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Canadian Business Course: Wilhelm Van Eyck Case Study

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Updated: Aug 16th, 2022

Introduction

This paper explores Canadian business course. Wilhelm, Polly (his wife) and Charlie (his cousin) moved from Netherlands to Canada. However, Wilhelm settled in Ontario and Charlie at B.C. Both Wilhelm and Charlie remained in touch having gone through public school and worked together on a farm as they undertook agricultural course together. Wilhelm is a farmer, who keeps broilers, beef, swine and practices crop farming. Van Eyck has been using Master Feed from Maple Leaf Mills for two years. However, increased price of the product and poor results from his recent crops of chicks disappoints Wilhelm. He is slow to make a switch to other products as he waits results of the next crop of chicks.

Wilhelm has not diversified his broiler operations and inputs. Charlie advises him to try several variables concerning the broiler feed in order to maximize his profits. However, Wilhelm seems to be reluctant about it and he believes that there is nothing like “magic feed” for his broilers. Wilhelm believes in proper management, health chicks and good feed in order to make maximum profit out his broilers. He is a passionate farmer and has done some improvements on his farm.

He has ventilated the new broiler facility as advised by building representative. According to the budget he prepared, Wilhelm was extravagant and it seems to be his routine. Harold, his first son helps on the farm activities and is a student at Ontario agricultural college. Martin is the second son, who studies at a local high school and is a grade 12 student.

Problem statement

Currently, Wilhelm faces two challenges: poor returns from the previous crop of chicks and increase in price of Master Feeds. In addition, for him to improve on his yields, he has to work with less expensive feed which can provide better yields too.

Analysis of Alternative

At this given point, Wilhelm understands the main problems in broiler production. As a result, he has to analyze alternatives in order understand the options and choices for starting a new program or continuing with the existing one. Wilhelm needs to analyze the possibilities of poor crop yields in his broilers. He needs to examine the existing technologies and systems to make an informed decision on the best way forward so as to address production problems.

At first, he thought the problem was the quality of Master Feed. However, he believes the quality of feeds does not differ very much; is almost like any other. The rise in price of Master Feed accompanied by poor results still remains disappointing to him. Wilhelm considers other variables in his farm to establish whether they contribute to poor results. He considers the equipment and the buildings, where Harold does most of work. Previously Harold had been careless and he had failed to clean equipments like waterer but lately he had been responsible.

Wilhelm rules out the issues of management and equipment. In addition, he considers the quality chicks. Wilhelm has been buying chicks from Maple Leaf Mill, previously owned by Skyline Farms and they have been of good quality. Whenever they show a sign of disease he takes them to Lab or University for further advice. As a result, the quality of chicks and health management is ruled out.

As part of analyzing alternatives, Wilhelm compares his notes with neighbor Fritz Lonsdorf. Lonsdorf is one of large scale broiler producers. Fritz suggests use of Domar brand to Wilhelm explaining its effectiveness. Wilhelm also recalls that Fritz’s birds were killed at 8 weeks. Harold acknowledges the good performance of Fritz’s birds and encourages his father to change the feed.

However, Wilhelm is hesitant and does not wish to adopt Fritz’s idea. In addition, Fritz shares information on bent beak syndrome, as advertised in Poultry review magazine. However, Wilhelm remains skeptical insisting on taking his birds to a vet to seek further clarification before trying any new idea. Despite this analysis and comparing notes with Fritz, Wilhelm remains rigid and maintains his operations are perfect.

Wilhelm analyzes the quality of other feeds. He is convinced that despite a few changes in pricing, the quality of feeds remains similar. He re-visits history of purchasing feed since he began operating his farm. He began purchasing Starlight brand at Milton Milling until it was purchased by Robin Hood. He later changed to Supersweet brand for three months despite the rise in prices. Wilhelm later started using feeds from Chance which he believed were as good as those of Supersweet. He remained a client to Chance for two years before it was purchased by P& H Feeds. Here, the prices began to rise as usual and he made a switch to Full-O-Pep feeds manufactured by Quaker. Full-O-Pep feeds were perfect for him until it was purchased by Maple Leaf Mills. Maple Leaf Mill phased out Full-O-Pep Feed and replaced it with Master Feeds. He has used Master Feeds until this point when the prices have increased and produced poor results. Despite all these analysis of products, he believes the quality is the same. He despises the idea of his cousin Charlie of getting “a magic formula”. He blames the failure of feeds on company owners who increase the prices and lower the service of feeds.

Wilhelm considers exchanging ideas with Jim Sellars, a representative from Maple Leaf Mill. He would appreciate if he passed by to evaluate and monitor the performance of his operations. In addition, they could chat on changes in markets and diseases. Wilhelm understands that he should pay for services and any advice offered. However, he does not like paying for services which will not be utilized. He believes the firm gives expensive advice on brooder medication and diseases. In addition, Wilhelm could consider signing contract from Maple Leaf Mill to receive processed feed; however, he prefers using his own processor. In addition, Wilhelm believes Jim dispenses free advice on ventilation, feeder space and temperature; areas he could rely on his understanding. Moreover, he believes Jim is not conversant with his profession. Despite his need for advice he has no room for change and he believes his operations are the best.

