60 second interview: Using tech in feed formulation, mill management

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/ileezhun
© iStock/ileezhun

Related tags: Management

In a new series on feed careers, we caught up with Bruce Feist, managing director of Format Solutions regarding his current role, how he how he arrived at where he is today and his perspective on the world of feed manufacturing.

That company is separately managed but owned by Cargill. 

FeedNavigator:How did you get into the industry?

Bruce Feist​: I’ve spent my career in business-focused technology roles. After working in the financial and energy trading and also on a large and complex global SAP implementation, I went to work for Cargill’s feed and nutrition division. Getting deeper into the business and learning more, it’s a really cool industry – the mix of technology, agriculture and animal health is unique and something I find fascinating.

FeedNavigator:Tell us about your current role.

Bruce Feist​: I lead the Format Solutions business. We provide software and services to the feed and food industries and our [technologies] span feed and food formulation, and feed manufacturing and operations management. Our headquarters are in Minneapolis, MN.

FeedNavigator: What do you like most about your job?

Bruce Feist​: Every single time I talk to a customer, I learn something. I get to work with a smart and engaged group of people that care about our customers and our business. And I find meaning in working to create an environment where people can be successful.  

FeedNavigator​: What's the hardest thing about your job?

Bruce Feist​: The most energizing things for me are also the most difficult things. It’s energizing to listen to what a customer really needs in the software and formulation space, and then work as a team to find the best ways to help them. 

FeedNavigator:Is there such thing as a typical day for you?

Bruce Feist:​ There really isn’t! Our customers are spread throughout the world, so I think it is important to spend time traveling to them and really listen to how we can best help them succeed in their own business. When in the office, I try to spread my time across customer topics, talent and strategy.

FeedNavigator: What advice would you give people interested in a job in your field?

Bruce Feist​: The first piece of advice I give anyone is to make sure you’re doing something that is personally fulfilling and you are passionate about – your quality of life and how you perform in your job will be exponentially better. More specifically to the nutrition, technology and agriculture field – there are many opportunities for people with a variety of backgrounds to fill interesting and fun roles. There is no set background or profile for people to follow – so if you have interest and passion, find a good starting point and go from there.

FeedNavigator: What is the biggest challenge for the feed industry today?

Bruce Feist:​ The pace of change. Our customers consistently mention several topics: the focus on creating safe feed for animals to consume, increased government regulations adding complexity to their business, the challenge in attracting talent to their organizations, and the challenge of transitioning to new technologies they need to stay competitive.

There’s a quote that I think fits our industry well, “Change has never happened this fast before, and will never be this slow again.”​ I don’t think complexity and the high pace of change will “go away”​ anytime soon, but for organizations and leaders that can adapt and learn how to navigate and manage this complexity and change, there will continue to be great opportunities.

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