.. gers of Farmland.
Farmland has a traditional management style, with three Executive Vice Presidents directly under Cleberg that are responsible for a major core business area. There are well-defined lines of authority and ordinary layers of management (Tolley 1). Farmland evokes a “family feeling” by implicating the use of teams in decision making processes (Tolley 1).According to Warren Tolley, Director of Employee and Organizational Development, “It is not unusual to find employees that have been here 20 to 30 years, and most of them with Agricultural roots” (1). Farmland focuses on employee satisfaction, making employee feedback necessary if improvements are to be initiated.
According to Cleberg, “If you dont have some form of regularly scheduled communication, youll communicate just after you should have communicated” (Hartke D). By this statement, Farmlands CEO stresses the importance of employees appropriate communication within an organization. At Farmland management focus on “total utilization of all assets of the division” (Farmland 16).
Their main focus is to generate higher margins, reduce costs, and improve the competitive position.In todays market, management plays a bigger role than it has in the past. Competition is greater, meaning that having current information, better and more advanced management skills, and access to financing are very critical to the bottom line of the company (Farmland 16). Education & Training Early into Farmland’s history, few educational meetings had been held. However, they suddenly realized how important the education process was for the cooperation movement. Sessions held for managers and other officials affiliated with what was then Union Oil company, were held as far north as Aberdeen, South Dakota, and as far south as McPherson, Kansas. According to Homer Young, “Education is the chief problem of the cooperative movement” (Fite 104).In 1936-37, Farmland cooperated with Kansas State college to offer a seven week training course to train Farmlands leaders.
They immediately hired four of the thirty students that graduated from the course. By the 1970s Farmland had several training techniques. Some of these were located at the School of Cooperation, named the Farmland Training Center in 1975, while others were carried on out in the fields. By 1977 the center had 18 professional instructors on staff.
There were training programs for cooperative members, board members, sales representatives, cooperative accountants, those handling special products such as petroleum and other chemicals, and many others (Fite 105). Today, there is a tremendous amount of training going on at Farmland.”Each year, through an agreement with Rockhurst College in Kansas City, about 12 of the top executives are nominated and sent to an Executive MBA program, which lasts two years, with classes held on alternate Fridays and Saturdays” (Tolley 2). “When they are through,” says John Eller, director of IS Planning, “these employees can pretty much write their own career tickets” (Computerworld 43). Each and every employee gets to go through training, not just top executives. Everyone takes classes on such things as time-management, problem solving, sexual harassment, and even team-building assignments.
International As stated earlier, Farmland Industries Inc. does business in over 70 countries around the world.The largest international office is in Mexico City, Mexico. This branch office is used in this section as an example of an international office. In the Mexico City office, all of the Farmland employees are trained so they have an idea of the size of the company and how each section of the company works. By allowing employees to understand this process, potential customers can be brought to the company and referred to the pertinent departments.
During the training, all the personnel are taught about the cooperative decision making process.Consequently, they will learn about the philosophy and operational process of each division (Cabrera). The Farmland office in Mexico City is a subsidiary for the offices in Kansas City. Their function is to introduce Farmland into the Latin American countries, look for investors, find new distributors, learn about other countries credit system, laws and regulation from their departments of agriculture, and most important of all, learn about the cultures and identify all products that will be successful in their market (Cabrera). Farmland is selling feed, meat, and pet food to the Mexican and Latin American consumers. Also, they are beginning to introduce oil in form of lubricants, gasoline, and other oil based products. They have products being sold in some European countries and Asian countries.
All offices in these countries are considered distributors for Farmland, therefore; they the capacity to import and make sales separately from the Kansas City offices.On the contrary, the office in Mexico is in charge of developing new customers for the cooperative and making the sales. All orders are send back to Kansas City where they will take care of delivering the products. In Mexico city, Farmland has about 100 customers and at least one or two in each Latin American country.
