In the past two years, DMK has repositioned itself and undergone an organisational restructuring process which presents a particular challenge for all employees. In this context, the company did more than simply merge the corporate functions for all areas in Bremen. Of the current 7,500 employees, one in five also took on new roles. The demands on managers rose significantly, not least because of this fact.

Culture change in a new structure

In order to address its current and future mission adequately, DMK effected a culture change within the company which is characterised by transparency, respect, leadership competence and a close community. In a modern cooperative-based company, every employee is intended to be aware of the meaning of his or her task and his or her impact on the company’s profits. Since 2016, DMK has been developing a harmonised set of HR tools that is based on the company’s core values “entrepreneurial”, “fair” and “innovative” and on a new competence model.

After the completion of MOVE in June 2018, the culture change promoted by DMK is the next step in realigning the company as a modern, customer-oriented food manufacturer which spots trends early and adapts its product range swiftly to markets and customer wishes

After the completion of MOVE in June 2018, the culture change promoted by DMK is the next step in realigning the company as a modern, customer-oriented food manufacturer which spots trends early and adapts its product range swiftly to markets and customer wishes. To fill the new structure with a new spirit, the company needs a cultural change that influences every employee’s attitude and conduct so that every member of staff will ensure top performance and the best possible quality in his or her own job.

Having modernised the structure, DMK is therefore now doing the same with the culture, to develop, from the inside out and with a strong “we” feeling and awareness of performance and quality, a product range that will impress customers now and in the future. The compass for the alignment of the new corporate culture is the vision and the mission, framed by the guiding core values “entrepreneurial”, “fair” and “innovative”. The frame is being set by the Management Team – for example, through uniform management principles, employee appraisal interviews and the best possible opportunities for training and continuing personal development.

Progress reviewed

The new feedback culture plays a central role in the company’s transformation. It aims for respect, transparent leadership and employee development and satisfaction. DMK uses detailed digital employee surveys to regularly review the extent to which the desired change is taking effect in employees’ everyday working life. The results show wins as well as indicating action requirements from which concrete measures can be derived.

The company conducted two such “Change Tracker” surveys in the year under review. Employees from all sites took part. The results of the anonymous surveys can be assigned to individual teams and provide evidence of a significant positive trend in the areas where DMK has already taken concrete steps.

New organisational structure implemented

The transformation of the organisational structure was completed in the summer of 2018. It repositions DMK as a food manufacturer and puts in place a leaner and more agile structure which focuses on profitable and promising business units. Factory closures were also unavoidable in the course of the implementation and to compensate the loss of almost one billion kilos of milk at the end of 2018. The company implemented these as planned in the year under review and closed the sites in Rimbeck (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Bad Bibra (Saxony-Anhalt). In the current fiscal year, DMK will also shut down the factory in Bergen on the island of Rügen as planned and discontinue cheese slicing and packaging at Nordhackstedt in Schleswig-Holstein. No further factory closures are planned at present.

Development of employees and managers

DMK sees ongoing development and further training of employees as an essential element in its future success and the competitiveness of the company. Against this background, the company also is also taking new routes in human resources development, and in 2018 implemented a continuing professional development programme that will run to the end of 2019 and provide employees with further job skills with around 2,000 different projects.

The offering ranges from various individual functional measures in production and methodological skills and personality development throughout the entire DMK Group to extensive executive development programmes in production. All employees receive regular training for further development purposes – for example on the topics of occupational health and safety, management principles and leadership principles. Many trainings are held online, enabling the company to increase the events’ flexibility and efficiency.

The aims of all training projects are to achieve a performance culture and to develop the skills of all employees to boost work quality. A particular focus of the continuing professional development (CPD) measures lies in improving leadership quality and putting in place a uniform understanding of leadership throughout the DMK Group. This is aligned with the DMK leadership principles and the company’s competence model.

Our leadership principles represent binding rules for executives and establish a uniform leadership culture and a comprehensive range of feedback processes. 

A particular further training project is a business game for which employees were able to register in the year under review. In the online-based business simulation, four DMK teams steered their own virtual company, with all functions and business areas, from October 2018 to May 2019. Apart from networking among the participants, who come from nine different functional areas, the game also aims to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking and action and build participants' business management knowledge.

Successes of in-house CPD

DMK introduced an individual CPD programme in 2015 to develop employees. The development programme is aimed at individual, vocational and university training. There are 20 places available every year, for which employees can apply in consultation with their line manager. A review in 2018 showed that around 80 percent of the participants supported during their master craftsman’s training or university degree achieved a higher-level position after the project.

DMK is giving executives further training in the commercial field in a special programme. This practical programme consists of five modules and is aimed at improving leadership quality and achieving a uniform understanding of leadership.

