This week myself and the other interns apart of the program will be helping Kroger with on-boarding the new employees from the Hiller’s acquisition. Kroger recently bought out the Hiller’s grocery chain on the east side of the state. They acquired seven stores total. Five of those stores will be opening at the end of July, one is opening in the fall after remodel, and they closed one as it was across from a Kroger store already. The purchase was made in May, meaning they have essentially two months to hire and on-board all of these people for these new stores. This week we will be having all of the newly hired/former Hiller employees coming in all at once to train them. So we are setting up and assisting with human resource management for the next few days. It’ll be interesting to see how that many new employees all together training will go, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Over the past few weeks, I have really began to recognize the advantages gained from having an internship. Just reflecting on different meetings and conversations I have had with co-workers, and suppliers, there are a lot real-life experience that is required to be successful in a purchasing position (as I’m sure many others as well). It is often times difficult for professors or courses in general to be able to replicate that and identify strategies to get through certain situations in regards to negotiations, conversations with the team or day-to-day processes. I have learned several buyer’s specific techniques in their approach to negotiating agreements to obtain the lowest costs without sacrificing quality. Each buyer encourages me that I will eventually find the method that works best for myself, in which I feel comfortable and one that is also successful. I am also now aware of the position and majority of the roles of a buyer within the entire supply chain of a business. I have also taken the liberty to meet with different individuals throughout the company some in similar positions others in a completely different parts of the business to have them identify items that would add to the success of a future career. Some of these individuals have 30+ years of experience and can really help put things into perspective in regards to aligning yourself to the right position and path to attain growth and enjoyment in life. By doing these “interviews” if you will, I have also helped identify different positions and levels of management I hope to some day fill. One because they sound interesting and two because it will help me develop a great deal of experience that will hopefully allow me to someday reach an upper level management position or even run my own successful business some day. Upper level management or a successful entrepreneurship are two career aspirations of mine and I believe I have already begun setting the building blocks to reach those levels. I encourage you to reflect on your experience and compare it what you’ve learned in school and how it sets you apart from someone with no experience. Also, I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone to meet other people outside of your direct team to learn about their roles within your respective organization as well as ask for advice in regards to your future career and life in general. This activity will help you understand and define your own personal goals, if you are currently unsure, for what you want to do after college and the rest of your life; that time is coming soon.
Upon entering the office this morning, employees were notified that ConAgra will be divesting our private label business. We had a town hall meeting today where employees expressed concerns and top leadership was available to answer or clarify. Below is an article from Reuters:
* Private label turnaround plan draining resources -CEO
* TreeHouse Foods, Post Holdings likely buyers -KeyBanc
* ConAgra to focus on cost cuts, growing consumer business
* Fourth-qtr sales $4.10 bln vs estimated $4.14 bln
* Shares up 1.7 pct (Adds context, quotes from the earnings call, and updates share price)
By Anjali Athavaley and Sruthi Ramakrishnan
June 30 (Reuters) – ConAgra Foods Inc, the maker of Slim Jim beef jerky and Chef Boyardee pasta, said it planned to exit its struggling private label foods business as it seeks to boost profit margins and focus on its faster growing consumer foods segment.
ConAgra Chief Executive Sean Connolly, who joined in April, said on the company’s earnings call on Tuesday it was clear trying to turn around the private label business was draining resources and that the segment would likely attract significant interest from potential buyers.
ConAgra bought Ralcorp in 2013 to become the biggest maker of U.S. private label foods. The business has been plagued with problems ranging from customer service issues to pricing concessions, with sales falling nearly 6 percent in two years.
“We know that the inconsistency of our past performance is totally unacceptable,” Connolly said.
ConAgra, like others in the industry, is under pressure to cut costs and accelerate growth as consumers shift away from packaged food to options they consider to be fresher, healthier alternatives.
Earlier this month, activist hedge fund Jana Partners took a 7.2 percent stake in ConAgra, becoming its second-largest shareholder, and said it was prepared to nominate directors to the company’s board to help address “persistent underperformance” since the $5 billion Ralcorp acquisition.
“Today ConAgra acknowledged the need to pursue a new strategic direction,” Barry Rosenstein, Jana Partners managing partner, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “We look forward to our ongoing discussions with the company and its advisers.”
Shares of ConAgra were up 1.7 percent at $44.18 in midday trading.
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Akshay Jagdale wrote in a note that TreeHouse Foods Inc and Post Holdings Inc could be buyers for the private label business. Both companies did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
On the call, Connolly said the company would implement zero based budgeting, where expenses must be justified for each new period. He also left the door open to future divestitures.
