This week I got the opportunity to travel to and tour the processing plant that MMPA owns in Ovid, MI. This is near St. Johns on US-127. The tour consisted of first going to the waste water treatment plant that they utilize for their plant. The plant takes a lot of the waste water from Ovid and the surrounding areas and treats it so that it is able to used to wash trucks, equipment, and it used in bathrooms. The plant itself receives about five million pounds of milk per day and turns that milk into butter and raw whole milk for bottling. It also has the ability to separate the whey from the milk and then be left with skim milk. Machines can also take the milk and make powders and condensed milk products. The plant is very large and is a very good asset for the company as it allows greater versatility and decreased costs of making raw milk into a value added product. While I was there I had to train the staff on how to use a scanning machine that allows the Ovid workers to scan weight sheets in as the milk is unloaded from the trucks so that they can keep better track of the milk being received. This also helps the workers in Novi as it saves them a lot time as the Ovid plant can receive 200+ weight tickets per day.
This week has been another week similar to the previous few, as it has been very heavy on inputting into the peer comparisons that I have been working on this summer. I have essentially spent this week just really digging into the comparisons and getting all of the numbers that I have available put into them. I have gotten to a point where I have pretty much put in all of the numbers that I have available, so within the next week I will be reaching out to analysts from a number of branches to get what I can. I think that this is a great opportunity to learn a number of skills including communication and organization, as I need to keep track of the analysts that I have or need to contact.
This week I also had the opportunity to sit in a number of different meetings/informational sessions relating to the industry. I had two more of the training courses that the new hires are going through, along with a meeting with the Dairy team across Michigan and Wisconsin. I also had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar regarding Brexit, which was quite interesting to learn how it could potential relate to GreenStone and our industry.
This past week here at Neogen has been pretty busy and packed. One of our territory managers on the Milling & grain division is out on paternity leave for the entire week so a lot of his responsibilities have fallen to me and my other two teammates. I have been filling out order after order of testing strips and testing material such as pipettors, filter syringes, testing tubes, shaker cups, grinders, and testing strips. As I stated last week, this is the season of wheat and cereal grain harvest so my customer are very busy testing their products before putting them out on the market. A lot of the customers that I oversee are grain elevators and not farmers, so a lot of their grain comes from across the country on train cars to their facilities. The grain must be tested before entering the facility as according to the rules of many of my accounts. While it is cheaper to not test some of the grains that come in, but you also run the huge risk of selling contaminated product which can be a huge blow to the company and their sales. It’s definitely better to play it safe rather than risk saving small amounts of money for losing huge amounts later on.
I am currently still working on my upgrade project alongside filling orders for our accounts. This project has been ongoing for a month and a half now and we anticipate it ending soon. We have recruited people from other divisions to help us out with this project and get it finished quickly. I’m starting to get a little annoyed by this project and I’m going to be very happy once we finish this once and for all. I’m ready to start new projects, but I feel I’m going to have to ask my boss to give me things to do since this has been consuming a lot of my time here, and I will have lots of free time when this is over.
These past two days of my internship has been spent visiting a different electric distributor under ownership by CED and attending a merchandizing class put on by one of our vendors, Ideal Electric in a suburb of Chicago. Effengee is the name of the distributor in Chicago. They are one of the top 5 largest under CED ownership and have a GP of about 80 million dollars in an 800 million dollar market. The office and distribution center we visited was much larger than our own, they had teams of people for lighting and gear where we only have three people. Their warehouse used a tracking system and bar code guns for pulling products and filling orders. It was interesting to see a production of that size and their different processes. The next day we spent at Ideal Electric, one of our vendors that makes tools and other products for electricians. We toured their old/current DC and then toured their very new one that is not yet in full production. We also learned how to most effectively merchandize your store front to better serve your customers and increase counter and impulse purchases.
This week has been a rather interesting one. We began preparing for an early wheat harvest do to the dry conditions this year. Sunday and Monday’s work days were filled with field scouting and placing Hi-Bred signs that advertise the variety of seed near where it is placed and pioneer brand products that we sell. Tuesday and Wednesday we began working on our combines and combine heads. Preparing them and getting them all calibrated to cut wheat and function properly in the field when we begin harvesting wheat. The rest of the week should be a little slower as we are all planning to do something over the 4th of July weekend, and we will try not to start anything to big before the long weekend.
The early season varieties of blueberries are beginning to ripen which means SWD and blueberry maggot traps should be set out. Blueberry maggots have have a 1 year life cycle. They overwinter in the soil as pupa then emerge as flies in late June. Females will lay eggs in the ripe fruit as they begin to ripen and within five days the eggs will hatch. Larvae feed on a single berry then drop to the ground to complete the cycle over again. To combat these pests, farmers should begin spraying late June or depending on what type of variety they have. Spraying Guthion, Malathion, and Imidan work best. SWD ( Spotted Winged Drosophila) can have as many as 10 generations per year, which is why it is very easy for an infestation to occur if not controlled. To control these insects farmers should begin spraying once they see their fruit beginning to turn purple. Then apply another application every 7-10 days until the crop is done being harvested which is usually a 3 week time span for a single variety. The organophosphate insecticides are a good choice to control SWD.
