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Internal Newsletter December 2016

In This Issue 3 Accessing AgroLiquid Research

15 Sales Update

Galynn Beer, Senior Sales Manager

Dean Feldpausch, Senior IT Manager

4 Samanage Help-Desk System

16 Around the Country with Reseach

5 Tis the Season to be Wary

20 NCRS Update

Dean Feldpausch, Senior IT Manager

Cory Johnson, Network and Security Specialist

6 Liquid Cares

Kaitlynn Watts, Administrative Associate

7 Lessons From the Past

Lonny Smith, Senior Business Development Manager


Green Thumb Expo

Lynette Luna, Administration Department Manager

Jerry L. Wilhm, Ph.D, Senior Research Manager Jay B. Eccelton, NCRS Department Manager

24 Operations

Gerrit Bancroft, Senior Site Operations Manager

25 Delight Your Customers

Cheryl Sprague, Order Entry Associate Margie Gove, Customer Service Associate

27 Expectional Customer Service

Colina Gillespie, Senior Customer Service Manager

11 Accounting Update

28 What can we do to help?

12 Championship Seasons

29 Let’s S.O.A.R!

14 Employee Intranet

30 New Employees, Hawaii Trips, Birthdays

Sarah Oswald, Accounts Payable Associate Amanda Welsh, Corporate Accounting Manager Albert Bancroft, Senior Marketing Manager

Colina Gillespie, Senior Customer Service Manager

Nikole Dunker, Senior HR Manager

Kathryn Kendall, Marketing Associate


All AgroLiquid offices will be closed for the Christmas and New Years’ holidays, beginning Monday, December 25th and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd.


Internal Newsletter December 2016

Accessing AgroLiquid Research Dean R Feldpausch, Senior IT Manager

Accessing AgroLiquid Research quickly on our website has been a challenge. Finding this information means bringing up a .PDF document and scrolling through the many pages to find what you are looking for‌ but that is about to change! For the last few months an AgroLiquid team led by Stephanie Zelinko has been working on a new way to access our research data. When it is completed, interested parties will be able to enter specific information pertaining to what they are looking for, and go directly to the research they want. Above is a prototype of what the index might look like. If you want to see research on corn, in 2014, in the state of Nebraska, you would simply select those items from a drop-down and press enter. The documents relating to those settings will show up in an ordered list for the user to choose. There are up to twenty keys which a user can select from as shown above.


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Finishing touches are still being added, but this should be available from a link on our main website before the Christmas vacation.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Samanage Help-Desk System Dean R Feldpausch, Senior IT Manager

Samanage Help-Desk system to be rolled out the first week of December. The IT team is busily working to implement a new help-desk ticketing system. This system will allow us to better manage the many help-desk requests we receive. Below are a few benefits of the new system: • • • • •

Users can open and submit new incidents or service requests through the self-service portal. Users can check the status of requests online as they are being processed. Users will have the ability to rate the service the IT team provides with each service incident. IT will be able to gather statistics related to quantity, quality, timeframes, resolutions, and build a knowledgebase which will assist in the resolution of future requests. Repeatable processes can be setup as workflows to ensure that no tasks are forgotten when processing requests.

To say we are excited about this new system is an understatement. We believe that by using this system, it will improve our ability to respond to user needs more effectively. Once the new system has been evaluated, we can add other AgroLiquid teams who may also want to track requests for their services. Above is a sample dashboard from this new system.


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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Tis the Season to be Wary

Cory Johnson, Network and Security Specialist

As we near the Christmas season, it is important to note that there are identity thieves out there wanting to use these busy buying times to steal our identity information for their use. What can we do to protect ourselves? Below is a list of actions you might want to consider taking: • Use complex PIN’s and passwords for your bank accounts and ATM access. • Only carry credit and identification cards that you use, and do not carry your Social Security card. • Lock personal information, sensitive documents, check books, credit cards, etc. in a secure place when not in use. • Never provide personal information over the phone unless you made the call or you are certain of whom you are talking to. Do not respond to automated phone messages or e-mail requesting you call a number to resolve an account issue. • If you have a home computer, install and regularly update firewall, anti-spyware, anti-virus and browser security software. • Beware of email scams. Remember: No legitimate company or organization will ask for your personal information via email. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is! • When responding to e-mail from businesses with which you have an account, do not link to their Web site through the address provided in the e-mail. Go to the business site through your search engine and type in the URL.


