Greg Edwards, Portbury Team Ruminant Sales Manager

25-8-2021

Department: Sales

Joining ForFarmers

“This is my sixth year at ForFarmers. I originally joined as the Blends Specialist for the Exeter sales team back in 2015, after coming across from KW feeds. My role was to support the team on all aspects of blends.”

“In 2018 I became the Sales Manager of the Portbury Team and haven't looked back. Technically, if you add up all the years I’ve been working in the animal feed industry for more than 10 years.”

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Portbury sales team - 360

Exceptional knowledge and experience within the team

“The ruminant retail sales teams are a vital part of the ForFarmers operation. Our teams of knowledgeable and experienced Ruminant Specialists provide regular and detailed nutritional advice to our customers, helping them drive efficiencies in their businesses.”

“I feel fortunate to head up the Portbury Sales Team which is diverse in terms of age and experience. We have members of the team who are less than a month into their careers and others who are coming up to 30 years of continuous service. The team is not afraid of hard work but know how to have fun along the way.”

Cross-functional working

“As a sales team we work with almost every department within the business. We have close relationships with the manufacturing and logistics teams to ensure the highest levels of service are achieved for our customers.”

“Another crucial cog in the machine is our customer service teams who have some great relationships with our Ruminant Specialists. Working side by side together they make sure customer orders are pre-empted and placed in a timely manner.”

“A new, but increasingly important relationship for us as a team is that of the Total Feed Specialist. This additional support for each ledger will help us to be consistent, reach more customers and offer valuable insight into our total feed range. We also have direct links into the credit team, customer support team, pricing team and the health and safety team too. In short the whole operation and its success, is driven by teamwork across the business.”

Supporting the team

“There is no typical day as a Sales Manager, every day is different which I enjoy and it certainly keeps things interesting. Covid-19 has impeached on all of our lives, so a lot of the last 18 months have been spent working remotely. My daily tasks can include pricing up a feed contract to building our sales strategy as a team, the supporting campaigns that come with that, and then forecasting our performance over the coming months, or even years.”

“I see an important part of my role as removing any blockers that might be in the way of the team selling. This could take the form of complaint resolution, debt management or providing one to one guidance on how to tackle a prospect farm. Most importantly, and especially in recent Covid times, my role has been to keep morale in the team up and the spirit high. We’ve done that through regular team meetings and being on the end of the phone for each other.”

Strategically leading the way with robotic feed

Afbeelding: Robot ready blue

“In addition to my Sales Manager’s role, I look after a number of buying groups and also head up the National Robot Project team."

"I enjoy spend time understanding and sharing information on the raw material markets with our customers, as well as working with the Robot Specialists around the country to continue developing our robot strategy and offering.”

The importance of learning, seeing other countries and farms

“In 2018, I gained a place on the Louise Hartley Foundation Study Tour of New Zealand, representing ForFarmers. The Hartley family, a customer of ForFarmers, tragically lost their daughter Louise to ovarian cancer and as a result created a fund in her memory. Louise had a great passion for agriculture and worked for the Farmers Guardian.”

“The trip itself gave our group an in depth understanding of the New Zealand agricultural system and the ways in which farmers drive efficiencies in milk and meat production after the removal of Government support. With the changes in UK subsidies on the horizon, the trip provided a key insight into the adaptations, diversification and management changes that New Zealand agricultural and horticultural businesses had to make in order to survive and thrive. It was an incredible experience and one I won’t forget.”

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New Zealand

Overcoming challenges in the UK agricultural industry

“There are many challenges in our industry but one that stands out at the moment is the volatility in the raw material markets and what this means for the cost of inputs, including feed, on to our customer and prospect farms.”

“Over the space of 12 months we have seen raw material prices increase in excess of £40/t. What strikes me is the innovation and resilience that we have seen in our Ruminant Specialist teams to help their customers combat these challenges. Whether that be identifying where the bottleneck in a business is from a costings and efficiency perspective, delivering more milk from forage or delivering alternative feed and ration solutions, the proactivity in a very tough marketplace has been impressive.”

A rewarding job in many aspects

Of course you’ll say I’m biased, but I get a great enjoyment out of working with and seeing the Portbury Team, and individuals within it, being successful. Seeing knowledge transferred, being applied and sales generated on the back of it is what it’s about for me.”

“From a personal perspective, I’ve enjoyed the opportunities and progression that ForFarmers has provided me. It’s great to have a company structure that supports development and progression.”

“Finally I feel a sense of pride to work for a company and with a team that supports UK farmers. We work in an essential industry that puts food on all our tables everyday.”