Week 6 is going by quickly! I had to do some customer visits with the new UFC barrels. I visited some Speedways and talked to some managers. I have found that Speedways are in general cleaner and more friendly than other gas/convenience stores in the Lansing area. I felt like store/management of some stores forget how important relationships are with vendors. For example a local convenience chain is consistently not friendly to me or co-workers. I remember this and will not be likely to enjoy shopping at one of their many locations. Relationships matter, especially in business. Relationships are mutually beneficial more than likely so be nice and find ways to help each other out! I am glad Speedway employs good people who are helpful! I also saw my friend who is interning at Speedway during one of my visits.
In addition we had an audit at our Lansing facility. They were auditing for inventory and things that had to do with trucks. I did not have much to do with this because the beginning of my week was busy. Everyone is stressed out because of the holiday. The orders are huge and truck drivers and sales are working hard to make sure there is enough product for demand in every store. My boss told me that he got 32 “restless sleep” notifications on his fit bit due to the demand.
I have been working at Coca-Cola for around six months now. I am making great relationships and continuously learning how the business works. I am thankful that I am able to sustain this employment during the school year. I am also thankful that I am able to gain more responsibility with time. My co-workers trust me now and I feel a part of the team. Not everyday is glamorous but the people make it worth it.
I have completed week six with Wilbur Ellis now and this week was just the same as last week. I have synced myself with my scouting schedule and there was not anything new this week for me. I get up at six in the morning and head out of my apartment by seven. It takes me one hour to drive from Grand Rapids to Hart. My commute in the mornings is very quiet. I am still asleep and in a bad mood because I hate getting up so early. I even pump gas the day before so I do not have to do it in the mornings. I guess this job suits me well since I do not have to deal with people that early in the morning. I also hate the fact that people in Michigan cannot drive properly. I have been so close to crashing due to people that do not know how to drive. I do commute two hours in the highway per day so my chances of crashing do increase. Anyways, I have not really been seeing anything new on the fruits or vegetables this week and I hope I am not missing anything. I had to work ahead this week because my mother is flying in from Texas and I wanted to take a day off when I pick her up. So this week I had to work faster and longer but it was not as bad as I thought. One thing I do dislike about my current internship is that we technically do not get days off. If we want time off we have to finish our job before the week ends, which means we have to work extra or ahead. For example, on Memorial day I still had to go scout because growers still need their report. This Monday is Independence day and I’m going to have to go to work, so much for winning the war against the british and becoming our own country.
This is now my eighth week at AgroLiquid and this week has been entirely different than the past few. This week I am the only Horticulture intern who did not go traveling with the company. I have been working this week more with irrigation and some of the equipment. It has been a pretty cool change from the usual work I have been doing. I worked with one of the full time employees today and we worked on our underground drip tape irrigation system. This is a system that runs plastic hoses with tiny holes underground to irrigate the crops planted above it. You may not see this system very often because of how expensive it is. However, this system is extremely efficient at delivering not only water, but even fertilizer directly to the plant roots. When most people think of irrigation they think of center pivots, or linear overhead pumps, these types of irrigation are 70% less efficient than an underground drip irrigation system. The difference is that most of the water being used by center pivots or linear overhead pumps is the amount of evaporation that occurs through these types of watering. I have also been working on my SSCDS project throughout the week but I am starting to get squeezed for time which is starting to make me quite nervous because it needs to be ready for AgroExpo. I am continuing to learn more and more each week I spend out at the NCRS.
As I begin week four of this internship, I have noticed how fast the time has gone. The 1.4 million square foot warehouse doesn’t seem that big to me anymore and the faces that once were strangers to me are now my friends.
But, what I love about Target the most is the people I have had the opportunity to connect with. In past jobs, I have felt like maybe my co-workers are trying to spite me and lead me into making mistakes. With Target, it has been nothing but questions being answered and suggestions on how to do certain things in the quickest and easiest manner.
I had the opportunity this week to meet with our General Manager’s boss named Marvin. At first I was intimidated by the man being with the company for now a quarter of a century, but then I realized how approachable he was to talk to. He took an interest in us as interns and wanted to know why we chose to come and work for Target.
Marvin gave us one piece of advice that will stick with me for the rest of my life. He told us to work hard every single day even if the boss you work for does not always acknowledge the right things you do. He referred to the concept of having a fire in your heart to drive yourself past the competition and be a leader by taking the time and doing the right thing. Marvin’s message spoke to me because sometimes it is the blood, sweat and tears that will allow us to reach the next steps in life.
The one thing that I cannot stress enough is that even if it is your co-worker or the United States manager of warehousing, all of the people who I have encountered at Target are approachable and want to have a conversation with you.