Scotland hosted the third annual Aviagen® Technical Service Managers’ (TSM) School in June with Aviagen staff from Europe, The Americas, India and North Africa all attending the week-long training course. The main focus of the event was the key aspects and skills which are essential in providing advice and support to Aviagen customers.
Demand to hold another school was strong from Technical Service Managers worldwide, who had found the previous two events extremely helpful to their roles. The module covers Aviagen’s central activities: breeders, broilers and hatcheries but highlights that skills’ development and knowledge sharing are just as important among Aviagen staff as they are with distributors and customers.
School Director Nick Spenceley commented: “Our Technical Service Teams are one of our strongest assets and play a vital role in offering support to our customers enabling them to realise the genetic potential of our products. The workshop-based format is meant to replicate the type of company technical audit we are often asked to perform and provide our teams with the best tools for the job.
“It is not sufficient on its own to be highly knowledgeable in poultry management to be an effective Technical Service Manager for Aviagen. Other skills are required, such as an understanding of customers’ businesses and the poultry value chain. An essential part of effective technical transfer is being able to quickly analyse technical issues and develop a prioritised action plan which fits within the customers’ own immediate to long-term planning.”
Attendees consisted of a mixture of fresh faces and experienced members of the TSM team which gave the course a rounded outlook. HR Director Jan Morris presented on a diverse subject range aimed at enhancing the communication and presentation skills of the Technical Service Managers. Other significant contributors included Finance Manager James Wilson, who provided a business focus, and Aviagen Group CEO Jan Henriksen, who addressed “Why Aviagen invests in Technical Service?” before explaining that it is one of the most valued parts of the support network.
Guest speaker Jim Johnson presented on business drivers and engaged in a Q&A session. Johnson, a graduate of the West of Scotland Agricultural College, has a breadth of experience in farming having advanced from practical breeder flock services to directing chicken farming operations in both the UK and South Africa.
Daren Rakestraw, TSM with Aviagen Inc., commented: “The highlights of the week for me were the presentations and Mr. Henriksen’s visit. I really valued the data analysis and the presentation skills training as these are increasingly important areas both for customers and on a personal level…. It was also great to meet up with colleagues from other countries.”
The program concluded with an exercise encouraging participants to present a technical report to the school team as though they were the board members of a potential customer. This has been designed to allow students to hone their presentation skills and put into practice the research techniques they have learnt.
Prabhu Ramasamy, TSM in India, added: “I enjoyed the week immensely because it gave me a different and real time experience in dealing with customers. All the exercises we carried out were thoroughly enjoyable and very useful, especially working with different cultures and using that understanding to resolve issues….Data analysis and polishing the customer presentations were also very interesting but it was friends from different parts of the world who made this long week feel a very short one.”