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Meeting the changing needs of our customers

Meeting the changing needs of our customers

4 March 2019 | Global Dairy Trade

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With the release of Global Dairy Trade's 2018 Annual Report, Eric Hansen, Director, looks back on a year of further evolution with the aim of meeting the changing needs of its customers.

For Global Dairy Trade, 2018 marked our tenth year of being a trusted source of market-based reference prices and market informing data. 

With total trade of $2.14 billion worth of dairy and a combined 700 registered buyers across our GDT Events and GDT Marketplace platforms, our team is focused on evolving our service offerings in line with our purpose to help buyers and sellers to trade with confidence in global and local dairy markets. 

With 10 years of experience behind Global Dairy Trade (GDT), I believe our commitment to innovate and learn has been key to our success. Here are three lessons we learned last year as we evolved to better serve our customers. 

1. Think and act like a start-up

Our job as innovators is to find a synthesis between our vision and what our customers will accept; It isn’t to capitulate to what customers say they want, or to tell customers what they ought to want.[i]

This lesson is useful because it reminds us that even after 10 years of successful operation, creating a new service is not about developing a clear, unambiguous path to realisation, but rather should be seen as a starting point to be tested in the market and adjusted as necessary to ultimately result in a synthesis between the vision and market reality.

For a new trading platform to be successful, it needs to overcome barriers in offline trade while minimising any new frictions that the platform may create.  When this is achieved, the new platform makes it easier for buyers and sellers to discover and reliably execute opportunities to trade with each other.     

2. Fail fast and take learnings forward

We should remain eager to trial new, low-cost solutions as we work to make it easier for our customers to trade dairy commodities and conduct business. If something proves unsuccessful, our approach should be to fail fast and take our learnings forward. 

In May, for example, we suspended the US Lactose Pool on GDT Events after six months of operation. We trialled the new pooling concept to provide price discovery across multiple sellers, rather than publishing prices for individual sellers. 

Our market research had told us that US dairy participants wanted improved reliability and timeliness of price references for US lactose, but ultimately the pooling concept proved unsuccessful. The trial validated the interest of sellers but found that even for a standardised dairy commodity, most buyers are unwilling to bid on a pooled offering. They need the discretion to bid on specific sources of product. 

Closure of the US Lactose Pool does not negate the knowledge and value gained from the process. This low-cost, real-time trial provided us with a deeper and more reliable understanding of the needs of buyers and sellers in the global dairy market, and we gained valuable insights we might not have achieved through a customer research survey.  

3. Embrace the rise of the convenience economy

We know our customers are more often operating their businesses on the go. We’re looking ahead to ensure we are taking the right steps today to meet our customers’ business needs tomorrow, specifically when it comes to adapting to the rise of the convenience economy. 

To make our GDT Events platform even more convenient and easier to use, we have nearly finished a complete refresh. The updated platform will enable bidders to use multiple devices including mobile phones and move between devices as the auction progresses. Bidders will be able to choose between manual and auto-bid for each product and will be able to copy bids from the previous round.

The refreshed platform will also provide better support to inexperienced bidders with a simulated real-time training system, in-app help, intuitive colour coding and clearer messaging. Companies who wish to involve multiple employees in the bidding decision will be able to have multiple users, but still control who has bidding versus viewing rights.

By being agile, validating assumptions quickly and learning from customer behaviour through real trials, I believe we can continue to play a key role in our customers’ dairy trading success for another decade and beyond.

I invite you to read our 2018 Global Dairy Trade Annual Report which outlines how we have employed these three lessons over the past year.

[i] Paraphrasing of Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses (Kindle Edition)

For more information please contact:

Eric Hansen  /  Director, Global Dairy Trade

Contact Eric