24/11/2014 - 16:15

Cream rises for Daubney

24/11/2014 - 16:15

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A Western Australian dairy boss who waited three years for the business to turn a profit has discovered the other end of the spectrum, and is now dealing with an operation that has outgrown its facilities.

Cream rises for Daubney
PROFITS: Sue Daubney has received strong local support. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A Western Australian dairy boss who waited three years for the business to turn a profit has discovered the other end of the spectrum, and is now dealing with an operation that has outgrown its facilities.

Sue Daubney is managing director of WA diary producer and processor Bannister Downs Dairy Company, which started processing its own milk in 2004 and has now reached capacity at its Northcliffe facility.

Ms Daubney said there had been extensive planning involved in the next step for the business to ensure managable growth over the next five years, although at this stage she was unable to divulge any of her plans.

 “We spent three or four years learning the hard way [about processing milk], and then the past six years has been fine-tuning everything at this scale of business,” Ms Daubney told Business News.

“As we look at a larger scale of business there’s a whole new set of learning curves ahead.”

Ms Daubney was named the 2010 Business News 40under40 First Amongst Equals for her work developing the Bannister Downs business.

She has returned to the 40under40 fold in years since, having been a judge of the annual awards.

Ms Daubney said it was important when judging entrants to look not only at the economics of the individual’s business or achievement, but where they have come from and what hurdles they might have faced.

One of the challenges for Bannister Downs was turning her financiers’ optimism in to reality – her bank and numerous consultants told her to expect profits after one year; it took three.       

“The hardest thing is securing capital that’s not going to kill you … servicing bank debt during those years when you’re trying to start up and you’ve got a lot of fixed costs to overcome, that can be a really big challenge,” Ms Daubney said.

She expects the dairy sector to be a big winner from the Australia-China free trade agreement struck last week.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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