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• Shred all sensitive documents prior to disposal. • Don’t share your passwords with anyone. • If online shopping, be mindful of the network that you are connecting to. Only connect to wireless networks that require a secure password. If you use a wireless Internet connection at home, be sure that the security features are turned on and set your own password, rather than using the default password. • Be a savvy online shopper. If you’re unfamiliar with an online business, research the company by searching for complaints about it. Also read its privacy policy so you understand how the personal information you provide will be used. Paying with a credit card rather than a debit card or checking account gives you the most legal protection in case the goods or services are misrepresented or never delivered. • Also, with the end of the year approaching, it is always a good idea to get a copy of your credit report and review it for any errors or anomalies.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Liquid Cares

Kaitlynn Watts, Administrative Associate

Over the past two years, Liquid Cares has been able to help more than 30 families in their time of need, with the support of fellow AgroLiquid employees and ownership. Liquid Cares began in 2014 as a corporate funded program, managed by a voluntary internal committee. The committee reviews requests submitted by AgroLiquid employees, and offers potential solutions or assistance. This fund has been established to share compassion with our colleagues, partners and community members. The owners of AgroLiquid realize that things happen to individuals and/ or families that add stress and strain on our mental well being. They also recognize there are opportunities we have as an organization to assist each other in these times of need. Stresses are different for everyone. From being out of sick days when a


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child becomes ill, to a family enduring a catastrophic situation such as a flood, fire, tornado or other natural disaster. There are countless situations that could cause an individual or family an overwhelming worry or hardship and we feel blessed to be able to help in some small way. As a committee, we look forward to helping colleagues, partners and community members. Unfortunately, we don’t know about situations that arise unless an AgroLiquid employee turns in an application for assistance. Always know that you can contact any member of the Liquid Cares committee if you have any further questions. The committee is looking forward to helping more in 2017 and would like to thank everyone for his or her generosity over the past two years!

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Lessons for the past Looking for rewarding opportunities. Lonny Smith, Senior Business Development Manager

In August 1896 gold was discovered along the banks of Bonanza Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River. Soon, more than 100,000 prospectors were headed for the Northern part of Western Canada in search of gold. The trip was grueling, often taking 12 to 18 months to reach the remote settlements along the Yukon and Klondike rivers. Of the 100,000 that set off, fewer than 25% made it to the mining settlements and only a handful were able to stake a claim. The majority who came with dreams of riches ended up broke and working as a laborer on someone else’s claim. It wasn’t the discovery of gold or the sensational stories printed in the newspapers of the time that created the opportunity that led so many to ruin- it was the situations created by the depressions of 1893 and 1896 when European investors started a run on gold in the US Treasury. Instability created fear, which led to the further hoarding of gold, high unemployment, and financial uncertainty. As we look for ways to grow our business, it is wise to understand that opportunities are short-lived, more often created by existing situations than new discovery, and that not every opportunity is right for our business. In agriculture today as in 1893, underlying situations and circumstances create the opportunities to which you may or may not choose to provide a solution. The more people


Internal Newsletter December 2016

impacted by any given circumstance, the bigger the opportunity. The bigger the opportunity, the bigger the potential for reward. But beware, extracting value from a big opportunity is very intentional, often difficult, and usually costly. This is a different thought process than most of us employ when selling products. We are focused on how to increase sales, as opposed to providing solutions, so we incentivize buying our offerings rather than position them as unique solutions with compelling value. All the agronomy, products, research, programs and services that AgroLiquid brings to the table are not opportunities, they are solutions to situations affecting farmers across North America. Within AgroLiquid’s comprehensive product line you have a solution to nearly every nutrient-related situation a grower may encounter. But you can’t provide a solution to every need and you must assess potential opportunities to determine whether they present you the opportunity for reward. Example situation: Every farmer, to some extent, is being scrutinized about how his or her operation negatively impacts the environment.


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Here are the four key questions to ask to determine if this situation provides a rewarding opportunity: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Is this situation broad reaching and does it impact potential customers? Most of us could answer this question yes. Does, or will, this situation provide an opportunity to respond? It does; in many of these cases across the country, regulators are looking to industry to help provide workable solutions. Do I possess the ability to provide a solution to the situation? The characteristics of AgroLiquid products make them a good solution to many of the environmental issues being so highly publicized. Is it worth the effort to do what is necessary to provide a solution? Here is the crux. This is not a question of values or desire. This is a question of practicality. Do you have the resources, time, human capital, or assets needed to meaningfully engage to provide a solution?

