By FWi staff

UKASTA has cut costs in the sectors it represents by 20% as a result of its benchmarking survey, claims Jim Reed, chief executive of the farm suppliers trade association.

“Despite not having any detailed and conclusive evidence, I am confident that we have achieved our 20% target,” he says.

“The whole idea is to drive costs down, and farmers are already starting to see the benefits.

“A massive amount of cost has been taken out of the industry in the last decade, and this trend has accelerated in the last two years.”

The survey was set up three years ago after recognising the need for cost-cutting and improved performance in its sectors, and received funding from MAFF through the Sector Challenge budget.

Dugdale Nutrition has made significant savings as a result of benchmarking.

“It highlighted the key areas that needed work, and the improved efficiency has enabled our business to grow,” says managing director David Byers.

“It is not just about cost-cutting. The route to the top is through best practice, and passing on improved efficiencies and savings to the customer.”

Benchmarking becomes more valuable the more it is done, adds Mr Reed. “And although MAFF funding has ended, there are at least four projects that will run on, funded by the companies themselves.

“The survey has clearly shown that benchmarking plays a key part in reducing costs and improving efficiency – and I hope that more of our member companies will get involved.”