Glenn, you have been working for
Berg+Schmidt since 1996. How did your
career start, and what does your everyday
work involve now?
Glenn Riemer: My job in Hamburg initially
had two focal points. One of my tasks was to
establish a quality system in the company,
and secondly I was the product manager for
castor oil derivatives. In that function I purchased
products from India and organized
sales and logistics in Europe.
In the course of this work it soon became
clear to me that the profitability of a producing
company has a lot to do with the
purchase of raw materials. I also realized
the importance of quality assurance on the
spot. Because differences in the culture,
educational system, infrastructure and economic
situation of the countries concerned
result in different notions of quality. That
means it’s essential to organize the purchase
of raw materials locally. We set about
doing that in 1996, by establishing our first
affiliate in Asia, Berg+Schmidt Pte Ltd, in
Singapore. This was followed by the establishment
of Berg+Schmidt (Malaysia) Sdn
Bhd in 1998.
On 1 June 1998 I switched from our headquarters
in Hamburg to Singapore. At first,
my main task was to build up a marketing
organization for BergaFat in Asia and establish
a quality system for our Asian companies.
Now I’m largely responsible for the
procurement of raw materials and for production,
besides various new projects.
International enterprises operate on very
different lines in different parts of the
world. How do Berg+Schmidt Malaysia
and Berg+Schmidt Asia differ from the
German headquarters in respect of their
Glenn Riemer: There are no essential differences
between the business models in Hamburg and Asia. Both enterprises have
the same specialization, namely the lipid
product group and its applications in animal
nutrition. But there are different focal
points and responsibilities in the field of fat
How many employees are there altogether
in Singapore and Malaysia, and what values play the most important role
in your company?
Glenn Riemer: In Singapore and Malaysia
we currently employ a staff of about 80. As
far as corporate values are concerned, partnership
is doubtless one of the concepts
most often mentioned. To my mind, good
partnership can be measured simply by the
length of time cooperation continues. We
are proud to say that nearly all our marketing
partners, raw material suppliers and
contract manufacturers in Asia have been
cooperating with us for over a decade. In
this connection I would like to quote the
owner of our firm, Volkmar Wywiol: “Business
is building friendship”. I have experienced
the truth of that saying myself, in
my years of work in Asia. Most of our business
partners are more than just customers
or suppliers: they are friends of our enterprise!
Of course our day-to-day business consists
mainly of producing and selling. But ultimately
it is a case of winning our customers’
trust – in the form of product reliability
and safety, quality, advice on applications,
supply capability, prices, knowledge of the market or the ability to solve problems. To
my mind it’s trust that forms the basis of
long-term partnership and friendship.
Which products are currently in focus in
the Asian feed market? Are you noticing
any specific trends, and if so: how do you
cater for them?
Glenn Riemer: Most feed manufacturers
in Asia have to import the raw materials
for their feed, for example maize, soy or
wheat. These countries are also net importers
of vegetable oils and fats. That means
the energy content of the feed is an important
topic in the region. So the role
Berg+Schmidt plays in Asia is obvious: we
offer standardized solutions geared to the
needs of the different animal species. They
include rapidly expanding products like
BergaFat HTL-316 for monogastric animals
and BergaPlus D for dairy cows.
But our objective is not just to market our
lipids as sources of energy; we also want to
help feed manufacturers optimize conversion
of the gross energy of different components
of the feed. For instance, the phospholipid
concentrate BergaPur and the NSP enzyme BergaZym have been shown to improve
the digestibility of various nutrients.
That makes it possible to reduce the cost of
feed without a loss of performance.
Why does Berg+Schmidt produce BergaFat
powder in Malaysia, and how long has it
been doing so?
Glenn Riemer: With an annual volume
of about 17 million tonnes, Malaysia is the
world’s second-largest producer of palm oil
after Indonesia. We have been producing
BergaFat at a plant of our own since 1996. It
is the only production plant specializing in
fat powders for animal nutrition, so it’s the
only one that can meet the special needs of
the feed industry. That includes direct control
of the availability and quality of the raw
materials and also of the production costs.
Malaysia has the following advantages over
Indonesia as a location:
- Better infrastructure for logistics and exports;
- More transparent trade in palm oil in respect
of prices and also of production, export
and storage volumes;
- Palm oil can be purchased for deliveries in the longer term;
- Malaysia’s palm oil industry is well organized
by various organizations such as PORAM
(Palm Oil Refiner Association Malaysia),
MPOB (Malaysia Palm Oil Board) and
RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm
- Low foreign exchange risk, since palm oil trading can also be conducted in USD within Malaysia;
- The location of our plant in Banting, in the midst of the palm oil plantations. We export much of our production, so the
nearby seaport of Klang is an advantage.