Answer any one of these four questions no, and the opportunities that situation creates will never become compelling enough for you to exert the effort needed to develop them and solve the situation. But if you answer all questions with a yes, you can, like the few Klondikers who struck it rich, find rewarding opportunities.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Green Thumb Expo

Lynette Luna, Administration Department Manager

The inaugural Green Thumb Expo held at the corporate office in April 2016 was a success and plans are now underway for another event on April 29, 2017. What is the Green Thumb Expo? An event to promote AgroLiquid products like GrowRight, NutriRain, FertiRain, Fase1, etc. to homeowners and midMichigan businesses who work in lawn, turf, greenhouse, landscaping and more. The expo included other exhibitors in fields relating to the outdoors. It provided several do it yourself (DIY) sessions like Proper Plant Potting and Proper Fertilizer Usage. The day of the event the AgroLiquid General Store sold three times more fertilizer than the store typically sells in a year.


Attendees provided great feedback with comments like: very informative; very educational; will return to get fertilizer for my garden; very helpful to learn what your product is and seeing trials; thought this was great; did not know you had a general store and sold product; great for kids; loved seeing the local vendors; learned a lot from the DIY’s. Look for more information in 2017 at www.thegreenthumbexpo. com If you have questions, contact a committee member: Kaitlynn Watts, Angi Bunn, Jay Eccleton, Margie Gove, Chris Underwood or Lynette Luna.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

2016 Goals

2016 Event

2017 Goals

Sell 50 exhibitor spaces 800 attendees Gain 2 businesses purchasing AgroLiquid Raise cash sponsorships of $2,000 Recruit enough employee volunteers to help

Sold 74 Over 1,200 Gained 3 businesses

Sell out with 85 At least 1,800 Gain 2 businesses

Raised $2,250

Raise $4,000

25 employees volunteered their time that day

20-25 to generously volunteer their time

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Accounting Update Sarah Oswald, Accounts Payable Associate Amanda Welsh, Corporate Accounting Manager

The Accounting Team has begun annual planning for our financial year-end. At the same time, we are continuously working to keep company strategies and sales goals in mind. At the forefront of our efforts is designing ways to support Canadian Business Development. Currently, we have a manual process created to accommodate orders that come in immediately. We have partnered with Customer Service to ensure the administration of all orders is handled timely and accurately. We are also working with IT Support to design an automated process in JDE to more efficiently handle international orders. This includes foreign currency exchange and all related financial components. The long-term goal is to develop a currency exchange process for paying Canadian Suppliers and for receiving payment from our Canadian customers with ease. We look forward to the upcoming growth in this area and are excited for this new adventure for AgroLiquid. Another endeavor is our review of customer credit data. We are reviewing consumer and company credit information, company financial information, and payment history with AgroLiquid where applicable. This review is allowing us to establish or adjust the amount of credit we extend to each customer. The customer credit review accomplishes several things for AgroLiquid, including: • • • • •

Better serving our customers Managing risk for AgroLiquid Improving the sales process for our salesforce by allowing our SAM’s to spend time with our valuable customers Improving the accounts receivable function Creating efficiencies for all business units involved

The Accounting Team is looking forward to supporting the growth in AgroLiquid Sales and the expansion into Canada. This is going to be a wonderful spring season!

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Championship Seasons Albert Bancroft, Senior Marketing Manager

The new game plan campaign was kicked off October 1st. While it is performing as planned, I want you to think of it from a different perspective, not as a marketing campaign but an initiative that guides us in our daily AgroLiquid roles. Think about your favorite football team and how you’re following them, rooting for them to win. Keep that image in your head. Now, consider the farmer as the receiver, running the ball into the end zone, TOUCHDOWN! The receiver didn’t score the touchdown alone because it was a team effort. It took the coaches calling the plays to the quarterback, and the quarterback


leading the players on the field to a championship season. In this case, our Retail Partners are the quarterback. They need to provide growers the right recommendations for their farm. The AgroLiquid staff takes on the role as the coach, providing our Retail Partners with the right strategies and equipment. We all play a role in getting the grower to a championship season. You should find yourself assessing decisions and activities to ensure they will get that grower to the root zone. You may be thinking, that was a nice story, but what exactly is AgroLiquid’s role as the coach?

