December 1, 2020

Achieving services alignment in the customers' journey: Head of Technical Services, Kemin APAC




Earlier this year, Kemin Asia Pacific welcomed Alex De Leon as its first Head of Technical Services. Over the past 15 years, Alex had worked for leading animal nutrition, animal health and premix companies. He led the development of market segments, product portfolio, and new businesses, in his most recent role at a global agri-food company, LIVESTOCK & FEED Business finds out more from Alex about how he plans to strengthen Kemin's technical focus and structure.

It is well known in the industry that Kemin carries an extensive portfolio of products for various feed mills and farm applications. Having worked with his new team for the past few months, Alex is impressed by the wide range of products in Kemin's portfolio and the level of service quality provided to customers. He believes this holistic approach is Kemin's key differentiator in the market, where much of the competition focuses primarily on pushing products.

Commenting on Kemin's technical structure, Alex says, "I think the way the business today has been structured is remarkable. It is working well, and what I plan to do is bring in more alignment with the platforms and services, including our Product Application Department (PAD) and Customer Laboratory Services (CLS). To show how these functions, although separate, are connected. I would be leading the team to cut across different functions and to connect the dots."

CLOSTATTM, a well-established probiotic that falls within Kemin's "alternative to antibiotic" portfolio, serves as an example. For the case of necrotic enteritis in poultry, Kemin's CLS team had developed a test kit in partnership with its customers to detect and quantify the levels of disease-causing Clostridium perfringens. Based on the level of contamination, Kemin would recommend either one of two modes of administration of CLOSTAT (mixed with feed or drinking water) and an appropriate dose regimen performed on delivery systems designed by Kemin's PAD team.

Sharing about his industry experience, Alex says, "My field experience has been on how nutrition and farm conditions affect each other, as well as how the animals' demand changes as its environment and health status changes. With this experience, I can help my team level up the solutions we deliver to our customers. In other words, this means bringing a broader perspective in terms of customer needs and developing more holistic solutions for them."

Alex further explains that the customers' needs are shaped by the nature of their businesses, animal species they produce, and the performance targets they have to achieve for each animal growth stage. Each growth stage is essential and represents milestones that work up to the customer's end performance goal. According to these needs, building the offerings (products, programme, and services) would be the direction for his team.

"These may involve having a team focusing on species and segment, and developing a training programme aligned with these offerings to the customer. At the end of the day, the customer is at the centre of what we do," highlights Alex.

He further shares: "We also have new products that are geared towards farm applications. This is another area of growth that we see. These new products bring in a whole new dimension on how we can help customers. Connecting our current solutions to these farm solutions will give diversity to the ways we can help our customers address their needs."

In addition, Kemin engages key opinion leaders to bring further knowledge to customers and solve specific problems.

Looking ahead to 2021, Alex says, "We always need to be better today compared to yesterday, and better tomorrow compared to today. This means that we need to continuously listen to the customers' feedback (both internal and external). Customers' needs also change depending on how the market changes. Having our ear close to the ground will help one to be agile to change with the customer."

He concludes: "Our goal is to align all of our services such that when we go to market, the specific offering to the customer - products, programme, and services - are fully aligned with the market segment, animal species, and growth stage."