MMPA must “embrace” today’s challenges and view the cooperative’s future as an opportunity, said MMPA CEO Joe Diglio at the 103rd Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 14.
Speaking to approximately 400 members and guests, Diglio drew attention to the idea of, “emerge,” the meeting’s theme. “Emerge. It is a simple word but when thinking about it, it is powerful,” he said.
“In a volatile and unstable environment, it is easy to sit back and wait for things to settle down and then take action,” Diglio continued. “It takes courage and unity to move forward with your vision during uncertain times.”
One year prior at the annual meeting, Diglio described how the cooperative is transforming for the realities of today and the unknown possibilities of tomorrow. While the dairy industry is still grappling with low milk prices and a rapidly changing marketing environment, Diglio said MMPA’s efforts to evolve and find new opportunities is pulling the cooperative forward.
“Companies that emerge from a challenging environment usually can identified key attributes that make them successful. The same holds true for MMPA,” he said. For Diglio, it comes down to technology, teamwork and relationships.
Over the past couple years, MMPA has been in the process of updating the technology touching every aspect of the supply chain. Core business functions are implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to better serve members and customers.
“This system streamlines our business processes onto one platform so we can fully leverage our portfolio to help deliver more end-to-end solutions to our customers,” Diglio said.
Diglio also touted the technology and innovation involved in the expansion at Constantine. The investment added an ultra-filtration system to produce a new valued added product. Though Diglio says ultra-filtrated milk isn’t a new technology, MMPA’s innovative system provides customizable solutions to meet customers’ needs.
“Innovation is not a moment in time but a journey. And when you prepare for a journey it is best to surround yourself with great talents,” he said. “It has been a priority to get the right people and culture in place to help drive innovation and to successfully adapt to the changing environment. No one person can do this alone, it takes a team effort.”
Diglio called attention to the many people working on behalf of members at MMPA, including the member services and supply chain departments. From a broader perspective, Diglio says our goals must be aligned with all decision makers, especially the board of directors. Board members, all dairy farmers themselves, are “advisors, decision makers, problem solvers and advocates.”
With a “focused and united” team as a base, MMPA is engaging with customers to further drive innovation and return value to member-owners. “Developing a better understanding of the consumer wants and needs helps support growth initiatives that can create strong partnerships,” Diglio said.
MMPA is strengthening its relationships with customers, fellow cooperatives and other institutions on collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships.
“Relationships are key when it comes to building towards the future,” he continued. “That doesn’t happen without strong belief of an organization, commitment on following through and backing from those who understand the need and support the vision.”
Diglio reiterated MMPA’s vision, with collaboration, strategic alignment with customers at the forefront. Recently completed projects like the Constantine expansion and other business development opportunities shed a positive light on the future.
“Where we are today is progress,” Diglio said. “However, I don’t want you to think we have completed our vision. While we have plenty of momentum behind us there, is much more in front of us.”
–Allison Stuby Miller
This article was originally published in the May issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger. Subscribe »