Internal Newsletter December 2016

I will start with the Nashville Summit that recently wrapped up. We sure brought a part of our A-Team… and provided the training and inspiration that our customers wanted. Marketing’s playbook doesn’t stop there. We are committed to providing Retail Partners branding, website, and custom material support. Getting involved with Retail Partners to ensure they have support is our main focus. The promotional system has shifted. We will be buying more effectively and infusing more funds into the field than the traditional system accomplished. This will result in fewer options, but higher quality at better prices. This does not affect your promo account values, only the diversity of items is less. Any remaining credit you have on account will be rolled over into 2017.

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Employee Intranet Kathryn Kendall, Marketing Administrative Associate

We continually strive to maximize employee engagement and have information be easily accessible without bogging down our emails. The solution that was developed is an intranet for AgroLiquid employees. One of the key elements of the intranet is that all teams will be posting their forms here instead of the L drive. This will allow all employees to quickly access the information without having to log in through the VPN system. In addition to the forms, there will be team updates posted such as customer service and human resources. There is more to the intranet than forms; customer service will be posting their gallons sold and regional information along with anniversaries and more! You’ll find a spot on the intranet entitled “Blogs” which has the links to two blogs written by AgroLiquid Employees. The Research blog is written by Dr. Jerry and our Projects blog is written by Todd Cressman. In your inbox, you should have received an email that looks like this:

You should have all received your invite by now, so please be sure to activate as soon as possible! The Open Enrollment link from Human Resources is found on the intranet, so be sure to try logging in as soon as possible! The intranet is going to be one of the key areas to find information going forward so be sure to bookmark the intranet so you can stay up to date with the latest company happenings! If you lost your invite to the intranet, or need assistance getting started, do not hesitate to reach out to

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Sales Update Galynn Beer, Senior Sales Manager

The first big news to cover in Sales, in case you’ve missed the other announcements, is we’ve expanded our team. Jay Ostmeyer and Rob Marquardt were added as SAMs. Jay for western Texas and Rob for TN, KY, AL, and MS. Austin Benes has filled the open RSM position in the Southeast. We’re glad to welcome them and look forward to their contributions to AgroLiquid.

to find programs that can help promote sales, especially to customers with available storage. We’ll be working to position as much product as possible in the field to take pressure off of spring deliveries. However, we still expect that many decisions will be delayed and Sales will need the support of everyone at AgroLiquid to facilitate these late decisions by the growers.

In other news, we’ve been busy working on initiatives to produce sales. During this fall period, SAMs have been working to prospect for, and add, new Retail Partners in their areas they designated as underserved. Since those additions won’t produce big sales in their first year, efforts are still needed to increase sales through our existing Retail Partners and they are making sure they provide support to them.

The selling environment this year will likely require multiple calls on Retail Partners and also, a number of grower visits will need to be made with our sellers. Farmers will be inclined to delay their decisions, in part because they want to evaluate which crops they’ll plant, but also because the current commodity prices don’t make them anxious to make decisions. Everyone in Sales will be making visits to maintain relationships and demonstrate our value to them so that when decisions are made, AgroLiquid will be the choice.

Continued training and meetings with existing Retail Partners is critical to increasing Sales this year. The selling environment is difficult and very competitive, as other companies aggressively pursue early sales. The efforts of the SAMs and RSMs will focus on customer meetings and Retail Partner training in order to keep skills sharp. Significant orders were secured early for some of our key Retail Partners and shipments are in progress to fulfill those. Dale Ruff will stay in close communication with the SAMs

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It will be very busy through the winter months and certainly into the spring. Everyone in Sales has been prepared for this and will meet the challenge head-on. Our excellent Sales team possesses the skills needed to provide advice that will Prosper the Farmer.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Around the Country with Reseach: Why It’s Necessary Jerry L. Wilhm, Ph.D Senior Research Manager

