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Success of CowManager by Guus and Gerard

Guus Oostveen, CEO of CowManager, and Gerard Griffioen, the founder of CowManager, about the circumstances leading to CowManager's success and their plans for its future.

A successful international technology company located on a dairy farm in the village of Harmelen in the Netherlands. How did that happen?
Griffioen: ‘It all started here in Harmelen 1984. We are a family business that understands dairy farmers. In the beginning, we developed software for dairy farmers from the back house of the farm where I was born. Later, milk processing companies and veterinarians were added. At one point I made ear sensors for cows. That went so well that I rejected all other activities.’

What made you decide to shift the focus to sensors?
Griffioen: ‘The turning point was a visit with a veterinarian in the United States in 2005. My VetTrack software program for veterinarians was awarded. This was followed by an invitation from Bill Gates of Microsoft, followed by a tour of American dairy farms. Here I saw how farmers struggled with health around the calving period and I came up with the idea to help them with technology.’

What distinguishes CowManager of other cow monitoring programmes?
Oostveen: ‘While the rest were still busy with collars and leg collars, we were the first to launch a product for the ear. The system is plug-and-play and compatible with most management systems. So no pulling cables through the entire barn or learning complicated operations. And Is there no power connection, for example in outdoor grazing, then we provide solar panels.’
Griffioen: ‘It is also useful that dairy farmers can authorize others to view the alerts and data, such as: staff, veterinarians and/or inseminators. This was very useful during the COVID-19 crisis when outsiders were no longer allowed to visit the companies.’

You say CowManager monitors cows with impressive precision data. What are the actual benefits for a farmer?
Oostveen: ‘The sensors measure ear temperature, activity, rumination, eating and resting behavior. That says something about fertility, health, nutrition, and location. By combining that data, deviations emerge. For example, an alert on your smartphone tells you three to four days before it can be clinically determined whether an animal has pneumonia. Metabolic problems surrounding calving can be avoided by treating the animal with preventative medication. In short; the result is that the dairyman saves time and veterinarian costs whilst also improving the general health of the herd and increases milk production.’

CowManager does not go for the standard solution. Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Griffioen: ‘Every day we gain experience among the cows in our own company. I regularly walk among the cows and discover what could be improved upon, what information is needed. In addition, we actively listen to our customers. We have customers worldwide who actively think along about innovations and test them.’ 
Oostveen: ‘The team consists of a good mix of young and experienced people, often with a livestock farming background and creative entrepreneurship. They think in terms of improvements and are given the space to show initiative. Committed and smart guests; you need that as a fast-growing business.’

You have a growth mindset. How do you keep that focus?
Oostveen: ‘Our aim is to produce as many sensors as possible at a global scale. To achieve this, we have dealers all over the world, we are expanding our staff and a new barn will be built with the most modern and sustainable techniques. Agile working fits well in our organization. With short cycles, stand ups and steps towards the end goal. What could be more fun than to keep coming up with smart solutions that help the customer further!’

And it has a lasting impact!
Oostveen: ‘That's Right! We think of ourselves as a purpose-driven organization. It is a product that is developed here with effort of each and every employee. With CowManager sensors the welfare of the cows improve as well as the efficiency and feed optimalization and the use of antibiotics, and foreign hormones will reduce. In addition, it gives the farmer greater freedom, they know that the herd is being monitored 24/7 and it has up to date and accurate information always available on their phone.’

How do you envision the future of dairy farming?
Oostveen: ‘World’s population is growing and prosperity increasing, sustainable milk production is more important than ever. At the same time, rules and regulations get stricter while raw materials, labor and energy become more expensive. With all this in mind, sustainability and productivity is clearly the key to success for all dairy farmers.’

What are your goals for the future of CowManager?
Oostveen: ‘We aspire to continue to produce and market innovative cow monitoring systems in the top dairy countries with a loyal and passionate customer base. We continuously develop, together with our customers, smart and easy to use solutions to make farmers’ lives easier and to achieve a successful and sustainable future in global farming.’ 


Try CowManager yourself. Download the free Demo App and discover all the benefits of monitoring your herd 24/7 with CowManager.