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A bountiful venture
CHICKEN is one of the most consumed meats in South-east Asia, and it was almost a shoo-in for success for a company to entrench itself in the business of poultry production. Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc (BAVI) is a poultry integrator company based in the Philippines. Its president and general manager, Ronald R Mascarinas is one of the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES) winners for the category of Outstanding Leaders in Asia.
Incorporated in 1997, BAVI was initially established as a poultry integrator company operating in Cebu and Davao, carrying the Bounty Fresh brand.
BAVI is presently ranked 207th among the top 1,000 corporations in the Philippines. Together with sister company Bounty Fresh Food, Inc, the company carries the Bounty Fresh brand to the entire archipelago. By 2002, the company launched its operations nationwide as a poultry integrator covering provincial Luzon, and the whole Visayas and Mindanao.
BAVI has a nationwide business network with branches in key cities, and distributorships across the Philippines. The company is fully supported by hundreds of broiler contract farms, dozens of hatcheries, feed mills, poultry processing plants and processed-meat plants.
These facilities are closely supervised and monitored, creating a highly efficient supply chain in poultry integration, which has consistently earned Triple A ratings by the National Meat Inspection Service for cleanliness.
Like many industry leaders, the company has seen its fair share of challenges. The implementation of the Asian Free Trade Agreement helped facilitate an open market which led to cheaper imports. Faced with thin margins and fierce competition, the company faced a dire threat to its existence.
BAVI, under Mr Mascarina's leadership, undertook bold measures to diversify its operations, and launched its own retail operation and developed a complementary range of cooked chicken and dressed chicken products (dressed chicken have had all the internal organs, head and other inedible parts removed).
In 2009, BAVI launched its oven-roasted chicken business under the trade name "Chooks To Go", completing the integration cycle of poultry operations, from the farm to the dinner table.
BAVI now owns three food store brands: Uling Roasters, Reyal and Maro food stores. It has set itself apart from the industry by being the first and only poultry integrator to offer antibiotics-free chicken.
Today BAVI is the country's No 1 poultry integrator, and largest rotisserie chicken chain, with more than 1,000 rotisserie stores nationwide - an unprecedented achievement by any other company.
"These challenges affirmed my perspective of the importance of a good reputation founded on ethical and fair business relationships; and the paramount importance of competent and trustworthy people in the organisation working as a team," says Mr Mascarinas.
He sees the keys to the company's success in the trinity of "Vision, People and Training". "A good leader teaches, guides, and even handholds, if needed. A good leader does everything to ensure that people who work with them are encouraged, and taught the value of discipline," he asserts.
Through his direct initiative, BAVI is the only poultry company with a dedicated training and development department, which is staffed by full-time trainers and headed by a manager.
To date, they have developed 14 modules for soft skills and operation training for its 900 employees. Personal development programmes such as the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" are conducted in-house by the company's own licensed facilitators.
Supervisory and senior management members of staff undergo Performance-Oriented Leadership Programmes and Executive Leadership programmes. In addition, the company invests in high potential staff by offering scholarships to formal studies such as MBAs and other specialised/professional courses.
BAVI Corporate Social Responsibilities are focused on socio-cultural and health aspects. They conduct social values seminars eight times a month in various communities and government units, and regularly organise blood donation, tree-planting campaigns, community clean-up and feeding programmes.
MORS Group chief executive officer, Shanggari Balakrishnan, enthused about BAVI's frontman, saying: "Mascarinas is an exceptional leader who has demonstrated sound leadership, successfully applying management wisdom to spearhead growth and prominence for his organisation.
"He is an individual who exhibits the ideal blend of business acumen, professionalism, entrepreneurial calibre and astuteness. As President of the company, Mr Mascarinas bore the weight of the continued success - in fact, the very survival - of his company.
"To come back so powerfully from a position where trade agreements had driven one into a corner, and in fact, to deliver even stronger growth and market dominance, is something that makes Mr Mascarinas exactly the kind of Outstanding Leader we seek to champion at the ACES Awards."