Because the nutrient formulations offered by AgroLiquid are unique in the world of fertilizer, they must be thoroughly tested before being offered to growers. Employees have probably heard about the unique formulations before, but maybe not really understood what that means. All plants need fertilizer, that is, nutrients, in order to grow into the food we need. These nutrients are elements essential for the processes that enable plants to grow from seeds to mature plants. There are seventeen or eighteen of these essential nutrients (there is still some debate on the exact number.) Some are from air and water and the others are in the soil. If the soil doesn’t have enough plant-available elements to support growth, then that is when fertilizer must be applied. Just because a fertilizer is applied to the soil, that doesn’t mean that it will find its way to the plant. There are a variety of reasons for this: placement too far from the roots, inactivation due to formation of complexes with other elements in the soil (termed fixation), being carried out of the root zone by water drainage (leaching), escape into the air (volatility) and other loss processes. Fortunately, AgroLiquid has developed procedures that prevent such losses and enable more of what is applied to get into the plant. This is from the chemistry used to protect nutrients from losses and being able to safely place the nutrients right with or near the seed, as well as being able to apply nutrients directly to the plant foliage. This is the whole basis of what makes AgroLiquid unique in the fertilizer industry. But before these products are


sold, they are tested at the North Central Research Station. There is also ongoing research conducted with our existing products in order to provide continued proof of performance compared to conventional products. Selling fertilizer is a very competitive process, and Research works to provide proof that things will work as described. Even though products are thoroughly tested at the NCRS, growers and retailers from other parts of the country insist that research be conducted where they live. Additionally, there are crops grown in other parts of the country that aren’t grown in Michigan, so research is necessary on those crops. So every year research plots are set up in other states and on other crops as well. Many of these tests are conducted by research businesses that run independent testing as a service to agricultural businesses dealing with a variety of ag inputs. These research businesses are referred to as Contract Researchers. We are also conducting research with some universities, although not as much as with contract researchers due to costs and they are often not willing to run tests as we would like. In 2016, research with AgroLiquid fertilizers was conducted in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina and Maryland. Now that is a lot of testing, but that is what it takes to stay at the top of the industry.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Winter wheat replicated test plots in Oklahoma.


Internal Newsletter December 2016

Fertilizer research on wine grapes in California.


Internal Newsletter December 2016

Fertilizer test plots on spring wheat in Montana.


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Internal Newsletter December 2016

NCRS Update Jay Eccelton, NCRS Department Manager

The start of harvest season was slowed due to reoccurring rain and prolonged wetness. Although NCRS staff were able to start on soybeans, we switched to corn for a period of time to continue harvest work around certain issues with soybeans and the current wet soil conditions. Once we were able to transition back into soybeans, the dedication and determination of the NCRS staff was displayed. They worked long days into the nights to take advantage of the weather cycles and complete soybeans and jump right into corn. As it takes an entire team to be successful, I cannot thank enough the support of our Ashley Manufacturing crew and drivers and the use of their semis. Their help with delivery of product to the local elevator helped free up NCRS staff to do other tasks. We finished corn on Monday November 14th and wrapped up the last Milo plot on November 17th. The NCRS Horticulture Department saw a successful season in the high density orchard with increased production in Gala,


Honey Crisp, Smoothies, Zestars, Cortlands, Jonagold, and a few other varieties. Our vineyard produced a record amount of concord grapes and we are seeing a great advancement of growth in our first year vignoles grapes. Soil health is critical to the success of a fertility program and we have been taking the necessary steps to develop a program to identify our current needs and deficiencies in our soils at the NCRS. Dr. Zouheir Massri, Soil Fertility & Crop Research Specialist, has been essential to providing data to evaluate current potential of our soil and working with the NCRS staff to put in place a protocol for future planning. Nutrient fate is also a concern with growers throughout the country and Dr. Massri has been researching movement of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium through the soil profile as it pertains to AgroLiquid products and other commonly used products in the agriculture industry. Nitrogen loss through volatilization is common and Dr. Massri

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Dr. Massri takes time to discuss his nutrient flux research during Agronomic training


Internal Newsletter December 2016

Ashley Stickler, Bob Baxter, Rick Knifley, and Stephanie Zelinko evaluating planting depths during the Agronomic training.


Internal Newsletter December 2016

2016 Diversified Internship participants. L to R Jacob Schmitt, Trevor Tyree, Quinten Sackett, Jared Kulhanek, Georgina DeMoya, Lacie Mates

has developed a series of tests and collection samplers to determine the rate of volatilization with our High NRG-N product verses some industry standards and practices. Results have been very favorable when AgroLiquid products have been tested in the above scenarios. Dr. Massri also had an opportunity to invite Dr. Thomas Schumacher from South Dakota State to visit the NCRS to evaluate our practices and to learn more about our company’s mission to Prosper the Farmer and our vision To Be A Leader in Innovative Agriculture. Dr. Schumacher’s insight will be an added value to Dr. Massri’s work at the NCRS. Thank you Dr. Massri for your dedication and determination as it pertains to soil health and efficiency of AgroLiquid products.

