“High-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world” It’s the corporate vision of AGCO Corporation, a global leader in design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment. That vision guided AGCO to recent accolades around the world for its Smart Logistics initiative. With that guiding vision driving the company, Greg Toornman, B.B.A.’92, global director of material logistics and freight, told Forbes magazine in August, the company “defined that we needed to take a different approach to support our future supply chain needs.”
And, Business Broncos are helping AGCO provide that support for the company’s complex, global supply chains.
Toornman, who has worked at the agricultural equipment giant since 2004, says WMU alumni and students serve important functions in the organization. These alumni represent the University and keep it connected with the heralded integrated supply management program.
“AGCO has new ISM employees leading innovation projects—leading change,” says Toornman.
Even during cycles when AGCO is not hiring extensively, the company maintains its commitment to WMU through participation on the integrated supply management executive council, which serves an advisory role to the program, and hosts externs, hires interns and identifies talent for potential full-time positions.
“AGCO is invaluable to the ISM program as we innovate our curriculum to meet industry needs and prepare students to be leaders in our field,” says Dr. Sime Curkovic, professor of supply chain management.
Developing and retaining talent to utilize innovative tools is another key area of focus for AGCO. “We work with the best university supply chain programs around the globe to develop talent.” In North America, Mike Clem, Vice President of Purchasing for the Americas and Toornman collaborate with Western Michigan University’s Integrated Supply Management (ISM) program. —Supply Chain World, August 22, 2017, http://www.scw-mag.com/sections/manufacturing-distribution/883-agco
So, what drives the company to focus on identifying that talent at WMU?
“We see more applied experience from WMU ISM students than from other schools. They have an ability to multi-task, understand the larger aspects of supply chain management on the company, and the ability to drive results sooner,” says Toornman. “Most are working part- or full-time, participating in Bronco Force consulting projects, completing externships and internships, becoming members of APICS and engaging in community service and other co-curricular activities. They understand commitments, handle more than one project concurrently, and manage their time well. They work their way through college and are willing to get their hands dirty. WMU students are ready day one and asking for more challenges.”
John Shouse, B.B.A.’15, is now an AGCO buyer in global purchasing. He says the ISM program curriculum prepared him for his position.
“WMU provided me a full package of classes that set a foundation for me to understand the core needs of all the cross functions,” says Shouse. “After I was hired, I asked my boss what I did to stand out. Of the 15 students interviewing, he told me I was the most prepared and I was very passionate about what I do every day, pushing myself to be better the next day.” Dennis Lemley, B.B.A.’13, started his AGCO career as an intern and is now a logistics support analyst supporting AGCO’s new integrated TMS system.
“As an intern, I helped implement the SAP supplier network collaboration functionality, which helped prepare me for the change management process and showed me how our business works,” says Lemley. “WMU’s ERP and logistics courses gave me exposure to understand what is needed out of transportation management systems and how they operate. All of this experience prepared me very well and positioned me to lead change and innovation. All of this led me to where I am now—assigned to the SMART Logistics project as the TMS subject matter expert.”
AGCO hires interns for a variety of projects and in numerous locations around the world.
“We offer different scenarios and work with each student to establish the best experience for an internship,” says Toornman. “We ask them what they want to do, what they want to learn, and about their interests.”
Some students want to learn about the industry and supply chain systems generally, so AGCO will put them in a rotation experience. If a student’s interests are more focused, the internship will focus more time on that role.
“We respect these students because of their maturity level in respect to deliverables,” says Toornman. “Their work represents the overall integrity of the ISM program, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.”
Toornman says AGCO maintains on-going relationships with faculty and develops collaborative relationships with students early on. The company recently hosted WMU externs to identify students who are a fit for AGCO.
“I went into my AGCO externship with a completely open mind and was blown away,” says Holly Zummo, a management major in the college of business. “I loved how much they showed us about how the company runs on a day-to-day basis. This ranged from attending a two and a half hour virtual meeting with people all over the world to lunch breaks with the local team. I learned so much by just listening and watching the team analyze different action plans.”
And all those externship, internship and career positions are guided by the corporate vision that puts customer needs at the forefront—and where students are met by a hiring philosophy that reads “Grow with us. Every day. Every way.”
Learn more about AGCO's award winning SMART Logisitics initiative
Learn about about AGCO's hiring efforts at https://careers.agcocorp.com/.