A few days ago, my mentor gave me the responsibility of making sure that all logistics and sales floor team members are up to date with their back room machinery certifications. Team members can be certified on the compactor, baler, wave, and stacker. My duty is to follow up with team members and give them the training materials and have them sign that they went through the process. Having all of these team members be certified is crucial to compliance. If we have a visit from a district supervisor and they notice that some team members are not certified, our store could get into trouble. I’m grateful that I was given such a big responsibility during my last two weeks of the internship.
Today I also learned how to set an adjacency. Setting an adjacency is the retail phrase for moving around racks and clothing on the sales floor to how corporate wants it to be. Sometimes clothes that were already out stay on the floor and are just moved around. Other times, completely new articles of clothing are placed on the sales floor. Along with the clothes, signs must be arranged. Each week, the new adjacency plan is put into something called a Merchandise Update. This update also includes audits and other projects.
Today I was able to tour the wonderful world of specialty crops that use Syngenta chemistry to control weeds, insects, and fungi. The area I was touring was in Newago/Grant area, where the soil type is mostly muck. Specialty crops (onions, parsnips, rutabegga, carots) thrive in this type of soil. Spending the summer scouting traditional row crops, this was foreign territory for me. What the retailer showed the sales rep and I was just some of the areas in which Syngenta chemistry was used, and how they performed. The growing seasons were different for all the various crops, as well as how they are harvested. What was interesting to me was watching how parsnips and rutabeggas were packaged. Very efficient facilities and all of them were very clean. This was nearly my favorite days all summer long!
Pollination time will be winding down probably by this weekend in the nursery. The nursery is where most new varieties start and is where the first cuts are made on whether to advance the variety or not. I have been working in many different areas in the nursery. There are three separate parts, the south, middle and north. In these sections there are certain areas that get pollen freely from the wind and others that we cover and cross-pollinate so the silk gets one certain kind of pollen. I spent time in the BMR’s which is a silage section and BMR is a trait the corn has called Brown Mid Rib. In this section we did two different kinds of pollination, one is a self which means using that plants own pollen to be put on the silk and another is a cross where we brought a males pollen from a tassel to the silk of a female. Most of the self or cross-pollination is decided by which generation it is and there goes up the three. Every section had F1’s, F2’s and F3’s which is the number of years that material has been in the field and pollinated by itself or cross pollen.
Pollination time this year will last two to two and a half weeks. The heat and now the rain we have got lately has helped push things along quickly so hopefully the nine-hour days seven days a week will end soon. I have learned a lot just being in the nursery because I get to see how certain varieties are selected to be suppressed or held onto for data. Only some varieties of the many that are in the field move on to be yield tested in later stages.
Yesterday the 30th, I went to the district office and presented to the 40 highest executives in my region and district about want I learned in my internship and also about what can be done to improve customer feedback. For improving customer feedback I had to teach all the associates in my store what the system is, how to use the system, and coach them everyday on entering merchandise customers are looking for. Through the results I received, I learned that there were many requests for Michael Kors and Guess watches and that there is potential along with profit in that area for my store. After doing my presentation I felt like I did exactly what I wanted to do which was prove to the district merchants we need those watches in the store. When I came to work this morning, the district merchant for fine jewelry told me she took the numbers from my presentation and passed them to her district planner to see when is the soonest my store could get the watches in the store. I’m happy I was able to get the results I was looking for and look forward to my store getting more merchandise.
Today, I went into Target at 4am to see the logistics end of things again. There were about 21 logistics team members that were there for the early morning shift. Several of them came in at 3:30 in the morning to start unloading the truck. Two team members were in the truck putting boxes onto the line. One team member scans each box that passes on the line to see if it becomes backstock or gets pushed to the floor. She puts a red line through the barcode if the box needs to be backstocked. There are 5-7 team members that stand along the line creating pallets with the boxes that come down the line. They sort the boxes by the location that they are going to throughout the store. Once the truck is completely unloaded, the pallets are then moved to the locations throughout the store. More team members sort these pallets into carts for each aisle. Meanwhile, back room team members are creating batches from the backstock of items that need to be pushed to the floor. All of these processes are timed. The goal today was for the truck to be completely unloaded by 6:05 am and for the team members to be done pushing the product to the floor by 10:45am. Most flow team members are only scheduled on the grid until 9:00am, so the ETL of Logistics has to extend some team member hours until the pushing is completed. That then creates a problem with the payroll. The more team members that are present during the early morning hours means the unloading of the truck and the pushing of the product to the floor happens faster and payroll is saved.
We are seeing a lot of spider mite damage in soybean fields. Drought conditions promote spider mites too. Once you see them it’s easy to know what they look like in different fields. Both of these pictures are of spider mite damage. If you look in the far back of both of the fields you can see a darker green color of soybeans and in the front the color is lighter. The lighter soybeans are the ones that have spider mite damage. Spider mites usually start on the outside of fields and work their way in.
Again we are reading this weird word…fungicide. It turns out that the drought stricken areas of southwestern MI have had the relief of rain, and the middle of the state further benefitted from this as well. Which leads into the ability for farmers to gain the yield potential they so desperately desire, especially with the commodity markets up up and away. Fungicides not only provide curatie protection and preventative protection against fungus, but also provide the ability for the plant to stay greener, longer, thus photosynthesizing longer, and essentially producing more yield. Wether this be corn or soybeas, if I were to make a decision on a fungicide, you better bet I would.
This is a picture of a display that I am responsible for at a Kroger store in Lansing. The Seagram’s Escapes wine coolers are offered for a $1 a bottle for a summer promotion that many Kroger and Walmart stores have picked up. Although keeping these bins full can make my job difficult, it’s pretty cool to see good merchandising have such a lasting effect on sales numbers. During early July one of my Walmart clients reported having sales of 50 bottles per flavor being sold every day. This promotion started at the beginning of the summer and will last all the way through Labor Day.
Here is a picture of the main tent at our Gagetown Answer Plot session 1. There was over 100 people in attendence from farmers, local Co-op employees, and sales reps from various companies. My main task was to keep things running smoothly because there was 4 different stations and each on had a 25 min. time limit. I also was able to hear some bits and pieces from each station where I feel I learned a lot of important stuff. I also was able to give a spraying demonstration with one of our products inerlock which is an adjuvant. Session 2 will be held on August 21st and I hope we get over 200 people to show up.
In the times of too much rain or drought there are certain diseases that occur. While walking through the nursery you can notice quite a bit of corn smut on the corn. This disease grows when you have a drought and is white on the outside with black or blue spores. This is very noticeable fungus as you can see it on the stalk, ear or the tassel. I have been able to see it in all three places and ranges in size from small to very large and noticeable like the one in the picture.