To All AIB International Stakeholders,
Resiliency in business is defined as the ability of an organization to adapt quickly, effectively recover from setbacks, and above all, keep going in the face of adversity. In 2016, AIB International proved that it is indeed a resilient organization.
In some ways, 2016 was a daunting year. Early indicators showed that the company’s growth was not supporting the level of desired investment, and currency fluctuations added to our challenges on the international stage. We shifted quickly and intentionally, taking steps mid-year to change our business model and focus resources. Strong operational execution in the second half of 2016 put AIB International on firm financial footing heading into 2017.
Despite the challenges in 2016, we were able to focus on strengthening strategic client relationships and responding to the needs of our customers, which resulted in the delivery of new products and services. Success stories include the Certified Bread Specialist Industrial blended course and multiple kill step calculators. To address the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act, AIB International also launched the FDA Preparedness Inspection, and updated both its food defense curriculum and Consolidated Standards. We continue to listen each and every day to the changing needs of our clients and the food industry.
In 2016, we took decisive steps to improve the quality of our food safety professionals and revamp our quality assurance program. This significantly improved how we train new food safety professionals and boosted the skills of our existing staff. Our clients have also noticed these changes as complaints have dropped significantly, compliments have increased, and our net promoter scores are well above global benchmarks. Even with these changes, we conducted 250 more days of food safety inspections, audits, and training in 2016 compared to the prior year.
The renovations to our labs and pilot plant in Manhattan, Kansas, were also completed in early 2016. This increased our ability to conduct bakery projects and training concurrently, while also maintaining client confidentiality. We saw a drastic increase in the use of those spaces as we were able to schedule projects for our clients based on their timelines, not ours. Changing regulations also drove a healthy increase in food labeling activities. Overall AIB International saw a more than 20 percent increase in revenue from baking related activities.
We’ve entered 2017 with an intense focus on growing our business. We will align more closely with our strategic clients, simplify our business systems, and deliver solid cash flow performance. We will also execute these strategies without sacrificing our mission: to help our clients improve their food safety programs and grain-based food capabilities. Whether we are working in food safety or food quality, we recognize the risk to our clients’ brands has never been higher.
To grow our business in 2017, we’ve created an integrated commercial team to meet the needs of our clientele. We will develop deeper relationships with our larger clients, as well as organize to meet the needs of the rest of our customer base via our Client Experience team. Targeted marketing campaigns will also bring in more business from our key food and beverage segments.
To simplify the way we do business, we will apply LEAN principles to eliminate non-value added activities. That also means revamping our information systems to eliminate activities that are manual and redundant. These savings will allow us to invest in the right talent with the right skills, so that we can provide our clients with better insights and grow our business. We will continue to expand our partnerships worldwide and leverage existing baking centers so we can provide training closer to our clients, and will bring new food safety and baking services to market in 2017.
AIB International is a unique technical service organization that specializes in assisting the global food and beverage industry, and we appreciate the ongoing support from all of our stakeholders.
- Andre Biane
President and CEO, AIB International