“There may be brands that over time can find better homes elsewhere,” he said. “We will actively consider monetizing those assets to fuel other investments when appropriate.”
ConAgra’s net sales for the fiscal fourth quarter ended May 31 rose 3.7 percent to $4.10 billion, but came in below analysts’ average estimate.
Net profit attributable to ConAgra was $209.2 million from a loss of $324.2 million a year earlier. ConAgra’s profit of 59 cents per share, excluding items, was in line with analysts’ estimates. (Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Rodney Joyce and Chris Reese)
Last week was definitely a learning experience for me. The price of nearby corn, which is corn bought for June at a cash price usually, had consecutive rally days that drove corn prices up. These consecutive days of prices going up triggered producers to start liquidating their abundant storage of old crop. Since the farmers were selling off large amounts of their corn, local elevators and cooperatives were turning around and selling the corn they were buying from the producers straight to us. This kept the phones ringing all day on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Thursday I bought the most corn I ever have and wrote over 70 contracts throughout Thursday. It was a little bit hectic because one of the merchandisers who also buys corn was absent so I had to take most of the calls and complete my work at a rapid pace to ensure all customers phone calls were answered fairly quickly. I ended up working an hour past I usually do because I was backed up with work that I wanted to finish before the day was over. It was a long day but I am glad I was able to experience it because it will be valuable to have that experience in the future. As it turns out, the next day, Friday, two merchandisers were out that primarily help with a lot of the corn buying. This put a lot of responsibility on me to make sure I buy all the corn when customers call in. It was not as busy of a day as Thursday in terms of number of contracts I wrote, but having to manage buying corn, writing contracts, editing contracts, and some other work that usually three people do, I had to do all by myself. It was a lot to handle but I was able to accomplish everything that I needed to. When I was leaving work that day one of the senior merchandisers complimented me on my hard work and said I did a great job, which makes all the effort I put into my work worth it.
Last Friday we took a break from the internship program and went down to Melrose Park to visit the Jewel distribution center. I did not know what to expect driving down that Friday morning, but when I set my eyes on the distribution site for the first time, I was blown away.
The warehouse was much bigger than I expected. There are two warehouses on site with the largest one occupying nearly one million square feet. I walked into the building with a lot of excitement knowing the tour was going to be one to remember. We first sat through a Powerpoint presentation about the facts of the Jewel Fresh Distribution Center. They informed us about several key facts from the number of employees on site to raising the warehouse during operations several years ago. After the presentation was over, we sat through a safety video to prepare us for the hectic work environment.
When we started our tour, we first walked through the fresh and frozen warehouse. This warehouse was the smaller of the two with temperatures ranging from -20 to 50 degrees. It was crazy to see all the pitchfork drivers moving pallets and picking items so that they could be bundled up and shipped to their stores. We then went on to see the dry grocery warehouse. This warehouse had conveyor belts that sorts the items for third-party workers to form pallets to ship to the store. I was amazed by the storage capacity and how smoothly operations ran in both warehouses’. We also saw their recycling center, which is the only building on site that produces revenue. After touring the majority of the site, we then regrouped in the conference room to ask questions. The general manager of the Distribution Center ordered pizza for us all and thanked us for coming. I was truly blown away with the whole tour.
Week 6 at GreenStone FCS followed the same busy trend that the previous few weeks have. The week began the same way, a meeting with Dustin Burke. This week we discussed scored loans and the entire process that goes into closing that type of loan. We were able to use real examples throughout the learning process which gave us a glimpse at some of the common errors to watch for in scored loans. To put it simple, a scored loan is a way to assess a borrower without having a credit analyst do a manual credit report. The FSO, loan officer, can enter the main credit information into a program that provides a score for the loan, similar to a credit score. Scorecard loans have borrowing caps set on them which vary depending on the loan officer and the borrower. On Wednesday, I attended CAMMS review with a large portion of the CLU department. There were roughly twenty people in the room working on CAMMS, having a larger group like that definitely makes the process better. Generally CAMMS are a dreaded task for the credit department, but doing it with a group makes it not seem as bad because people can have fun and joke around while working. One of the interesting parts of the week was lunch during CAMMS, we had lunch provided for us and celebrated one of the CLU credit analyst’s upcoming wedding. The members of CLU all pitched in and gave him a few gifts off of his registry. It just goes to show the exceptional type of environment that GreenStone fosters and the quality people that are employed there. The rest of the week was spent continuing my work on the dairy peer comparison project and entering data into WEM. I have two events coming up next week, a regional sales meeting and a presentation workshop with the other interns.
