The Danes are well known for their innovative, efficient and animal-friendly way of livestock farming. For more than 25 years Hamlet Protein has been their key partner in young animal nutrition. To further expand its Danish market leadership in Europe, Jan Kamphof and his team are tasked with creating new home markets.
These are considerable ambitions. Why is Hamlet Protein not so well-known outside of Denmark?
‘In Denmark we sell directly to the farmer and to the premix and compound feed producers. This is why the Hamlet Protein brand is so well known among both farmers and feed producers in Denmark. Outside of Denmark, we are primarily known by global animal feed companies! Hamlet Protein supplies ingredients to compound feed companies all over the world: high-quality products backed by patented biotechnological processes. If you apply these products correctly, you can achieve excellent results. That is why Hamlet Protein is known as an innovative company with plenty of ambition and growth opportunities.’
What is the power of your focus on young animals?
‘Healthy intestines and a healthy immune system at a young age will prove of great benefit to animal health and growth at a later age. The right starter feed results in fewer diseases and other problems, which means that fewer antibiotics are needed and animal welfare increases. If a calf has reached a certain weight by ten weeks, there is a good chance that it will develop into a good dairy cow.’
Can't European compound feed companies simply get this from their current suppliers?
‘There are no directly comparable competitors, really. Hamlet Protein is the best option thanks to its patented production process. These biotechnological processes distinguish our products. We supply products that no one else has. Animals stay healthier and therefore fewer antibiotics are needed.’
"Growth brings Hamlet Protein across the border"
What are your plans?
‘Hamlet Protein has traditionally held a strong position in Denmark. If we want to grow further, we will have to cross the border and create new home markets in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, for example. Through regional expansion, we also want to be a discussion partner in these countries and offer the best solutions. My goal is to create an international, result-oriented team and become even better at what we do. Not just by providing quotes and samples, but by developing partnerships and delivering relevant customer-specific solutions, so our customers get the maximum value.’
What is it like to work for a Danish employer?
‘Pretty much the same as for other European companies I worked for. The Danes and the Dutch both switch quickly, and are no-nonsense and result-oriented. We are also quite similar in our sense of humour. Danes are also incredibly egalitarian. A popular Danish term is 'hygge', which means cosy or sociable. At Hamlet protein this is expressed on Friday mornings at the 'rundstykker', when colleagues come together for breakfast.’
What is the trick for international sales?
‘If you are part of the sales team you travel a lot. That is why independence is so important. I prefer to call it a pro-active can-do mentality; taking the initiative. We have a good team at our disposal with experienced nutritionists who are happy to help us, but they don't tell us what to do every day. It is actually a role with a lot of freedom. There are also growth opportunities. At the moment we only produce in Denmark and Ohio and we export to the whole world. But if market developments continue at the current pace we may well open a third production location. Plenty of opportunities for successful employees, in other words.’
It seems it is important that international work suits you?
‘Definitely! Does it sound silly when I say that I enjoy walking around Schiphol early in the morning? The international feeling I get there does something to me. In my work, I connect different cultures. I find it incredibly interesting to find out how things are different in other countries and to bring the good things we do in animal nutrition in Western Europe to other countries.’
Which aspect is the most important motivator for you?
‘What drives me in my work is the contribution I can make to better animal health and animal welfare. Precisely because Hamlet Protein is innovative with respect to these relevant and current themes and has a focus on young animals, our work becomes meaningful. We offer solutions in those areas where the sector needs to improve. In that sense, our work is close to social topics. I take pride in my work, and it is a good topic of conversation at the tennis club.’
If you feel inspired by this story, find out more here about open position(s) at Hamlet Protein: