Increasing your head count without improvement of the staff qualifications is of no use. That is why BASF’s head count in Ukraine has grown only by a quarter for the last six years. At the same time, BASF Agricultural Solutions has increased the scope of its sales almost twice. The company is one of the leaders in plant protection agents, seeds and digital solutions for the agribusiness and deploys innovation products on the Ukrainian market every year. Andrii Kasian, the Head of BASF Agricultural Solutions Ukraine, Moldova and Caucasus, is telling about the elements of the company’s success, plans for the nearest future and secrets of personal performance.
– What helps BASF Agricultural Solutions face the market challenges, and what defines the company’s business mindset?
In fact, the company’s business mindset is defined by many factors, but I would emphasise two basic ones.
First of all, it is the company’s staff. Contrary to many of our competitors, BASF’s power is quality rather than quantity of the employees. The company invests lots of efforts and resources into development and expertise of its employees. Positioning of the company by the employees themselves has also been transformed for the last several years. The staff of BASF Ukraine had had a clear understanding that BASF sold technical expertise until 2014. However, the company was not treated as a commercial or marketing team. This stereotype is not applicable anymore.
The second factor is our distributor partners and agricultural manufacturers. We do value our cooperation, and the needs of the agricultural manufacturers are a basis for all BASF’s activities. That is why creation of innovation technologies for agricultural manufacturers year by year is not the only thing we do; we assist them in growing agricultural crops and expanding their business.
– BASF Agricultural Solutions has recently presented changes in its global strategy. When it comes to Ukraine, which development areas remain the basic ones for the company, and which new priorities have been set for the future?
The strategy of BASF Agricultural Solutions is directed at the needs of agricultural manufacturers and provision of the cutting-edge technologies for growing agricultural crops (plant protection agents, seeds and digital solutions). The unit of BASF Agricultural Solutions is planning to release more than thirty innovations all over the world by 2028 in order to procure heavy crops, their quality and sustainable development. Every year, the company invests more than nine billion euros into development of new molecules and formulations.
As for Ukraine, our plans are the same ambitious: BASF’s activity has always been focused on supporting agricultural manufacturers. As we are aware of the challenges faced by farmers daily, we offer new active ingredients and molecules to agricultural manufacturers every year. Being an innovation company, we do our best to improve the farmer’s work, to facilitate reduction of the pesticide impact and to optimise costs.
– BASF Agricultural Solutions has increased the scope of its sales in Ukraine almost twice for the last five years. What has promoted such success?
In 2016, we suggested the new business model, which promoted an increase in the scope of sales. We introduced one-year contracts with our distributor partners where we clearly stated the scope of sales and shared responsibility with our partners 50/50. However, the one-year contracts were only the beginning: in 2017, we presented our partners a concept of three-year contracts, and I am incredibly grateful for successful implementation of the suggested business model.
– BASF Agricultural Solutions was the pioneer in suggesting its distributors shared planning risks for a year. Are you satisfied with the outcome of such commercial model? In general, what plays the key role in establishing trust between the partners?
I am proud that the example of such business model has been followed by the European countries, and that the word “Ukraine” can be heard inside BASF more often. In 2016, we received the Global Business Awards for our commercial policy. That business project was declared the best one in BASF at the global level.
Moreover, we are the only company manufacturing plant protection agents on the Ukrainian agrarian market that has achieved such level of trust in relations with its partners that they have agreed to share responsibility for joint business planning for the long run.
We share our responsibility to the full extent, which is the key factor in establishment of trust between the partners.
– From your point of view, what prevents people from reaching their goals?
Fear of the unknown, lack of confidence in yourself and lack of desire to go beyond the comfort zone. To my mind, these are the obstacles hindering people on their path to their goals. The quote of the master of his trade Henry Ford would be suitable here, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal”.
– Are you satisfied with your job? What do you find most interesting in this domain?
I am very happy person and feel satisfied with what I do. From my point of view, the best indicator of your movement in the right direction is to see how the projects are created and implemented and bring mental and financial satisfaction