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While the harvesting was taking place, we also had an active crew concentrating on fall tillage. We have completed all of our tillage plans for the plot research and are over 90 percent complete on the rest of the NCRS. Fall herbicide has been applied and winter wheat has been put to bed for the year. Now comes winterization of the machinery, planning for the upcoming growing season, and compiling results from the 2016 growing season into our annual research report. I cannot be more proud of the effort given forth by the staff at the NCRS. I am delighted to see the teamwork shine and the productivity reach high levels. I look forward to the winter ahead to prepare for a successful 2017 growing season.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Operations Gerrit Bancroft, Senior Site Operations Manager

What is happening in operations this time of the year? We have a lot going on right now although the shipping numbers we all look at would suggest otherwise. Procurement spends a lot of time during these couple of months preparing for the spring season. They also are spending a lot of time with licensing our new products. They must work with the states individually to make sure they meet all their requirements in submitting analysis and meeting all the marketing phrasing requirements. These tend to be more strict states in the west coast. Logistics works on many things this time of year as well. We have been working to find the right equipment for the drivers to keep their logs and communicate with the office staff. The equipment we used to have was not very user friendly and didn’t work as a good tool. We started working on next year’s budgets as well. Oh the fun of budgets, with the early planning it provides one less thing to worry about late spring. Then we move to the facilities group. This year we have a lot of projects going as we do every year but a few big projects are winding down. The

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seemingly never ending Stockton project is reaching near its end with some programing and troubleshooting left to do, but the majority is done. Now begins the training so that we can start reaping the benefits of the transportation savings. Goodland is finishing up this new rail manifold which will greatly help the team in processing rail cars. The hope is that we would have the ability to unload 20 cars in one day. The Carrington project is going very well, the tanks are all set in their containment and the building should be done on the exterior by the end of the month. We will then begin plumbing and installing load out equipment. The sites have many things going on as well. I had written an article a while back about the importance of maintenance. Well for AgroLiquid a lot of that maintenance happens this time of year, as well as starting to manufacture product for the spring season. Transportation staff works diligently at finding “for hire” work to keep our trucks busy. They have found since we started that finding “for hire” work can be more time consuming then trying to schedule fertilizer loads.

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Delight Your Customers Cheryl Sprague, Order Entry Associate Margie Gove, Customer Service Associate

Customer Service team members, Cheryl and Margie, participated in a book club reading “Delight Your Customers�. It elaborates upon raising your customer service from ordinary to extraordinary in seven simple steps. It’s essentially the difference between job function and job essence. Incorporating the seven steps; expressing genuine interest, offering sincere and specific compliments, sharing unique knowledge, conveying authentic enthusiasm, using appropriate humor, providing pleasant surprises, and delivering service heroics. Author Steve Curtain explained it like this - job essence is behavior that is not required and is often unexpected; actions that employees choose to do. Job function is the duties associated with job roles being performed exactly as listed in a job description-no more, no less. Stop and reflect on some of your past encounters. When you receive exceptional customer service that is memorable, you tell others of the great experience.


There are a few of the seven steps that we would like to share with you. One of the most important steps to Customer Service is to express genuine interest. Basically, we need to take initiative and take action. Offer personalized greetings, pay attention to details, anticipate needs, and ask questions. Referring to people by name is more meaningful than you may realize. When a greeting is personalized the customer feels a special connection. We are all customer service employees. By taking the initiative to make these our daily practice our customers will feel as important as they truly are. Another step is to offer sincere and specific compliments, sharing unique knowledge and conveying authentic enthusiasm. AgroLiquid Customer Service feels these actions are vital to top notch customer service and have incorporated new processes to provide just that. Cheryl is making follow up calls to customers receiving their first delivery of

Internal Newsletter December 2016

AgroLiquid products, verifying we have fulfilled all of their expectations. Margie is contacting new Retail Partners to welcome them to AgroLiquid. It is important to confirm that they have all the resources available to become a prosperous partner to the company. These actions convey the sincere pride AgroLiquid holds in our Core Value of Customer Service. Providing pleasant surprises is a service that is unexpected, leaving a greater, lasting, positive impression. Think about it in this scenario; you’re in a checkout line waiting to pay for one item, and every lane is four carts deep. An employee notices your situation, drops what they are doing, and opens another lane for you. What a pleasant surprise! Are there ways that you can make your customers experience memorable? Delight Your Customer makes us stop to think about the kind of customer service we provide as well as receive on a daily bases. Have you received exceptional internal or external customer service lately? Have you performed job essence while providing superb customer service? Don’t miss out on your opportunity to fulfill every expectation your customers have. If you would like to read Delight Your Customers please contact Customer Service.


