Implementing the Unique AHV Approach Around the World
The unique AHV approach to animal health has already helped more than 10,000 farmers worldwide. What is it that makes this approach so unique? What are the plans for AHV in the future? To get these answers we went straight to the top. Hear from CEO Jan de Rooy and CSO Gertjan Streefland to learn more about AHV’s approach to animal health.
It is clear how passionate Jan and Gertjan are about their vision for animal health while talking about the past, present, and future of AHV. From frustration over the lack of effective tools to care for our animals, to developing and implementing solutions on farm, these men have certainly come far. But it isn’t over and their plans for the future are extensive.
What makes AHV stand out in such a competitive industry?
According to Gertjan, AHV’s Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder, this answer is actually very simple. “At the moment, AHV is the only company producing solutions to common animal health challenges using the science of quorum sensing.” He points out that “you hear of companies making a gel or a bolus. Sometimes you hear about companies offering natural solutions that address the same challenges we do. And while these other offerings work, it is often temporary. When an animal ingests something the body does not recognize, it reacts to it. But often these are not long term solutions, because the problems temporarily hide in the body, but are still there. This is where our solutions stand out. We strive to tackle the problems, and that is what makes our solutions so unique.”
How is AHV’s approach to animal health unique?
Besides the technology of AHV solutions, Jan says there is more to what makes AHV unique. “We are not just offering the farmer a new solution. We are not just delivering products. We offer a concept that focuses on the optimization of animal health.” Jan explains that a large part of this is AHV’s approach to sales. “We employ Farm Advisors who offer guidance to farmers throughout the learning and implementation process of AHV’s solutions. Our Farm Advisors are trained to give advice based on their knowledge of animals, the farm’s data, and their first-hand experience. Selling a product is one thing, but properly informing a farmer about its effect and the correct administration of it is another. Our team aims to help the farmer succeed. This means stepping into that advisor role and offering advice where needed, not just advice on when to buy our products.”
“In addition to our farm advisors, our data specialists analyze robot data or milk recording results, in order to offer reliable advice. They are capable of more than discovering which animal is suffering from a problem, they can also pick out which animal is likely to suffer from one. Our data analysts are working hard on our self-learning computer systems, which enable us to detect problems at an earlier stage.” Jan reveals that “This is one of the developments we will see in the near future and will roll out into different markets in stages. Thanks to these developments, our ultimate goal is closer than ever,” says Jan. “While tackling health problems is satisfying, preventing them is the ultimate goal.”
What has AHV done in the last few years to improve its approach to animal health?
“A lot has changed recently,” says Jan. “We now have our own lab at our headquarters in Zwolle, with a Research & Development department consisting of talented microbiologists and veterinarians. They are constantly testing and improving the development of our products. In addition to our lab in Zwolle, we also have a lab in Leiden. Here, Peter Nibbering, a microbiologist and immunologist at the Leiden University Medical Centre, works with others to learn more about how molecules, bacteria, and biofilm react to our solutions.”
“In addition to the development of our R&D department, we have been working to raise our quality assurance to a higher level. With the creation of our Quality Assurance and Quality Control department, we were able to hire several specialists with extensive experience to help us improve our solutions,” says Jan. Gertjan speaks up explaining that “most people have no idea what goes into cultivating a consistently good product. We have an in-house lab with microbiologists and veterinarians, an R&D department, a production department, specialists on the road, and so on. But the development of an effective product always starts with the raw materials. These raw materials must be tested extensively in order to guarantee quality. With the expansion of our Quality Assurance team, we can say with certainty that the raw materials we use are excellent.”
How has AHV’s approach to Animal health been received?
“If more than 10,000 farmers in more than 20 countries are using AHV’s solutions then it must be working, right?” asks Gertjan. “With our products, not only do you see a reaction of the body in the first weeks, but more importantly in the long run. We collect and analyze a large amount of data that shows animals given our solutions have less chance of recurring problems in the future. And that is what you want; not to solve problems temporarily, but to prevent them in the future.”
Are there plans to continue the growth and innovation of AHV?
Over the next few years AHV will continue to innovate, say Jan and Gertjan. “We recently installed two additional production machines in Zwolle, allowing us to increase production to 6 million boluses per year. This expansion was necessary to enable us to meet the demands of farmers globally. We already serve farmers in more than 20 countries, with plans to move into other markets,” says Jan.
“New developments are occurring every day in countries around the world where AHV operates. As new offices continue to open, we strive to provide all our team members with the knowledge needed for success. One way in which we are doing this is through the development of an internal academy has been set up at our headquarters to train our specialists.” Gertjan recognizes that “this training raises the level of knowledge of the entire team, which benefits the farmer.”
“As far as what the future holds for AHV, we will find out for ourselves. But we will continue to plan and support farmers through innovation, helping them succeed and optimize their animal’s health,” says Jan.