European Marine Harvest companies maintain close contact with each other, to strengthen the company as a whole.
Plant manager of Marine Harvest Pieters in Belgium, Pieter Note, has monthly meetings with colleagues and executives from Norway, following the Marine Harvest reporting protocol.
“The lines of communication with Norway are short. We have very intensive contact. Mid October a complete team from a Norwegian farm will visit our company, to discuss all issues involved in the supply chain. We also go to Norway regularly. It is very important that we, as links in the same chain, are aware of each other’s work.”
This is a fairly recent development, Note explains. “After 2006, when we became part of Marine Harvest, for the first couple of years it was more or less business as usual. Since then, strategic discussions have been set in motion and lines of communication have become shorter.”
It is fascinating to interact and exchange ideas with all these international colleagues, says Note.
“We also have regular interaction with colleagues from all Marine Harvest companies in Europe at all levels and in all sectors: production, finance, quality management. We consult each other on all kinds of issues and have regular communication in order to bring business operations to the same standard. It’s a very interesting process, with all these different cultures.”
The European Marine Harvest companies are divided into three groups, he continues. “Western Europe: that is Benelux, France, Spain and Portugal. Central Europe with Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Poland and other Central-European countries, and the UK. Those three groups each have their own CEO, reporting to Marine Harvest Group head office in Norway, and their own marketing and sales divisions.”
Cooperation also takes place at the production level, says Pieter Note.
“We produce smoked salmon that is being packed in the Marine Harvest factory in Northern Spain. Our salmon is being filleted in Boulogne-sur-Mer or Duinkerke, and Marine Harvest Sterk, in the north of the Netherlands, produces our breaded salmon products.”
“Originally there also was a production location for coated products here, in Brugge. We had a small factory with a capacity of 2000 tonnes. At Marine Harvest Sterk, the production capacity at that time was 9000 tonnes, so we decided to integrate the two. All our breaded products are now produced in Lemmer, and are sold in many different markets in Europe and in other parts of the world.”
This cross-fertilization is the strength of Marine Harvest, according to Note. “We apply each other’s successful ideas and concepts and each company focuses on its strengths. This sets us apart from our competitors.”