This week has been a relatively normal week, except it will be a half day shorter in recognition of the Fourth of July as we will only have a half day on Friday. I have been requesting more financial information from more suppliers as well as quality and environmental certification. The quality and environmental certification is significantly easier to obtain from suppliers than their financials, which makes sense.
On Thursday, I will be joining our purchasing team as they go to one of our suppliers, H & L Machining Parts, and tour the supplier’s plant. This will be my first time going to a plant outside of our own TI manufacturing plants and will be a very cool experience.
I have also started helping out a purchasing manager from a different TI Automotive location as her workload has increased substantially due to her boss stepping down. It is very cool to fun and rewarding to work with many different people and feel like I am helping out the company.
This past week we traveled to Chicago to visit Heinens grocery stores. One question that came up a lot from customers is whether or not we are organic. NatureFresh has a line of organic bell peppers, but the majority of their growing is conventional. However, we are able to say that we are very close to organic in our practices. Basically, we grow in coco fiber instead of soil (soil is required for organic farming), but we can use Integrated Pest Management to avoid spraying pesticides. In Chicago, not unlike other areas, I have met people who say that they only buy organic produce, however after hearing about how we grow, they say that they wouldn’t mind buying conventional tomatoes and peppers as long as they came from NatureFresh. I don’t always realize what kind of affect I can have on the customers I interact with until I hear things like that. Regardless of opinion when it comes to organic or conventional farming, I think it is important for everyone to understand where their food is coming from and what it takes to get it to the store and that is exactly what I am able to do. When the days are long and tiring, it is encouraging to know that I have been able to make an impact with at least a few people.
This week has again been a fairly normal one in the world of TechSmith. One thing that I wanted to share that has been of great surprise to me since beginning my internship, is the amount of professional development that TechSmith has offered. When beginning the position there was a lot to learn which meant I spent most of my time training and trying to learn new things. But since becoming more acclimated with the job and the company they have shown me that they are worried not only about me now but also in the future. Within my inter group of about 12 interns around the corporation we have participated in several group activities. These activities have consisted of team building, meeting executives and also building your professional persona. Both this week and last week we met as a group along with a few members of our HR department review some of our personal cover letters and resumes. These sessions were accompanied by presentations along with Q & A’s that allowed me to ask questions to real professionals. This was awesome because it allowed me to not only analyze what employers perspectives were but also ask questions about things that may be influential to me as a professional in the future. Along with this we reviewed interview questions and exchanged feedback on things that tripped us up with the process and ways on which we can improve. Through all of this I was left with the piece of mind that the company wants to see me grow with them but also grow anywhere else I may see myself in the future.
This week’s theme seems to be a game called “Is it a disease or not?” Some corn fields are about five feet tall, which means moisture can be kept in the lower parts of the plant for a good part of the day, creating a suitable environment for diseases to develop. However, apart from diseases, there are numerous other things in a field which look very similar. Things like wind, hail, or mechanical damage all could be mistaken as a disease such as leaf spot.
On top of diseases we have also gone through the first generation of corn borer larvae, and have even found some western cut worm eggs. This is a reminder of the ever constant threat to our fields and our industry.
Whenever I see a disease, a weed, or a larvae I also see a dollar sign. Every threat and solution has a price. Farmers need to weigh the price to fix the problem, with the predicted end profit in order to make the proper decision. Luckily things like insurance can help lighten this burden, but it is still one that would be tough to deal with.
Last week was a fairly slow week leading up to this week. I made a bunch of deliveries, scouted a few potatoes, looked at some corn plots, and some wheat. Wilbur Ellis is starting to feel like an actual job (thought one i really enjoy) rather than something i have just been doing for the past couple of weeks. The people there are great and treat me very well. They have more and more trust in me each day to do a good job, as they assign me with less work, and just expect me to do what I need to do. Working with them has provided me with a lot of knowledge that will go back to the farm with me. This is anything from crops, weeds, diseases, and insects, to proper business procedures and interaction skills. I am so grateful to have this opportunity, and I look forward to the rest of the summer with them.
This week at Tri County was another eventful one. Our two-week slowdown finally came to an end as this week we began readying for wheat harvest, which is another busy time of year. As we began working on combines, I was introduced to another class of technology, one full of new sensors and modules. Perhaps my favorite part of this internship is the ever-changing material.
Friday night and Saturday, I attended a dealer training seminar which outlined a lot of the Ag Management Solutions mainstreaming plans for individual dealerships. It was more a seminar that taught us effective methods for delivering information to our respective dealerships; we really didn’t learn anything new regarding actual AMS equipment. The meeting was especially important because my manager, Eric, and I, have been planning a lot of intra-organization training. Our ultimate goal is to have every member of our dealer network understand the basics of John Deere AMS. This mainstreaming process will really help to lesson the workload on the Integrated Solutions Group, as we will spend that much less time disseminating information on the fly.
Although we’re getting really busy again, I look forward to the new week and all of the learning that is sure to accompany it.