Monday I put up three different signs in a plot field for a sales representative, I delivered chemical, and then I scouted fields for the rest of the day. Tuesday I scouted fields with two of the other interns, we had to take a tissue sample of wheat and doing so we had to collect 1 pound of leaves for a tissue sample. Then scouted more fields for the rest of our day. We saw a really neat wood sculpture driving down the road on our way to a field to scout after taking the tissue sample. We also saw some giant ragweed too. Wednesday I went to the Monsanto Dealer Knowledge Day in Mason, MI with a group from the plant. We arrived at 11:30 and they fed up lunch at noon. The caterers provided us with hamburgers, hotdogs, brats, macaroni salad, beans, fruit, cookies and drinks. It was very good! After we ate everyone there was split into 3 groups, we had 4 tents to stop at, each segment was 35 minutes long and we listened to different people talk about varieties of beans or corn and how they did last year. Thursday I sat and listened to the sales meeting that was upstairs in the office, where they had 2 guest from Mosaic come in and chat with everyone about Phosphate, Potash, Aspire, MicroEssentials, KMag, and Pegasus. For the rest of the day I went to a farmer’s house to meet with him and he gave me a list of fields that he wanted soil sampled. I took another intern with me to help out. It was very wet and muddy but we still had fun. One field we couldn’t drive back to it so the farmer let us take his quad down the small lane so we didn’t have to walk. Friday I took a bean field tissue sample for Taylor (sales rep) and scouted fields for the rest of the day with another intern.
After successfully completing my fifth week interning for Tri-County Banks, I am feeling very comfortable with my work thus far. I am also personally connecting with many customers now, as well as every employee I have encountered. This week a new teller was hired and put to work at our Imlay City branch of Tri-County Banks. Her name is Chanda, and she previously worked at a different branch location before coming to Imlay City. It is really nice having her because she has worked for Tri-County for five years, so she is very comfortable with almost every procedure needed to be accomplished!
Unfortunately, I got really sick this week and had to miss half of the work week (plus the entire weekend). With that being said, I did not learn too much new information this week. I am really excited for the upcoming weeks of my summer internship program. I will be working with the Imlay City branch Senior Loan and Lending Officer, Mike Guerin. He is going to take me to a few meetings, closings, and privately held conventions. During those special events, I will be learning a lot more inside details regarding a possible position that I could definitely see myself working in after college graduation.
This week was somewhat the same as last week. I started my week in headquarters listen to various product managers speak. These networking events are really to see if we would enjoy working in these different positions in the coming years whether they are other internships or full-time opportunities. I personally thought that being a product manager is pretty cool but it’s not for me. They deal with just about everything that has to do with a product and the departments are split up in to different categories of products such as electrical and lighting or plumbing. Product managers also deal with suppliers in negotiating prices and things of that sort.
When I got back to my DC on Tuesday I prepared for a meeting the next day with my manager about the next steps of my project and where the project was taking us. We decided to first focus on suppliers as I mentioned earlier but then we decided to focus on specific SKU’s (items) that had the most damage to them. For example SKU 24W596 has 23 damages verses SKU 4PL16 had 8 damages. Throughout the rest of the week I went around the floor to observe possible solutions to our damages.
So far during my internship at Coyote logistics I have learned a lot about the third party logistics industry as a whole. I have learned that most 3PL’s do not own any assets and that they are the middle man between the customers and the carriers. I have learned that cold calling on carriers is very difficult, and realize that although it is challenging it is something I find very interesting. I wake up everyday looking forward to going to work, because you never know what you are going to expect in the trucking industry. Everyday I am learning something new, and find that although it is challenging selling load, it is a feeling of accomplishment when you actually do book one.
Monday was my second day on the floor, selling loads to carriers. I ended up booking my first load as an employee with Coyote Logistics. Booking my first load with coyote was a great feeling. I felt like accomplished something that we have been talking about in a class room for the past two weeks during my internship. Booking that first load was a huge sigh of relief and it gave me confidence with every call I made through out the week. I ended up booking a load three more times with that carrier throughout the week. This means that I am tagged in the file and that I am the person that has the first rights on that carrier. Being tagged in a carriers file was also a huge sigh of relief due to the fact most employees at coyote have an average of ten carriers that they have the rights too. It felt great knowing that I did what full time employees do within the first few days of being on the floor. This past week was the best experience I have had at Coyote due to the fact I got an actual sense of what goes on during the day as a full time employee. Not only do I know what goes on during the week as a full time employee, but I know now that I can accomplish what a full time employee does on a day to day basis.