Operations Management

The Challenge

Specific to the Operations Manager position, this family farm operation already had a good person in the role, someone with operations experience and the trust of the owners. The question was, “How can he become the best Operations Manager possible? How can he reach his fullest potential as a leader and how can he learn and benchmark the best practices of other successful operations, and then apply the knowledge to their own farm?” Previously, an Operations Manager had no avenue for training designed specifically for farm operations and no format for sharing best practices with other quality operations.

The Result

The farm enrolled their employee in FamilyFarms Group’s Operations Manager program.

This program is comprised of on-farm group meetings and one-on-one coaching sessions with a professional who has years of management and manufacturing experience.  The program emphasizes putting efficiency principles into place on the farm.  It includes benchmarking among the operations in areas including GIS systems, inventory Grain Farms management, logistics, labor, cost containment, management practices, and more.

This year’s group is comprised of 15 farms from across the U.S. and Canada.  For the farm in this case study, their Operations Manager has become a more effective leader and with better focus.

Specifically, he has increased his knowledge of areas in which he previously had little experience, and thus decision making has improved.  Buy-in has increased for all ops personnel, and more ideas are generated because a proven process for employee input was implemented.

Employees have increased understanding of the expectations because of improved work instructions from the OM.  Better control systems are in place to ensure accuracy and consistency, allowing the owners to truly delegate their operational functions.

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This farm grows continuous corn on about 15,000 acres in eastern Iowa. In addition to one of the owners serving as the General Manager, they employ an Operations Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Technology Specialist, Land Management Specialist, and Office Manager to help make the best management, financial, and environment decisions possible.

What was Said

“We already had good training in place, but we wanted to be even more effective. Each session of the Operations Manager training gives us at least one thing that we can apply on our farm and our Ops Manager has enhanced his leadership skills as a direct result of the program.”

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