Bill Stoufer, COO of Ardent Mills, has been working in the Midwest food production and grain processing industry for 28 years. His passion extends to working with the farmers, growers, and producers who supply raw product to Ardent Mills for processing into the 2,000 annual SKU’s they ship out across the country.
With his unwavering watch over the grain refinement industry, Bill weighs in on what trends to watch for in the technology of agribusiness. Catch the 3 takeaways below.
1. Use analytics to identify issues before they arise
Bill is a firm believer in using machine learning to power “predictive analytics”. As he notes when it comes to these tools, they should not only “keep the train on the tracks, but tell me when it starts to get a little wobbly.”
Data has huge potential to increase profitability, but only if you can identify what is relevant to your current processes, and what may become relevant in the future. Having your data prioritized, and understanding what to use, is critical for good decision making in any industry. With the “business curiosity” and insight to make use of information in the right way at the right time, you can develop what Bill calls a “sustainable competitive business advantage.”
2. Leadership skills and practices must adapt to a changing market
Implementation of new strategies and practices are essential to a company’s growth. Good ideas come from many sources, not just upper management. Bill advises having all levels of your team involved in discussion of new policies or practices. You should also watch out for innovation from unexpected areas.
When implementing change in your organization, senior leadership should lead by example, explain the how and why, and find the “creative thought leaders” deeper down the chain to make sure they understand your vision and can spread it internally. In the end, everyone should feel like they were part of the implementation and integrate with it going forward.
3. Early technology adopters will discover the competitive advantage
Those companies on the leading edge of exploring and adopting new technologies not only have a more flexible, adaptive mindset and ability to react to customer needs and market changes, they will attract a higher caliber of talent in the workforce. Technology competency is high in the millennial generation, and the best and brightest will be attracted to the idea of working with the latest innovations as they happen.
With better technological tools, companies can enable a better work-life balance due to increased efficiency and integration of technological aids. No matter how awesome the tech may be, you need good people to work with it. Human + machine = success.
Listen to the full interview with Bill Stoufer below