Kiwifruit company marks 25 years

A small company founded in the 1990s by two Tauranga growers has evolved over 25 years to become a major player in the kiwifruit industry.

Western Bay of Plenty Kiwifruit Management company DMS celebrated its 25th anniversary on Thursday with both founding directors Paul Jones and Craig Greenlees still firmly at the helm.

DMS founding director Paul Jones (left) and Craig Greenlees.

DMS has seen a substantial recovery from the effects of the vine disease Psa-V in packing volumes for the 2013/14 season and has continued to increase its market share, says the company’s latest annual report.

Last season also saw a green harvest of 4.5 million trays, back to the company’s previous 2011 levels. New variety volumes increased to 869,000 from 266,000 in 2013, exceeding pre-season estimates.

DMS has consistently ranked in the first quartile for onshore fruit loss across all varieties over the past four years within the Bay of Plenty, recording a 0.007 per cent onshore fruit loss on Zespri’s 2013 scorecard for the Gold 3 variety, compared to the industry average of 1.75 per cent. It is also in the highest quartile for fruit storage earnings.

Craig Greenlees says DMS remaining at the top of its game comes down to the company’s breadth and the depth of knowledge of its staff, with top performance an expected norm.

“Our ability to store fruit exceptionally well has become a standard expectation for our growers, directors and managers, and is the reason DMS has been steadily increasing market share while the rest of the industry has been contracting. Growers are coming to us because we get such good results.

“One reason is because we have an incredible depth of experience within the company. Paul and I started DMS 25 years ago and between us have more than 50 years’ combined corporate history and knowledge of the industry. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing during that time, but we have learnt from our mistakes and we make sure those mistakes aren’t forgotten.

“We also have a strong team with lots of knowledge – in our core team of 70, many have been with us for over 10 years.”

The retention and level of knowledge within the company, especially at management level, also ensures its durability and sustainability, says Craig.

“When we started, there were the two partners and very few staff. Today, we employ 70 full-time staff, increasing to 350 in the peak packing season, and Paul and I are still at the helm. But the company isn’t so dependent on us and that is an exciting evolution to see the company take.”

The highlight of the current annual report is the great results DMS offer their growers ays Craig. Staff morale also remains high across all sites as teams continually set targets that exceed industry norms.

“We are consistently achieving some of the highest Orchard Gate Returns (OGR) in the industry, both per tray and per hectare, and we’re confident of continuing growth and increasing grower profit over the next 25 years.”

Last week Craig stepped down as a Zespri director and growers elected Paul Jones to the board.


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