ķekava” is 18,928,084 euros. The controlling stake in the bird factory Ķekava belongs to the Lithuanian holding Linas Agro Group, which also includes Lielzeltiņi, Broileks, Cerova and PFK Trader.