I am so proud to be Chairman of Duffields Mills Limited as it reached its historic 125th year of trading. I wanted to mark this achievement by producing a website to celebrate my family, our staff and Duffields the business, using memorabilia handed down to me through the generations.
Duffields is a family-owned business steeped in tradition and respect; but having that history does not necessarily mean that you will be successful and, certainly in today's tough economic climate, a business cannot rely on a name and historical links alone. Management have to make difficult decisions to ensure the longevity of a company, embrace technological advances and ensure that product quality and customer service are of the highest standard, whilst also maintaining profits for stakeholders - quite a list!
The company has been through a variety of major incidents. My great grandfather William Lant Duffield survived bankruptcy, flooding, two world wars, droughts and the depression. My father, Hugh Anthony Duffield (known as Tony) guided us through flooding and a major expansion period. Since I have been Chairman, we have overcome swine flu, bird flu, foot and mouth disease and double dip recessions. Due to its localised and simple management structure, the company has always been able to make quick business decisions and respond to current needs and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
During the course of research for this website, I found myself questioning why my relatives made the decisions that they did and the rationale for acquisitions that they made. I will never know the answers. But, the moral and ethical guidelines with which the Duffields family run the business has remained constant. These core trading concepts have stood us in good stead during turbulent times.
Duffields remains a trusted brand within the agricultural sector, fulfilling industry needs and exceeding customer expectations across the UK. Duffields was founded in Norfolk and has always taken a quietly active role in the community. The heart of the business will always remain here, but to continue to be successful we had to look further afield. In the future, I anticipate Duffields will continue to expand across the UK to meet the growing demands of existing and new customers.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to my family and each and every member of staff at Duffields, both past and present. They have shown dedication and commitment to building the business into the success it has become, and will continue to be. When you have a good team around you, you will never be alone in your endeavors and that support is gratefully received.
I hope you find something of interest as you start your journey on this website and get an inside view into how Duffields has developed, evolved and thrived across two centuries.
Chairman & Managing Director, Duffields