How many tonnes of palm oil are processed at your plant each year?
Glenn Riemer: The raw material for our
products is refined palm oil. There are eight
big refineries within a radius of about 100
km, and from these we can always order
fresh raw material. We process about
100,000 tonnes of palm oil a year at our
plant in Banting. Altogether a staff of about
50 work round the clock, seven days a week.
The plant is only closed for two days at the
Chinese New Year.
Can you describe the production process for BergaFat?
Glenn Riemer: At our plant the RBD palm
oil is first crystallized and fractionated. That
enables us to adjust it to the required fatty
acid composition, iodine number and melting
point of the fat. This process is carried
out by purely physical means, by regulating
the temperature and pressure; no chemical
additives are needed.
Special blending tanks and homogenizers
make it possible to work further ingredients
and additives into the fat. In the case of
BergaFat HTL-306 and HPL-106, for example,
we add phospholipids to the palm oil
fraction as emulsifiers in order to improve
the digestibility of the fat powder.
Then the crude liquid product is sprayed
into the cold spraying tower at high pressure.
In this process each individual, finely
sprayed fat droplet crystallizes as a result of
the carefully adjusted interaction of the air
current, falling distance and temperature.
The liquid fat is transformed into a highquality
powder. The particle size of the
powder can be adjusted by changing the
pressure and the size of the nozzles. From
the spray tower the powder is packed in 25 kg sacks or 625 kg Big Bags.
Our plant can process both triglycerides
(e.g. BergaFat T-300) and fatty acids (e.g.
What is the annual capacity of the spraying plant?
Glenn Riemer: Our plant has a capacity of
about 60,000 to 65,000 tonnes of BergaFat per year. The demand for BergaFat is
growing all the time, so we are currently increasing our capacity by about 6,000
tonnes a year.
How does Berg+Schmidt control the quality of the goods entering and leaving the factory?
Glenn Riemer: The raw materials arriving are analyzed in our own laboratory before
they enter the production process. Certain other parameters are checked and documented
after each step in production. Our laboratory is equipped for analysis of the
parameters FFA, PV, M&I, AV, FAC, Lovibond colour, IV, MP, AI, phosphorus and protein.
Berg+Schmidt (Malaysia) is certified according to ISO 9001:2008 and GMP+.
How many countries is BergaFat exported to?
Glenn Riemer: Berg+Schmidt exports BergaFat
to over 50 countries around the globe. More and more countries are joining them
all the time, and in some others we have been able to increase our market share. Our
success is doubtless due in part to the reasons I have already given, for instance our
concentration on the use of lipids in animal nutrition and production at the place
of origin of the raw materials. But another reason is that we are pioneers in the field
of rumen-protected fats and lecithinized fat powders. BergaFat is synonymous with
fat powder worldwide. Our strength lies in continuous enhancement of our products
and the development of new generations of BergaFat. It does make us rather proud
that the industry regards us as the market leader. That is also reflected in the fact that
our competitors copy our products – or at least try to.
Can you tell our readers what plans
Berg+Schmidt Asia and Berg+Schmidt Malaysia have for the future? What targets
have you set yourselves?
Glenn Riemer: Our overall business success
is the result of specialization. We produce tailor-made ingredients, and that makes
us a competent partner for the feed industry worldwide. We regard calcium soaps as
BergaFat’s main competitors in the cattle sector. We have set ourselves the target of
replacing 50,000 tonnes of calcium soap in the market with BergaFat in the next five
years. With that in mind we are currently developing new raw material variants and
process technologies. I don’t want to reveal any more details, as you can imagine.
Berg+Schmidt is a member of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe. What are the advantages
of belonging to this group of companies?
Glenn Riemer: First of all, the structure of
the group. The individual companies have
a high degree of specialization in specific
products and applications and can operate
independently under the umbrella of the
Stern-Wywiol Gruppe. That permits short
and fast decision routes. Another advantage is the joint Technology Centre in Ahrensburg
that combines the research and development
activities of the individual firms. For
example, we can exchange information
with SternEnzym in the enzyme sector and
make use of Sternchemie’s competence in
You have a responsible job, Glenn, and
one that involves a lot of hard work.
What do you do to relax and top up your
Glenn Riemer: I normally answer questions
about “topping up energy reserves”
by talking about our “BergaFat”. But seriously:
I enjoy my work and feel very much
at home in my sphere of responsibility. But
if I do feel a need to relax I like to do it
out of doors – in one of Singapore’s many
national parks, or at a swimming pool or