Thank you Dr. Chuck Strong – for your hard work, dedication, commitment
After serving six years with Big Dutchman China and over 38 years in the layer industry, Dr. Chuck Strong, Technical Director for Big Dutchman China Layer Business unit, is stepping down from his position and will be entering into retirement, effective June, 2016. This will mark the end of Dr. Strong’s 6th year with BD China. Big Dutchman would like to thank him for all his contributions in making BD China successful as it is today.
“There is no one way to do something to be successful; there are other things that can happen that can/will eventually lead to success. You can become more patient and more tolerant which helps lead to this thinking” Dr. Chuck Strong
Dr. Strong has an extensive career and experience in the layer industry, stretching back to his days in Georgia, United States. Having served 15 years as a professor at the University of Georgia from 1977 to 1992, Professor of Poultry Science and Extension Specialist for egg production, Dr. Strong proceeded to the private sector, while joining Hy-Line in 2000. During this time, Dr. Strong worked in various locations around the world including Production Director India 2000, Managing Director South Africa 2001 to March 2003 and Regional Business Manager Pacific Rim (Asia excluding China) 2003 to 2010.
“Virtually no foreigners, hardly any cars and many, many bicycles”
Dr. Strong’s first visits to China ere back in 1988 to Fujian province. He recalls things being much different back in those days.
“Xiamen was a much different time back then when I first visited” reflected Dr. Strong on his first time visiting China, “There were virtually no foreigners, hardly any cars and many, many bicycles. Today, the city, and China itself, has developed extremely quickly; hard to imagine how different things were only 28 years ago.”
Joining Big Dutchman
Dr. Strong then joined as Technical Sales Director for Big Dutchman China in 2010, by the recruitment from Brian McCawley, President of BD China. Dr. Strong often commented on the rapid growth and constant changing environment China was at the time.
“Everything moved very quickly when I first relocated here to China. We we’re (at the time) a small new office and hadn’t yet done much with the layer side of the business, minimal staff and just starting the Beijing office location. Very busy the first couple of years”
When Dr. Strong first joined, the egg production side only consisted of two sales and three sales coordinator’s at that time. He brought about an extensive background of the layer business and worked hard to establish a more service oriented system within BD. Today, the company has well over 37 employees on the layer side of the business, reflecting on the growth Big Dutchman has had here in China during that period.
Although exciting as it was to be in China during a time of rapid growth and opportunities, Dr. Strong wanted to point out multiple challenges involved in establishing the Big Dutchman brand here in China. A few of these challenges were localization, pricing, service and customer retention.
“When I first started with BD China, no one knew who we were. They didn’t understand quality issues or a firm grasp of highly automated layer systems. Education, growth and sales took time here in China. Most experiences I’ve had would only take around 6 months to finally get sales. Here in China, it took us almost 2 years. Now, customers know who we are, market has evolved to maintain growth and we had to make sure we serviced our customers, especially since we now have over 60 layer installations around the country.
It was important that we had a team established to make sure all equipment was installed correct and working properly, with most spending 2-3 weeks on the farm. Training, service and troubleshooting were often the services offered when signing with customers, a first for the egg layer industry in China back then. I think this contributed a lot to our success.”
Luckily, through the support of Big Dutchman Germany as well as Brian McCawley, the company grew and adapted to overcome these challenges, by offering more local solutions, manufacturing, sourcing, competitive pricing and after sales service technicians.
“Brian helped give us a good vision of what we needed and wanted here in China. Pricing, localization and after sales services needed work, luckily Brian put the time to grow these areas of the business to meet these needs.”
A combination of all has led to a multitude of repeat customers and reinforced BD’s position on quality and service in China; things at Big Dutchman look better than ever.
"If you don’t look good, we don’t look good."
“We want to view the relationship with our customers as a partnership, a long term relationship. Their performance reflects our performance. To quote Vidal Sassoon, ‘If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.’ It’s simply good business to provide these services.
BD China’s future looks very bright; the sky’s the limit in China. China is by far the number one egg producing and consuming country in the world. They could produce anywhere from 35-40% of the worlds eggs in the world. Small farms just simply aren’t sustainable to meet China’s demands. BD offers a perfect solution. The industry is still learning but they’re getting there and I can’t see we’re anywhere near the peak yet.”
“Quality, service and price”
As for how to achieve continued success, Dr. Strong wanted to emphasize three key components for Big Dutchman.
“Quality, service and price were the keys to sustainability and success here in China. We have to be competitive with price, offer up quality we claim and follow it up with service.”
Dr. Strong was also kind enough to share some of his thoughts, suggestions and advice from this career in the layer industry. One of the biggest things Dr. Strong wanted to emphasize was success and how to achieve it.
“I think it’s important to be patient and that things don’t always go as quickly or as smoothly as we’d want them to. Patience and tolerance are keys to finding the right success in many if not all situations. Commitment and responsibility are great things to consider, commit to establishing something, and take responsibility for it.