SOURCE Magazine Winter 2023 | Page 5

SOURCE | Winter 2023 3

Preparing for the Future


It was truly a pleasure to see so many GROWMARK System leaders back in person at the Cooperative Leadership Conference , also known as CLC , a few weeks ago . For those unfamiliar with the conference , it is a gathering of System board directors , general managers , CEOs , GROWMARK management , and invited industry leaders . The last CLC program was in 2020 , just weeks before the pandemic shut down so many aspects of daily life . While three years may not seem like a long time in the overall scheme of things , we have all seen how much business processes have evolved since then . And that change is only accelerating .
We know that to stay ahead of our competition and relevant to our customers , our System needs to be proactively preparing for change , and nimble enough to adapt to those changes . That ’ s why a core theme of this year ’ s CLC focused on empowering leaders to streamline processes and drive innovation .
We heard from GROWMARK team leaders who have been at the forefront of Robotic Process Automation . It ’ s a complete focus on taking repetitive manual tasks out of an employee ’ s day to improve accuracy and efficiency . To date , GROWMARK has automated 40 processes and saved thousands of hours of work making it easier to do business with GROWMARK and FS Cooperatives while allowing employees the time to focus on higher-value strategic initiatives to better serve their customers .
We also heard from FS company leadership teams who are on the leading edge of preparing for automation . The Insight FS team in Wisconsin started planning years ago for autonomous spraying . While they may not be fully autonomous for another several years , the important message is they are taking proactive steps to stay ahead of the curve so that they can serve their customers with the increasing scale , speed , and efficiency expected .
I want to reassure you that these new processes are not designed to replace human interaction with our customers but rather enhance the hard work of the talented teams we have in place across the FS System . As bestselling author and CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute , David Horsager , explained to those in attendance at CLC , the GROWMARK System already has what many organizations strive for – recognition among customers of being a trusted advisor in their business operations .
I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the data and analytics we are gathering each day to bolster that trust with precision tools and innovative processes . This will ultimately deliver on our vision to be the best agricultural cooperative System in North America . We know that to be the best we must continually develop and improve people , processes , and technology . We are proactively thinking about what the future will hold and turning those changes into strategic opportunities and actionable plans .
I wish you the best for a productive and smooth start to the spring planting season .