By Josie Anderson and Hannah Wilborn
ADM Milling Company hosted a group of CRMER Student Fellows on February 10, 2017. While at the facility, ADM executives shared with us how risk management is incorporated in their various roles. Upon arriving, we were welcomed by ADM Milling President, Mark Kolkhorst, who provided us with an overview of ADM’s business operations. Next, ADM Milling’s VP of Technical Services, Nick Weigel, gave us a tour of the Technical Center’s testing area where samples from ADM facilities across the U.S. are analyzed. It’s a good thing we had a catered lunch on the agenda, otherwise the facility would’ve been missing several delicious-smelling bread samples!
Following our tour of the testing area, VP of Grain, Pete Goetzmann, and VP of Trading and Risk Management, Dennis Toalson, outlined aspects of risk management in ADM’s Grain and Milling divisions. These are more complex than they may seem; not only does ADM have to consider the potential quality of crops in a given season, which relies on factors like weather behavior, they must also take steps to ensure that they minimize the risk of transportation failure. Not only is the availability of transportation a potential issue, but a lack of cleanliness and maintenance of vehicles poses a food safety threat.
Many of the elements that introduce risk are out of ADM’s control; therefore, they rely on solid relationships with their partners, accurate predictions of market behavior, and a certain degree of adaptability to deliver on their contracts, written months in advance. In addition to external factors, ADM must consider risks associated with their intracompany decisions. Human Resources manager, Marcie Oppold, spoke with us about how she combats risk when hiring new employees and addressing the company’s internal concerns.
This visit was the first CRMER event for many of the new student fellows. We left ADM with an increased understanding of risk, both in general and how it applies to individual companies in the milling industry.