Aviagen has again raised the bar in global poultry industry training with the latest module of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Production Management School, focusing on “Optimising Broiler Performance,” which recently took place in Edinburgh, Scotland.
35 Aviagen customers participated in a challenge to turn around a failing hypothetical company over the course of a week. Delegates were split into five competing teams and a friendly rivalry was encouraged as each side went through a series of technical and management issues to try to resolve the company's problems.
The highly interactive approach uses real-farm data to identify technical issues and opportunities. The course covers a wide range of day-to-day aspects relevant to broiler growers, including ventilation, flock health, nutrition, data analysis and flock management, by mixing data analysis and lectures with tutorials by Aviagen and industry experts in these fields.
The training programme makes each team responsible for investigating overall farm performance, trouble shooting a number of technical problems before developing a strategy to make improvements. In so doing, the module acts as the ideal case study for delegates looking to learn about improving financial returns and optimising broiler performance.
Nick Spenceley, who runs the Aviagen School, said: "At the heart of the School is an evidence-led approach, which is why using data is so important. Each and every broiler grower has access to a wealth of information that can really help them shape the course of their business. The trick is knowing how to analyse it and to make it work as hard as any other asset.
"Learning comes more naturally by doing rather than listening and our production management course embraces that philosophy. It's about practical problem solving: identifying issues, discussing options and agreeing as a team on the best solution."
The approach is designed to ensure everything discussed during the week is directly applicable to delegates' work when they return home.
The event ends after each team has completed a report to the board of the hypothetical business they have been investigating for the past week.
Nandor Barna, of Baromfi-Coop Kft in Hungary, said: "The Aviagen Production Management School had practical examples of problem solving. I am now able to identify key issues from a large database of figures. It helped me to think differently and to be broad-minded when devising performance management strategies."
Jennifer Lock, Faccenda, UK, added: "One thing that really struck a chord with me during the week is to never look at an issue from only one angle, but to consider that problems have more than one cause."
Representatives from 21 countries around the world attended the Edinburgh broiler module. Despite many people working in a second language, everyone pulled together, making new friends and contacts and formed relationships, which, based on past experience, often continue throughout a delegate's professional career.
Away from the challenging work environment, the Aviagen EMEA School's interactive and participative approach aims to help attendees develop new relationships and to share experiences with peers in an informal environment.