Strong position, development and innovation
The past year was full of challenges for the meat industry, however Sokołów managed to once again achieve satisfactory sales results and strengthen its position on the domestic and international markets. The confirmation of the dynamic growth of our company is the increase of the Sokołów Group's revenues by 16.5% (year on year) and operating profit by 19.4% (year on year). We owe these results to systematic work and commitment of all employees. Another key thing was the implementation of the strategy in conjunction with a flexible response to market changes.
Strong position in times of difficult economic conditions
2019 was a year full of challenges for the meat industry. One of the biggest was certainly the unstable situation on the raw pork market and the dynamic growth of prices. There was also an increase in production costs, which in turn, influenced the decrease in profitability. In Poland, the ASF virus continues to spread, resulting in restrictions on the export of Polish pork and additional production costs.
Despite these objective difficulties, the Sokołów Group achieved a very good result. It gives ma a great satisfaction to emphasize the stable financial position of the Group. As a result, we were able to realize planned investment projects, aimed at further specialisation of our production plants. In the past year we have also finalized a merger with the acquired Gzella companies – the Gzella Osie Company is now the Sokołów S.A. Osie production branch. All these activities have contributed greatly to the improvement of the competitiveness on the domestic and international markets.
The commitment, knowledge and experience of our employees proved to be the most important in achieving very good results. It is thanks to them that the Sokołów Group maintains a strong position – even in difficult and demanding market conditions. To maintain dynamic development, is also very important for us to fully use our production capacity, to control costs and to specialise plants. We are a company that responds flexibly to the changing situation on the raw materials market. This allows us to adequately adjust our operations to current conditions.
Employees at heart of Sokołów
We always emphasize that our market success is a joint effort of all Sokołów Group's employees. We strive to create the best working conditions, but also to support their development and realisation of their professional aspirations. Last year we started a leadership development program called "Leadership Pipeline” aimed at managers, both in the blue-collar and in the white-collar employee groups. We have implemented principles of leadership directed towards appropriate management behaviours in terms of developing the staff, the effectiveness of their work, teamwork, as well as success-orientation. We introduced a pilot Success Factors tool, supporting the managers and employees in defining and implementing their ambitious goals and building a culture of dialogue. As in the previous year, this year saw another edition of the Graduate Programme. It is an international project for graduates with a leadership path. It is a programme that provides great opportunities for young people to learn the entire value chain of the company, participate in ambitious projects and gain experience in working in an international environment in the various business units of the Group.
In 2019 Sokołów introduced 60 new products. Expanding product range, as well as the modification of the composition of products is our response to changing customer expectations. In the past year – as in the previous years – we have actively met new consumer trends. The technological progress allows us to create better products. This year we have removed preservatives and additives from the composition of the products from the Sokoliki product line. We are constantly developing the convenience segment, including snacks and ready meals. Sokołów has introduced innovative products, the first such on the market – like Salami Chips CHRUP'US, which are crisp, air-dried salami slices. Also, the new Stówki wieners appeared in the Sokołów product range. They are made with 100% pork ham meat without preservatives, phosphates and monosodium glutamate. The Z gruntu dobre vegetable line has been expanded to include ready-made meals, while the meat snacks range saw the addition of the Eat'N'Go kabanos sausages’ series. In cooperation with the MLEKOVITA Group, Sokołów introduced three unique combinations of meat and cheese snacks: Party Time, Wypasiony Duo Snack and Sokoliki Duo Snack.
We are currently in the middle of an extensive image campaign, which shows how the company's product range corresponds to the diverse needs of different consumer groups. The campaign is conducted in the national television stations, with the support of other communication channels, such as outdoor, POS, radio stations and the Internet.
We are socially responsible
Investments in environmental protection are one of the most important elements of our company’s development strategy. None of the Sokołów S.A. plants uses coal for energy production, which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Gas condensing heat and power plant in Sokołów is one of the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced power plants in the food industry in Europe. Between 2018 and 2019 the new plant allowed produced more than 11,960 MWh of electricity and reduced the emission of greenhouse gases by over 36,900 tonnes. We are constantly improving infrastructure and thermal efficiency of buildings and energy installations; we recover heat from production equipment and refrigeration systems. We try to manage electrical energy wisely, reduce consumption of paper, water, plastic film and other non-biodegradable materials. For 4 years we held regular meeting with journalists and influencers, during which we discuss socially important issues, such as Zero Waste which is aimed at preventing food waste. We are also and educating on healthy eating.
It is worth remembering that we are one of the first meat processing companies in Poland, which has entered into close cooperation with farms by introducing a programme of direct cooperation with the breeders "Together in the future." We've been supporting pig farmers since 2000, and cattle farmers since 2007.
The forecast for 2020
In the coming year, we will probably witness the continuation of the current difficult economic situation in the industry. I am convinced, however, that this shall not hinder our further development and that we will effectively meet these challenges and maintain good health and satisfactory performance of the Group. The professionalism and commitment of our employees are the foundation on which we base the strengthening of our market position and consistent implementation of the accepted strategy. The investments implemented in plants will allow us to continue to increase production capacity. We will continue to work intensively on the introduction of innovative products in line with market trends and consumer expectations. Thanks to this, Sokołów will every day be present on the tables of millions of Poles who appreciate high quality and good taste – just as it has been before.
Sokołów S.A. President of the Management Board