ARA Conference Highlights: Presenters showcase top ideas
Attendees were asked to identify what positions within their own companies held similar key roles. Top answers included the receptionist, sales people, bookkeeper, manager, applicator and feed truck driver.
Posting a job has become more of an outmoded way to hire someone, Grabow said. She said networking through social media is becoming more relevant in the job hunt today than ever before. She recommended cultivating relationships outside of the industry. She said retailers need to be constantly meeting people and evaluating if they could be potential candidates to be hired.
Other highlights of the breakout session included standardizing the selection and interview process for potential employees, considering a more diverse workplace, performance management accountability and best practices and managing poor performers.
Bill Keogh, AgKnowlogy, during the other breakout session talked about “how do we achieve sustainable growth” by an ag retailer. His point was to understand the customer and do what will build on customer satisfaction. “We know a lot more about the acre than the man,” he said referring to farmers and their land. There is a huge focus on being technical in this age of precision ag rather than understanding the customer more deeply.
Companies have to have a strategic focus to visualize how service is delivered now and look at what the customer is doing that the ag retailer could support. There has to be a key customer account plan, Keogh said. Share of business is driven by customer experience. “Share of business is a report card on how well you meet needs,” he added.
Also during this session, the R-7 Tool precision data tool from Winfield Solutions was explained. This was a complete switch from the man to the acre topic in the afternoon. The R-7 refers to explaining the value and use of data about right genetics, right soil type, right plant population, right cropping system, right traits, right plant nutrition and right crop production.
The R-7 Tool takes Answer Plots data and cuts, slices and dices it for use by ag retail agronomists salespersons and farmers. Additional data such as soil maps, yield maps and satellite imagery are added into the tool.
One of the morning speakers of Nov. 29, included John May, president of agricultural solutions and chief information officer with John Deere. In his presentation, “Agriculture Industry Trends and Developments,” May offered insight into the ag industry’s fundamentals. He said global grain production and consumption will continue to increase steadily. The U.S. farm balance sheet is expected to remain very positive and strong, but the business climate will be complex and dynamic as the macroeconomic outlook is fragile due to EU debt, the U.S. fiscal situation and China and Brazil. In addition, increasingly interrelated markets will continue to lead to market volatility and concerns over food security.