Farmland is a cooperative that tries to maintain a cultural diversity. In most cases, the personnel working abroad are originally from the country where Farmland or the subsidiary is based.Although being native of the country is not a requirement, it is important to be fluent with that particular language and know the customs of the country (Cabrera). If we look at the Farmland office in Mexico City, we see that the sales personnel must have a good understanding of the Latin American culture, how well they accept new product ideas, what is their lifestyle like, credit system, and most important of all, how is the business environment like (Cabrera). One big problem a salesperson faces in Latin American countries is the credit issue. Considering that Farmland has been working abroad for over a decade, it has not fully developed trust on the foreign economies. In Latin American countries, credit is very difficult to obtain and even if you get the credit approved by a bank or other entities, Farmland acts rather conservatively and makes this process difficult for some companies. This is one of the problems salespeople encounter as they seek potential customers.
The salaries that Farmland offers abroad are very competitive, and they basically match the salaries offered by other leading companies. Income is also based on education and experience. There are two different ways you will be paid when working for Farmland in a foreign country. If you are working in the US. and then you are transfer to a foreign country, your salary will not change once you are in the other office. In addition to regular salary, you will be given a percentage extra on the currency of the country where you are going to live called expatriation allowance.
This money is supposed to help pay bills, such as house, food, and other basic necessities (Cabrera). The other way you can get paid is in 100% the currency of the country you are living in. This case is only applicable to the people who have been hired by the subsidiary in a specific country (Cabrera). As part of the training, we let people know performance will be measured in a yearly bases. When you are hired, you are requested to set some performance goals, where you will distribute your time given to the company, given to the customers and to yourself. At the end of the year you will meet with the supervisor for your division, and you both will analyze your performance and determine how productive you have been for the company (Cabrera).When the Mexico City office has people coming from the Kansas City office, they try to explain some cultural differences such as business, lunch hours, and working hours. In the business aspect, people must understand that the Latin Americans rely a lot in the relationship that is developed between the salesperson and the buyer.
A written contract is not as valuable as the trust that emerges from knowing one another as individuals. In Mexico, people work from 9am. to 6pm., and their lunch break is around 4:00pm.In some cases, people working in Mexico are suggested to start the day a little bit earlier, because in this way they will be able to contact everyone in Mexico and Kansas City. From Monday trough Thursday, all people are required to dress suit and tie, and Fridays everyone can dress more informal (Cabrera). These are some of the problems and experiences that Farmland must face to do business abroad. This is just one example of the cultural diversity, and every country will have different situations.
Conclusion In the agriculture industry today, just as anything else, things change rapidly.The American farmer and rancher need somebody to inform them of the changes that need to be made, then help them implement the changes. They also need not only to market his/her product on a local or national level, but on a global scale to remain competitive. The American consumer as well as the international consumer needs to be confident that they are getting excellent product at a competitive price. Farmland Industries is the crucial link between these two segments of the market. It is a system that has proven strong for many decades and promises to be strong for many more.WORKS CITED Alm, Rick.
“Gamblin on the River.” The Kansas City Star Almanac. 1996. Cabrera, Mario. Telephone interview. 20 Nov.1996.
Fite, Gilbert C. Beyond the Fence Rows. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, 1978. Fite, Gilbert C. Farm to Factory.University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, 1965. Hartke, Debby.
“Farmlands Harry Cleberg: Agri-marketer of the year.” Agri Marketing June 1996: A-D. Tolley, Warren D. E-mail to the author. 8 October, 1996. “Top 125 Area Private Companies-Part I.
” Kansas City Business Journal 14 June 1996: 20-24. Appendix 1992 Annual Report.The Farmland Cooperative System, 1993. 1994 Annual Report.
The Farmland Cooperative System, 1995. 1995 Annual Report. The Farmland Cooperative System, 1996.”We Bring Quality to the Table” The Farmland Cooperative System. 1996: 61 U.
S. Bureau of the Census 1995.