This week at my internship was very interesting. I participated in the Meijer Intern Road Show. This road show included taking tours at many different buildings and facilities that the Meijer Corporation operates out of. I was given the opportunity to see a Meijer distribution center, the Meijer downtown Grand Rapids office, the Meijer planogram operation simulation store, and the Meijer flagship store. All of these experiences were unique.
In the first part of the road show I experienced the downtown Meijer office. This office is a located downtown Grand Rapids. The building is called GRid 70. This building houses many different non-competing companies that work together to innovate their own businesses. This is very interesting to see how these companies work together to create stronger business practices. One of the things that Meijer does in its downtown office is they do Meijer store brand product blind testing. Meijer has a product innovation kitchen where they conduct tests on their own branded food as well as name brand and competitors brands. This kitchen serves as a way for the company to make sure they are competing well in the industry.
The second stop on the intern’s road show was the Meijer distribution center in Lansing. It was very interesting and eye opening to see how big this facility is and how much product flows in and out of this facility at all times. The facilities in whole are over 900,000 square feet. We started our distribution facility tour inside the General Merchandise warehouse. This facility holds all products that are in Meijer stores and that are not food items. This building was very automated and insanely huge. The second part of the distribution tour was of the produce facility. This facility is refrigerated and is completely human operated. This facility is a madhouse of movement. The building is essentially filled up every single day with produce and emptied by the end of each day. It was interesting to see how a facility of this type operates daily.
The third stop in my intern road show was to the Meijer Planogram Simulation Store. This Meijer facility is located next store to the Meijer Corporate office. The Meijer planogram room is a complete set up of an actual Meijer store but no buying activity takes place. This facility is used by Meijer buying teams and vendors to help illustrate how a store is going to be set up before they do it. This is a great tool for Meijer.
The last stop in the tour is the Meijer Knapp’s Corner Flagship store. This store is located in the outskirts of Grand Rapids and is very updated and has some of the most current Meijer technologies and designs. It was interesting to see where Meijer is planning on moving their stores forward to.
Week 2 and Mondelez was great. I learned a lot more about order writing, delivery, and merchandising. I have been working with a guy named Alan, who is a sales representative in Grand Rapids. He is a great guy and works hard at what he does, but I have decided I would never want to do what he does for a career. It’s just too basic for me. He does a TON of shelf stocking, mixed with writing orders and keeping track of the product’s sales in a specific store. It is just something I can’t see myself doing in my future. I am learning about how to do it now because he is the last step of the product’s production before the customer gets their hand on it-which is crucial to the sale of the item. Even though it is rough work some of the time, I am learning a lot about hour products and where and why they actually sell.
I am excited that I get to shadow many other people besides Alan, such as people in the marketing and logistics fields. This upcoming week, I get to travel to Traverse City for the week and see what our territory is like up there. We will get our stores ready for the Fourth of July, our largest sales holiday for the year in Northern Michigan. Looking forward to it and learning a new part of the job!
I attended my first department meeting today. At the meeting, a vital question I used to ask myself was answered. How does a health insurance plan, funded by the government, serving low income and elderly populations sustain itself and make a reasonable profit? While I was only given an overview today of how costs can be minimized and where profits can be made, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of this question through the course of my internship.
The more we work in a given industry the more aware we become of the current issues surrounding it roadblocks to success. Obamacare (ACA) has become a commonplace term in the past year or so, acknowledging a health reform scheme that relies mainly on providers bearing responsibility for assessing costs of medical care, mainly through several forms of capitation. This altered the initial “consumer-directed” approach to healthcare, leading to its success. But this week, a new healthcare plan was released by House Speaker Paul Ryan (Republican) as an alternative to the ACA.
The plan called for more option for health insurance policies, signifying lower costs, while simultaneously including fewer safeguards for people that get sick. He took the consumer perspective on the plan; where the healthcare benefit is turned into a set contribution of money that consumers can own and control, and that becomes more portable.
But on the downside, the plan would limit federal spending on Medicaid for poor patients. MHP has its foundation in Medicaid, and if this plan becomes approved in the future, a significant number of memberships could be withdrawn affecting the profits of the company.
This plan hasn’t gone into effect, and probably won’t have a chance to in the next two years. But when looking at future projections and expansion plans, government decisions contribute largely to how business decisions are reached
I finished my fifth week with Wilbur Ellis today and I am amazed at how fast time is flying by! I was reflecting at the past month earlier this week and I am truly impressed with how much information I’ve learned and how with each week I am getting more and more comfortable with scouting and identifying pests and diseases. My team at Wilbur Ellis is truly a class A team. They are such an awesome contact and resource to seek help from.
I have been on my own all this week scouting fruits and veggies. Fruits I am getting more and more comfortable with identifying diseases and pests. Vegetables is what I am struggling with currently, however today when I scouted them I was much more comfortable than last week. Today, I just continued texting pictures to the salesmen I was scouting for and he was able to tell me if it was a problem or not. The only way you’ll learn is by asking questions and the team I’m with are so helpful when it comes to that. I am finally looking forward to scouting vegetables because now I actually have some kind of understanding of what some diseases and pests are in certain crops.
Next week will be another busy week and I am looking forward to I’ll learn!