Attractive employer

Employees by type of employment contract Number (%)
Total number 5.742 100
Permanent 5.051 88
Of whom, full-time 4.669 92,4
Of whom, part-time 382 7,6
Temporary 691 12%
Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements1 5.647 98,3
Employee turnover 681 11,9
New hires2 720 12,5

DMK GmbH + at least 75 subsidiaries (region Germany and Netherlands), without DOC Kaas, deadline 31.12.2018

1 Excluding senior executives
2 Excluding seasonal workers

In the year under review, DMK undertook a wide range of measures in pursuit of its goal to become the top employer in the food sector by the year 2020, as expressed in the DMK 2020 sustainability strategy. The revamped communication culture at all levels of the company plays an important role here. This culture is also being promoted by the new employee appraisal interview (EAI) which was introduced in the year under review to support a dialogue- and feedback-oriented performance culture. It focuses on assessing the performance and skills of every employee and thereby developing his or her potential in a systematic and targeted fashion.

The systematic information flow via new communication formats also contributes to greater loyalty to the company. These formats are characterised by a mix of print and digital media, with quick infos and in-depth briefings on new projects and market developments. These projects also reflect one of the company’s fundamental convictions: this huge transformation in the corporate alignment can only succeed if we spark employees’ enthusiasm for it and provide them continuously with transparent information.

DMK also builds employee satisfaction by measures to promote good health and with support in personal concerns. For example, the company has offered its employees expert psychosocial consultancy free of charge since 2015. DMK standardised its integration management on a group-wide basis In the year under review. DMK also supports employees in the important area of career-family compatibility with the offer of practical services for childcare and home care/elder care. More and more employees are using the back-up service, which offers a replacement for a regular carer at short notice in emergencies.

Overview of communication channels

Milchwelt online

Milchwelt kompakt

Milchwelt Magazin


Excellent training company

DMK impressed external jurors with its qualities as an employer in 2018 as in previous years. For example, DMK was unanimously voted the German dairy industry’s training company of the year 2018 for its Zeven site by representatives of the Milchindustrie-Verband e. V. (Association of the German Dairy Industry, MIV) and the Zentralverband Deutscher Milchwirtschaftler e. V. (Central Association of German Dairy Farming, ZDM).

DMK is training 37 young people in eight different apprenticeship professions at the Zeven site, which has a total workforce of over 1,000. Excellent trainer Marina Schomacker is one example representing more than 70 trainers who ensure the quality of training within the group day by day.

In August and September of the year under review, a total of 65 young people started new apprenticeships at DMK. The company sees its commitment to high-quality, future-oriented training as an investment in the future.




We engage in an authentic, innovative and personal way with attracting young people to start careers in the dairy world. Our apprentices are the future of our company.

Ines Krummacker, CHRO DMK Group

DMK offers young talents an apprenticeship that serves as a foundation for a successful career and guarantees good prospects of rising within the company because of high quality and the proportion of qualifying apprentices offered permanent jobs. An annual start-up event informs new apprentices about these prospects and other things. At that meeting in the year under review, the new apprentices had the chance to become acquainted with the company and its different departments and to network with each other.

In August of that year, DMK also held its first ever “Trainer’s Day” to promote an exchange of thoughts and ideas and identify the need for support. The results from the event will be incorporated into an overall concept for trainers at DMK, with which the company wishes to further improve training quality.


Occupational health and safety improved

The health and safety of all employees takes high priority at DMK. For this reason, the company once more took a large number of measures in the year under review to successfully reduce accident rates. The fall in the number of accidents compared to the previous year is due in part to DMK programmes to ensure that the most frequent causes of accidents are avoided. The focus in 2017 was on stumbles, slips and falls (SSF). In 2018, the company addressed the area of accidents with machinery and tools (M/T). Just under one third of all accidents fell into this category in the year under review.




To reduce this total, DMK not only carried out measures on the equipment in the year under review, but also conducted occupational safety trainings for skilled personnel and increased their mutual exchange of information. In addition, the company trained all employees in how to avoid accidents with machines and tools and provided them with extensive informational materials. The impact of these measures is demonstrated by the fact that the number of accidents with machines and tools fell by four percent compared to the previous year’s figures. The company reduced days’ absence in this area by 32 percent. In the current fiscal year, the focus is on the topic of accidents with hazardous substances and steam.

DMK also standardised work reintegration management across the group in the year under review and introduced a new method of assessing psychological risks at three factories. The intention is to design workplaces in such a way as to sustainably improve employees’ identification, motivation and performance capabilities. All factories are to be assessed by this method by the end of 2020.


  • DMK GmbH + subsidiaries of which DMK owns a minimum of 75% (excl. DP Supply). 2018 figures include DOC Kaas for the first time and are therefore not fully comparable with the previous year's.

Successful participation in premium award process

In 2018, all DMK sites once more participated successfully in the premium award process of the BGN (the statutory accident insurance company for the food industry and related sectors). Every year, the BGN pays premiums for special efforts in occupational health and safety, which are then re-invested in these efforts in the following year. DMK uses the premiums paid for occupational safety measures. The premium award process therefore contributed once more in the year under review to the process of continuously improving occupational health and safety at DMK.


Employee statistics


employees in total


years of tenure





Employees by gender 2018


Supervisory Board


Management Team


2nd level

Proportion of women

6,9% = 396

severely disabled persons and equivalent

3,3% = 188






Employees on parental leave


hours of training and CPD


hours per attendence


aged 30-50


> 50


< 30

Age structure of employees

More chapter topics

Milk processing