Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Crystal Ball Needs Cleaning

In addition to meetings, January is also used for planning future needs and activities.  Cathy had an interior design consultant at our house yesterday.  You all know where that is heading, but I also support her quest for a re-do in our house.

Today is the deadline for a different planning process in Pioneer.  Brian and I have to polish our crystal ball and submit a corn hybrid and soybean variety sales forecast for 2013.  Yes, spring 2013, 16 months from now. 
Pioneer has to plan the same way as any farm.  They have to decide what mix of products will satisfy their customers needs and maximize returns.  It is more complicated because they have to manage not 4 or 5 crops, but hundreds of different corn hybrids and soybean varieties.  These "crops" must be planted this April with contract growers to be in the bag for 2013.  Somebody has to stick their neck out and  make some predictions.

Pioneer asks their front line sales force to stick their necks out and help with the process.  I believe Pioneer is the only seed company that requires every sales rep to forecast the mix of products they need to match their unique customer needs. 

It is a task that Pioneer reps take seriously.  If our forecast is not accurate we have a problem and we can't point fingers at some "number cruncher" who doesn't know what he/she is doing. 
Is our forecast accurate?  Some years yes, some years no.  Pioneer takes our numbers and builds a contingency plan to assist us when our forecast isn't worth the paper it was printed on.

Today we cross our fingers and peer into our cloudy crystal ball.  Please say a prayer, we need all the help we can get.

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