“We are focusing our efforts”

Gareth Johns, System Director Automatic Milking Systems, has a long history of DeLaval, both from his own family and in his career. After many different job positions and locations, he and his team are now working on our Automatic Milking Systems.

When Gareth was growing up, his parents were dairy farmers in New Zealand using DeLaval equipment, so he has had a connection with the company for his entire life. Despite this, he didn’t anticipate working in the dairy industry himself.

“My parents owned a DeLaval dealership where I used to work during my school vacations. I met a lot of people from the DeLaval Hamilton office, and they were always helpful, supportive, and friendly towards me. One day, a District Sales Manager (DSM) asked me if I ever considered working for DeLaval. It took me a bit by surprise, and I didn’t think too much more about it at the time. It was several months later that I gave it more thought and, not really sure how to approach it, I followed up with the DSM. It was perfect timing as a new go-to-market model was about to be launched and there were open positions to be recruited,” Gareth says.

Time for personal growth

He officially joined DeLaval in February 2005 working with aftermarket sales, close to the Hamilton office on the North Island of New Zealand. During this period, Gareth worked closely with farmers and gained a solid customer base. Then in early 2006, an opportunity to be a Capital District Sales Manager in the South Island presented itself. “I remember this distinctly as it was at the same time as my wedding anniversary, so I jokingly said to my wife Maree, ‘Would you like to go to Dunedin for our wedding anniversary?’ Although it was a busy job, it was an unbelievable time of personal growth. At this time, the dairy industry in New Zealand, particularly the South Island, was in a growth phase with many dry stock farms converting to dairy. This coincided with the launch of the DeLaval PR rotaries that set DeLaval apart from our competitors,” he says.

Gareth held several other roles within the former Sales Company SANZA and in 2015 was recruited as a Program Business Manager, working with our Conventional Milking Systems (CMS) portfolio. “In this role, I got to work with the product owners on an R&D development program for rotaries,” Gareth explains. Currently, he works with our Automatic Milking Systems (AMS).

“The best part of my job is that no two days are the same. My team and I are responsible for the AMS portfolio, and we have the privilege of working across the organisation with many different departments on projects connected to this. My daily work is very varied, but I am regularly working with other colleagues regarding R&D projects. I also have contact with many of our other product owners, to ensure we take a system approach to the AMS portfolio. On top of this, I support my team and ensure we are developing products in accordance with our company strategy,” Gareth says.

Throughout the years, Gareth has had his fair share of experiences that stand out. “There are too many to list! One was definitely working in capital sales on the South Island of New Zealand when the PR rotaries were launched. It was a fantastic combination of hard work and collaboration. Working with great customers, dealers, and DeLaval colleagues from around the globe. Another major experience was when my family and I moved to Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did we move across the globe, but it was at the same time I started my job in AMS. So, I was learning a whole new portfolio as well as establishing a private life in Sweden with my wife and daughters. From all my experiences, I have learned that you should dare to challenge yourself. And if you need help, just ask. In DeLaval, many people gladly help you and that has been a pleasure to witness firsthand,” says Gareth.

Improving farmers’ lives

This is also something he highlights when asked why someone should consider working at DeLaval. “Honestly, it is first and foremost the people. I know many say that, but it is true. I always say ‘DeLaval is a people company’ – no matter where you are located in the world. Secondly, it is the unique possibilities in combination with the purpose of the company that I find valuable. We have a close connection with farmers, animals and technology, and we have the privilege to directly improve customers’ lives with our solutions.”

Going forward, there are many exciting projects for both Gareth and his team and DeLaval as a whole. “Sustainability is at the top of our agenda. We are focussing our efforts to make the VMS V300 milking robot more sustainable. This is an exciting area to work in as it benefits our customers and DeLaval while being good for the environment – the perfect trifecta. In addition, we have several initiatives to implement. These are directly linked to innovations, where we are working on some exciting developments for the VMS that support the DeLaval strategy. On a private note, I am learning to ski – both downhill and cross-country. Some colleagues have had the humorous experience of seeing me learn – and I know they have photos,” Gareth concludes.

Thank you, Gareth, for sharing your story and all the great and exciting thing you and your team are working on!