Second youth of the plant brings prosperity

Modernisation enables cheese makers from Pruzhany to find new foreign partners
By Irina Alexeeva

Pruzhany Milk Mill’s participation in an international exhibition in Astana has led to partnerships with Kazakhstan. Guests decided to visit the plant to view production and were pleasantly surprised, bringing rapid signing of contracts.

Geography spreads
This year, Turkmenistan is the latest partner for the Belarusian enterprise, while negotiations are underway with Moldova. The 20th International Prodexpo-2013 Food Fair, hosted by Moscow, saw the participation of manufacturers from 62 countries, allowed further expansion within the Russian market for the Pruzhany firm. Contracts are being signed with such remote regions as the Republic of Khakassia and Khabarovsk Krai.

Russia remains the main strategic partner of the enterprise. There have been three official distributors for over ten years and, last year, two new contracts for cheese delivery were signed with partners from St. Petersburg. Over the last five months, sales in Roubles have almost doubled, to reach $15.7m. Almost 75 percent of production is exported, while warehouses have a constant turnover; in comparison with 2012, they are relatively empty. The ‘Shchedraya Maslenitsa’ trademark has always been associated with natural ingredients and high quality — at home and abroad.

Foundation of investment policy
The 74-year-old enterprise has been updating its production lines to ensure efficiency in all spheres. Fundamental change began in 2004, with the arrival of new director Vladimir Mikitich. Within a year, the line making dried skimmed milk had been updated, gaining a compressor facility and amenity rooms.

A new cheese-making line came into operation in 2009, using the latest equipment from leading European and world manufacturers, at a cost of about 7 million Euros. All processes are now automatic, from the arrival of milk to the end product. Meanwhile, the capacity has increased from two to seven tonnes per shift: 24 tonnes daily. Amazingly, consumption of energy and water has fallen as much as four-fold.

The enterprise is going from strength to strength, building upon its reputation for using the healthiest ingredients from wonderful countryside locations, such as near the Belovezhskaya Pushcha reserve. ‘Shchedraya Maslenitsa’ goods are known far and wide for their quality and emphasis on consumer satisfaction. It’s no surprise then that each year sees more partners attracted.

Nothing goes to waste
“Plans for modernisation in 2013 include reconstruction of our butter-making line, replacing the equipment for butter and cottage cheese production,” explains the chief engineer of the enterprise, Alexander Los. “Construction works are almost completed, having installed the most up-to-date Bulgarian and Russian machinery, at a cost of 750,000 Euros. These innovations, in my opinion, will considerably improve the quality and hygiene safety of products.”

Belarusian processing enterprises are now considering how best to utilise the ‘waste products’ of their dairy production. In developed countries, whey is a valuable ingredient, being used in America on an equal footing with the primary cheese produced. This appears a promising avenue, especially as Russia imports 98 percent of dry dairy whey for animal fodder.

The enterprise is also gaining new waste treatment facilities this year, bringing its total modernisation spending to about 15 million Euros over the last five years. About nine billion Roubles are being spent this year alone.

It goes without saying that no one can afford to ‘stand still’ in business.
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