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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Exceptional Customer Service Colina Gillespie, Senior Customer Service Manager

Have you ever noticed the customer service going on around you? At the grocery store, fast food restaurant, or department store, are the employees providing exceptional service…or are they just doing their job? What’s the difference, you may ask. The difference is simple! Transaction vs. Relationship. Let’s think about this for a moment. Are they process focused? They scan your items, take your order, collect your money, thank you…repeat. They are simply going through the motions of completing the task. Or are they actually interested in you and making sure you are completely satisfied with your experience…in turn, creating a relationship? Here at the AgroLiquid corporate office we have plenty of opportunity to create relationships. We have patrons in and out of our front doors on a daily basis. The conference rooms are utilized by the community quite regularly. Hardly a day goes by without at least one meeting or event taking place. Have you ever wondered if the Administration staff is providing exceptional service…or just doing their job? Recent survey results from conference room rentals tell us they are most definitely providing exceptional service… building relationships…and ultimately, setting a very good example for the rest of us! Jason Crowell and Stacy Woodruff put in a lot of hours before and after the rest of us have come and gone. They are here for our patrons, making sure they

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are completely satisfied with their experience at AgroLiquid. Below are just a few of the comments from our conference room customers: • “Always top notch! Be Proud of your employees.”— Kalumbach Feeds • “You guys (Jason & Stacy) made everything wonderful.”—unknown • “Jason Crowell is awesome!”—Jennifer Smith • “Jason did an outstanding job with assisting us with set up and clean up. He represents AgroLiquid very well. Please commend him for a job well done!”—CC Right to Life • “We had an amazing experience. Everyone was incredibly nice and accommodating. So happy we had prom here.”—PW Schools • “Jason is beyond amazing. I couldn’t have been more impressed. He went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and invited.”—Kaitie Mitchell • “5-STARS Because it is always excellent!”—John Kochensparger • “Jason was wonderful.”—Clinton Co. Historical Society • “Stacy was awesome and helpful!”—Constance Nobis • “Jason is intuitive & anticipates the guests’ needs. What an asset!”—Pearsall Rehearsal Dinner

These folks should be an inspiration to us all! Not only do they drop everything (tasks) to help our clientele, but, they do it for each and every one of us here at the corporate office on a daily basis. We can all take a lesson on customer service from Jason and Stacy!

Internal Newsletter December 2016

What can we do to help? Colina Gillespie, Senior Customer Service Manager

Retaining our current customer base plays a huge role in this year’s overall goal of selling 34.7 million gallons. After all, we are not the only liquid fertilizer on the block. However, it is true that people buy from people—and they prefer to buy from people they trust. So, we ALL need to make sure our Retail Partners are extremely satisfied with the service we provide. This spring should be exciting, and to help during this busy time, the customer service team will taking over the responsibility of acknowledging sales orders. As it is a fairly time-intensive task, Customer Service can relieve some pressure from transportation by acknowledging orders ahead of scheduling. Cheryl Sprague will be the primary person running the acknowledgements, with the transportation staff still having the capability to do them as needed (after hours, etc). We will notify the facilities when we are ready for this transition. Since customer satisfaction plays such an important role in the success of any business, we took advantage of National Customer

Service Week, October 3-7. The customer service team thought it would be a great opportunity to gather feedback on the quality of service we, as a company, provide our Retail Partners. To do that, we sent out a short customer satisfaction survey to all of them and asked for their candid answers. We received 45 responses. One of the things we were trying to measure with the survey is AgroLiquid’s Net Promoter Score (NPS). Net Promoter Score is a tool that is used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. A company’s NPS is determined by how likely customers are to refer them to a friend or colleague. Our NPS score was 80. My goal is for us to reach a Net Promoter Score of 90. After all…word of mouth has a powerful effect on the bottom line! The following employees have been recognized by Retail Partners as someone that customer feels deserves to be commended for the quality of service they provide. Congratulations and thank you to each of you for representing us in a positive manner.

