Becky Rolingson, Formulation Manager UK

2-7-2020

Department: Formulations

“The UK formulations team consists of eight members of staff. Each team member is responsible for a specific mill(s). As a team we produce the compound feed recipes used at the ten ForFarmers sites across the UK."

Pauls Agricultural

“I joined Pauls Agriculture 28 years ago on the 9th December 1991. I took on an Account Controller role and was based at the Burston mill, as Pauls had just purchased Tucks of Burston.”

“BOCM PAULS then came along and I transferred into an inbound logistics role which was part of the raw materials department. At the time, the raw materials team was being centralised and as a result my role moved to head office which was situated at Key Street in Ipswich. Once I had settled into the team I was offered the opportunity to train as a Formulator.”

“Several years passed and in 2007, the raw materials team was relocated back to Burston. Since then I have worked my way up into a managerial role which I have now been doing for 7 years.  In 2017, the team was moved to Horizon House which is situated in Bury St. Edmunds.”

European team structure

“The UK formulations team consists of eight members of staff. Each team member is responsible for a specific mill(s). As a team we produce the compound feed recipes used at our ten ForFarmers sites spread across the UK.”

“ForFarmers operates across a range of European countries and as a result there are other formulations teams. There is a team based at Lochem and they complete the formulations work for The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. There is also another team based in Poland.”

ForFarmers Ewbol Gold

Innovation

“In order to provide sustainable feed and advice, which results in healthier livestock and greater efficiencies on farm, ForFarmers Nutrition and Innovation Centre (NIC) conducts between 40-50 research projects per year. ForFarmers utilises its extensive network, including leading European institutes and universities in order to contribute to both research and the realisation of products and services for farmers.”

Formulating feed

“We formulate specific rations for each site and use our NIC agreed specifications to ensure that nutritional integrity within diets is achieved. We also work closely with each mill in order to reach physical quality targets.”

“We produce, regularly updated, forward raw material usages and evaluations so we can achieve cost effective purchase and use of raw materials. We also challenge the costs of local and national specification constraints to give the business a balanced view of formula cost. By evaluating the value of existing and new raw materials, we ensure that we have the best mix for each manufacturing site given their differing customer base.”

“As part of my role, I also work with sites to identify the costs of mill constraints and potential cost savings. We also have to maintain labelling data and ensure that all of our labels conform to legal and company requirements.”

“On the innovation front, we are in constant communication with our NIC colleagues and assist in the preparation of new rations.”

A normal day in the office

“Honestly, every day is different, you never quite know what you might face. This variety is challenging but enjoyable and makes the days go so quickly. As a manager, I have several team members to look after. I am therefore available to answer queries and provide guidance so as a team we can provide a consistent approach and working methodology. We also have strict timescales to abide by so it’s important I provide the necessary information and support to the team.”

“Every Wednesday morning we have a trend pricing meeting. As a team we look at the production of replacement diet costs, for each diet, at each site and take appropriate action where necessary.”

Working from home during the Covid-19 crisis

Becky

“I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the prospect of working from home but have been doing so since the 17th March. The main challenge for my department was not having the team altogether in one place which is what we were used to. We have always said one of the strengths is utilising each other’s knowledge and we usually contribute in conversations across the office. However, with all the team members now working from home we have had to adapt and part of that has been to set up regular team calls so we can keep in touch.”

“Our IT colleagues have made this situation much easier than I expected and have provided a wide range of equipment and software so we can continue to work efficiently from the safety of our own homes. Skype for Business has been a great tool and allows communication to flow between teams and employees across the UK.”

“It is surprising how quickly we have all adapted and become used to new ways of working. Without doubt, I also enjoy the short commute!”

Team spirit

“My role as a Formulations Manager at ForFarmers is fulfilling and keeps me busy. I really enjoy it when different departments come together to create a suitable solution. The comradery of colleagues when times are difficult really shines through.”

“We have a great formulations team and the members within it have a range of differing skills and levels of experience. We all get on really well as a group of colleagues and friends. We are supportive and challenging to each other and this makes a great team dynamic.”