Acuity Genetics and Topigs Norsvin USA: Partners or Competitors?

Acuity Genetics and Topigs Norsvin USA: Partners or Competitors?
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An Interview with John Eggert, Ph.D.

Every company is different. Every customer is different. We’ve had a lot of questions about why we have started this unique partnership. My answer: Our focus has been, and continues to be, working to find synergies that help us offer our customers the most value. Working with Topigs Norsvin USA may at first glance seem counterintuitive. We are competitors, right? In some capacity, yes, but we also have the opportunity to be a driving force behind each other’s progress. By capitalizing on our synergies and leveraging shared knowledge we are able to increase the trajectory of genetic progress faster than we could as separate entities.

This equates to more value for the customer — and we both share that goal.

I sat down with Dr. John Eggert and discussed this unique partnership.

Dr. Schwab: This partnership began in the barns at The Maschhoffs. A decade of interactions built trust and identified common interests. Those elements, I believe, are foundational to a good partnership. When we developed into our own entity as a genetics company, our business goals continued to align. John, from your perspective, what are the synergies that make sense to you?

Dr. Eggert: The shared learnings and drive to make progress for our customers are my top two. We aren’t the same, but producers and customers aren’t either. Our approaches are different, neither right nor wrong, but the diversity of our thought processes and the ability to work together creates key learning opportunities. Years ago, we thought we were limited to targeting only a few traits at a time within our breeding goals. Now, with today’s tools and technologies, we can incorporate more and more traits into our breeding programs and still make meaningful progress in all of them. Why wouldn’t we use the opportunity to learn from each other? We have a responsibility to make a better product for our customers, and if working together moves that faster, then this partnership makes sense.

I agree, John. The customer value should always be first. Both of our teams are focused on customers finding success and that is the core to finding the balance between being competitors and partners. Our teams are highly experienced and bring a wealth of knowledge that can be leveraged on both sides. From R&D through commercial validation, we can more quickly change the trajectory of genetic progress together than we would have separately.

This has been proven through this partnership’s flagship customer — The Maschhoffs. There is no such thing as a perfect pig, and there never will be, but increasing the tools we have in our toolbox — and applying them correctly — exponentially increases their value.

While increasing the delta G [genetic progress] is the easiest answer for this partnership, we aspire for more. As you said, we have a huge responsibility to deliver products that work within a diverse mix of producer operations, but also beyond that, to deliver value throughout the pork chain including packers, retailers and consumers. As we continue to work together, we can better understand their drivers, allowing us to deliver on expectations for genetic products over the next 3, 5 or 7 years. In learning and utilizing that information effectively, we can impact genetic progress, genetic dissemination, supply chain strategies, customer service and more — while also challenging and redefining our customer’s goal outcomes.

It all circles back to the customer.

If the question is, why do this? The answer is simple — if we can make one improvement in our own system in 5-10 years, great. If we can cross-culture our learnings and products and leapfrog that progress, then we’ve really done what we should for the customer.

If we leverage the right tools and the right knowledge at the right point in the value chain, we can get an outcome faster — an outcome that may have been further down the road. The more we can pool our knowledge, the faster we can move forward. That’s delivering value to the customer.

Final thought:
Outside of Acuity and Topigs Norsvin USA, the customer and the commercial industry benefit from this partnership. We want our customers to get the most value possible. We believe this partnership will continue to evolve and do just that, making it a win for everyone involved.

And we are just getting started.

John Eggert, Ph.D.

John joined Topigs Norsvin USA in 2010 and currently serves as President and CEO. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and holds MS, PhD and MBA degrees from Purdue University.

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