The Ashley facility, Reid Abbott, Nick Bancroft, Albert Bancroft, Bob Baxter, Galynn Beer, Brady Boyd, Sean Cravens, John Dixon, Mike Falsetta, Kurt Fisher, Armando Gutierrez, Teresa Hoppe, Bruce Keck, Steve Ledoux, Jeff Luiken, Deb Nerland, Robert Rall, Stuart Schilling, Ashley Stickler, Jody Travis, Brian Waugh, Stephanie Zelinko

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Let’s S.O.A.R! Nikole Dunker, Senior HR Manager

Most people say they want to do a good job and that they care about the quality of work they do, but how many can say that they actually strive to SOAR? On average, it is probably a pretty low percentage. However, I would argue that at AgroLiquid there are more than the average that do; some without even realizing it. Those that do should be an inspiration to us all. A big part why companies are successful is due to employees that S.O.A.R.! Are you one of those that strive to SOAR and/or do you notice co-workers that do? So, what is S.O.A.R. and why would you want to be someone who strives to? Success through Opportunity, Accountability and Respect It creates a more enjoyable working environment, employee job satisfaction and personal and employer pride. SOAR-

The power and ability to rise above circumstances and obstacles to achieve positive results and success. Seek, recognize, create and act on opportunities for growth and/or improvement. Be accountable for your own actions and decisions: no excuses -learn from the bad & expand on the good. Respect all co-workers for different opinions, new ideas and their contributions.

So, how do you strive to S.O.A.R.? Striving to soar is not always easy at first nor does it come naturally to everyone, but it is never too late to start. It is always worth the effort and its rewards have compounding positive effects in our professional and personal lives. This is a journey toward awareness. The basic concept of striving for Success through Opportunity, Accountability and Respect is simply operating and actively utilizing the following thought processes: • Focus on what you can do, rather than why it can’t be or wasn’t done • Ask: what else can I do to contribute to or positively affect a result or those around me? • Always keep an open mind and stay positive Just imagine how much more the AgroLiquid team could accomplish if everyone ALWAYS strived to SOAR?


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Internal Newsletter December 2016

New Employees


Taylor Ward IT Intern

Austin Benes Southeast RSM

Jay Ostmeyer SAM - Northern TX

Rob Marquardt SAM - KY, TN, MS, AL

Hermon Hannah Stockton Manufacturing Associate

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Internal Newsletter December 2016

Hawaii Trips Gerrit Bancroft John Dixon Tim Duckert Nikole Dunker Mike Falsetta Dean Feldpausch Kevin Foerch Armando Gutierrez Craig Mead Deb Nerland Dale Ruff Stuart Schilling Dusty Schutt Lonny Smith Aarron Stahl Brian Waugh Jerry Wilhm


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January 5th - 17th January 2nd - 12th January 3rd - 12th January 3rd - 14th January 5th - 12th January 5th - 19th January 4th - 12th January 5th - 12th January 2nd - 12th January 5th - 12th Dec 27th - Jan 12th January 4th - 14th January 5th - 12th January 3rd - 13th January 5th - 12th January 5th - 12th Dec 29th - Jan 13th

Internal Newsletter December 2016

Lance Siruta Chris Underwood Robert Rall Cheryl Sprague Kurt Fisher Jay Eccleton Bob Baxter Danny Edwards Amy Akin Jay Ostmeyer Hudson Potter Kevin Foerch Dan Peterson Craig Ewing Matt Mesch Matt Johnson Wade Williams Renae Huyck Carlos Palavicini Lonny Smith Alicia Flegel Todd Gibbs Cory Johnson


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12/01 12/02 12/06 12/09 12/21 12/24 12/26 12/26 12/28 12/28 12/29 01/01 01/02 01/04 01/06 01/07 01/07 01/08 01/11 01/15 01/16 01/21 01/23

Steven Anderson Sandra Fedler Kelbie Stout Dusty Schutt Stuart Schilling Jerry Wilhm Galynn Beer Rick Knifley Margie Gove Dennis Clark Brad Schultz

Internal Newsletter December 2016

01/24 01/25 01/29 02/04 02/10 02/11 02/18 02/18 02/21 02/22 02/26

December Internal Newsletter  
December Internal Newsletter  

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