Customer-first culture at BASF
September 26, 2019 By Cyndi Young Filed Under: Crops, News
A little over a year ago, BASF acquired many assets from Bayer. Paul Rea, Senior Vice President of BASF Agriculture Solutions North America tells Brownfield a lot of work and planning went in to executing a swift and seamless transaction and integration so that customers would not be negatively impacted.
Rea tells Brownfield the relationship with customers remains
“It’s a must do,” he explained. “We have what we call a customer-first
culture that we are building at BASF where we really make the voice of the customer
much louder in our organization because. . .there’s a ton of change happening on
the farm and there’s a ton of change happening across the industry. There’s always that risk when things change a
lot that we think we don’t have to change, and this is the perfect time for
BASF to change and be ready for what’s around the corner.”
“Farmers face different challenges today; margins are really,
really tight, weed resistance isn’t going away.
There are a lot of concerns about trade and how they’ll market their
crop in the future. They also want to
improve their productivity, so we think it’s a perfect time for us to be more
customer-centric, to listen collaboratively, and to really bring them products
and solutions that they need based on what they are telling us. That’s something we’re really working hard on
and it’s paying dividends.”
Sales in the U.S. represent 41% of worldwide revenue for
BASF Agriculture Solutions. Rea tells
Brownfield the company has a strong presence now, but for growth aspirations,
the United States is very important.
“We are fortunate here in North America with the combined
new organization we have a lot of new assets, a lot of existing capabilities
that we have built upon and this is a region that readily embraces innovation.”
He said there is also a need here to improve productivity
and BASF is well placed to grow here with the products and technologies they have
for the future.
Rea acknowledges that it has been a challenging year for
farmers in many ways and BASF has been there with them through the year. Asked about lessons learned in this
challenging year, he tells Brownfield there were a few.
“Patience, believing in the capabilities of our teams,
listening to our customers more than ever and empathizing with them and their
circumstances,” Rea said.
On a positive note, he believes yields will overall be
better than expected back in May.
“That demonstrates the value of innovation and technology
and how resilient we’ve made that crop with seed treatments, all manner of
different traits and technologies,” Rea explained. “It’s surprising what we can
get done these days whether it be floods or droughts.”
Looking down the road, Rea believes hybrid wheat is going to
transform the business in a big way. He
believes wheat has been a neglected crop from an innovation point of view.
“It’s a very important crop globally and I think it has a large role to play in North America,” he said.
Cyndi Young interviewed Paul Rea at BASF offices in RTP, North Carolina:
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