Swiss Valley Farms chief executive officer Donald A. Boelens was dealing with volatile milk prices and a collapsing export market in 2008-2009. Looking back, he says he knew there had to be a better management structure, one that could allow the company to take advantage of opportunities caused by price fluctuations and at the same time deal with the hardships.
So, with the backing of the co-op’s board of directors, he set out to change the organization of the Davenport, Iowa-based dairy cooperative. In June 2011, Boelens reorganized the management structure to make the co-op more nimble and able to react quicker to opportunities in the marketplace. He changed Swiss Valley Farms from a company aligned by functions (sales, operations, marketing) to one aligned by product lines (natural cheese, dairy ingredients, procurement).