Staying informed on poultry production through reading materials and press is another viable alternative for Wilhelm. For example, in the poultry review he could learn from exceptional poultry producers as advertised by Chance Company. Being informed can change his mindset and consider the final result of an investment and not the cost. In addition, he would learn more on latest feeding equipments as well as methods. His son, Harold could be of great help being an agricultural student. Moreover, Wilhelm can benefit from company representatives. They offer reading materials, advice on poultry diseases and medication and current marketing activities. For example, when Dave visits Wilhelm, he invites him to London Poultry Show.

Attending the show facilitates exchange of ideas and information which is part of learning process. Company representatives also offer information on building poultry structures. Considering Wilhelm had wrongly ventilated his poultry house, representatives like Dave and Chuck could assist him to rectify the error. In addition, company representatives provide updated reports which contain current information on poultry keeping. For, example, Wilhelm would have benefited from the reports produced by Smith Feeds and Domar Mills.

Company representatives would assist in delivering his birds to vet and invest his time in other productive activities. In addition, they would provide Wilhelm with information concerning hatcheries and where to get quality chicks. As a result, the yield of his production could increase.

Lastly, keeping an open mind and positive attitude towards other people’s recommendations can be a viable alternative. An open mind is usually ready to share and receive information. In addition, a positive attitude towards views facilitates changes and amendments. For example, if Wilhelm received his cousin’s advice he would have kept good production methods. In addition, Chuck had supplied him with reports to guide him on ventilating the chicken house. However, he ignored and relied on his own understanding to ventilate the poultry house. As a result, he spent a lot of money on it and ventilated it wrongly which could have contributed to poor yields. Positive attitude is flexible, easy to work with and quick to learn. Wilhelm should keep the reports for future references, instead of throwing them away.

Recommendations

These are recommendations derived from Wilhelm story; first, Ecykline Farms face production challenges which need to be addressed. The accounts show poor returns from two consecutive crops of chicks. In addition, the price of Master Feeds has increased. Wilhelm needs to work with less expensive feeds or different feed of equal price to Master Feeds.

In addition, Wilhelm needs to explore new policies and programs. This will help him improve the quality of poultry feed as well as management of poultry. Maple Leaf Mills, Chance Company and Smith Feeds offer different programs whose main goal is to improve poultry yields. Moreover, he has to keep an open mind and a positive attitude in order to adopt new ideas. At present, Wilhelm is not ready to make a switch concerning poultry feed and hatcheries.

Wilhelm needs to build a different poultry house with required ventilation standards. The house should have the correct measurement and hygiene should be maintained. Moreover, he needs to acquire new equipments to feed and water his poultry. Most importantly, he and Harold should ensure the equipment is constantly clean. Instead of taking his birds to Lab or University vet, Wilhelm can utilize company representatives to deliver what he needs and take the birds to vet while he invests his time in something different. He should consider receiving advice from company representatives because they have better advice on market prices, poultry diseases and medication compared to the vet he visits.

Lastly, Wilhelm should stay informed through reading monthly magazines and reports produced by companies. This will help him gauge himself, identify gaps in his management and address them sufficiently. He should keep a positive attitude to view the information positively. In addition, he will appreciate other people’s ideas as well as their advice. As a result, he will be free from “my operation syndrome” which has numerous faults.

Implementation

Implementation involves steps through which Wilhelm will overcome the production crisis he is facing at the moment. First step is for Wilhelm to change his attitude. In case of crisis in business, the investor is supposed to be pro-active in making decisions and changes. Wilhelm is slow in switching to other products and buying of new equipments. Despite the challenges he faces, he still believes his operations are the best. By changing the attitude, he will accept new ideas in his business.

The second step is building a poultry house without being extravagant. The current poultry house is not well ventilated. Using reports Wilhelm was give by chuck, we can follow the suggestions offered in order to make a chicken house. To ensure the house is warm, the floor will be covered by rough and large particles of saw dust. In addition, he will acquire new equipments to feed and water his chicken.

Wilhelm will be allowed to use the remains of Master Feed if there is any. However, he will change feeds to less expensive ones. In his case he will use Domar brand feeds manufactured by Martin Feeds in Elmira. Domar feeds are less expensive compared to Master feeds. The performance of Domar feeds is good compared to Master feeds. Fritz is a good example of large scale broiler producers using Domar brand of feeds.

In conclusion, should be eager to acquire more knowledge on poultry production. In addition, he needs to welcome advice from company representatives. Dave from Martin Feeds will be visiting occasionally to monitor the progress at Ecykline Farms. Also, he should provide Wilhelm with reading materials like poultry review. As a result, Wilhelm will remain updated on markets, diseases and medication. Finally, he should delegate the duty of taking birds to vet to Dave.

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