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Ardent Mills CEO Dan DYE; “Size is no guarantee of success”

10 July 20147 min reading
Stating that Ardent Mills is a company dedicated itself to help customers succeed; company CEO Dan Dye emphasizes the following:  “We clearly recognize that size is no guarantee of success. Our focus is not on size but on working every day to earn our customers’ trust and business.”  Established with the merger of milling businesses belonging to ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling as a joint venture between Cargill and CHS, Ardent Mills have become the largest mill of U.S. today with this merger. Currently, Ardent organization includes 40 mills, three bakery-mix facilities and a specialty bakery. Company CEO Dan Dye said the following while answering our questions on the merger: “We strongly believe that operating together as Ardent Mills; we can proactively address these changes and serve the future needs of our customers better together than we could alone.” This sentence explains the reasons of the merger by itself as the focal point of all the partners and of course Ardent Mills is to provide the best solutions for their customers and make them succeed in their businesses. However, Dye emphasizes that the growth obtained from the merger is not the guarantee of success and adds: “Our focus is not on size but on working every day to earn our customers’ trust and business.” Company CEO Dan Dye tells everything about Ardent Mills. Established with the merger of Cargill, ConAgra and CHS Inc., Ardent Mills now is the largest milling business of U.S. Announced in 2013, the realization of this merger was extended over a long period of time. Firstly, could you please tell us the reason behind this decision of merger by the three companies and the establishment process of Ardent Mills? Just to clarify, Ardent Mills is an independent joint venture of three parent companies – Cargill, ConAgra Foods and CHS. Ardent Mills combines the assets of the former ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling – a joint venture of Cargill and CHS. The formation of Ardent Mills was a strategic choice made in direct response to the trends, opportunities and customer demands shaping this industry. We strongly believe that operating together as Ardent Mills; we can proactively address these changes and serve the future needs of our customers better together than we could alone. The formation of Ardent Mills takes advantage of the combined complementary strengths to offer customers even better products and services. As the premier supplier in the industry – we can provide efficiencies and increase our investment in innovation. The formation of Ardent Mills reflects a commitment to growth and to the future of flour milling. The partners had to sell 4 flour mills for this merger. Which mills were sold and which criteria was taken into consideration in choosing the mills that would be put on sale? The four plants included in the transaction are located in Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Saginaw, Texas, and; New Prague, Minnesota. Three were previously owned by ConAgra Foods and one by Horizon Milling LLC. The divestiture of these mills occurred in advance of Ardent Mill’s first day of business and was part of the U.S. Department of Justice review process. As the merger has been completed, how the next process will be handled? What kind of a business model will be used both in the management and production processes? What can you say about the shares and representative power of the partners? Ardent Mills’ first day of operation was May 29, 2014. The joint venture is in full swing in integrating all business functions and has a laser-like focus on quality grain-based solutions and outstanding customer service. Ardent Mills will capitalize on the best people and capabilities from both organizations operating with a customer focused business model that assures Ardent Mills is a trusted partner delivering nutritious and innovative grain based solutions. The company has clearly established values of Trust – operating with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, Serving – reaching out to serve customers, communities and fellow team members, Simplicity – freeing up team members to do what they do best and being an easy company to do business with, Safety – assuring the very best in personal safety and food safety. Ardent Mills will operate every day to fulfill our brand promise of “Nourishing What's Next”. Ownership of Ardent Mills is as follows: 44 percent by ConAgra Foods, 44 percent by Cargill and 12 percent by CHS. Could you please give information also on the current facility number of Ardent Mills, the locations of these facilities and current production capacity? Ardent Mills’ operations and services are supported by 40 flour mills, three bakery-mix facilities and a specialty bakery, all located in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. What products or products groups will be produced by Ardent Mills? After all, each partner produces their own product groups. Will Ardent Mills make production of all these products? Ardent Mills is powered by an industry-leading portfolio of premium multiuse flours, whole grains, specialty products and custom blends. Such products include Ultragrain®, Wheat Select, GrainWise® Wheat Aleurone, Sustagrain®, Ancient Grains and Sprouted White Whole Wheat Flour. These and other products and ingredients are used in creative, unique and everyday applications that help our customers meet their business goals. We are committed to work closely with our customers to find innovative new products that meet consumer needs and desires for healthy, nutritious, affordable, good tasting grain-based foods. Now, you are the largest company in U.S. Well, what is your position in the world market? Is there any other milling formation in the world like your company? We do not have information on milling companies around the world. We clearly recognize that size is no guarantee of success. Our focus is not on size but on working every day to earn our customers’ trust and business. Will you have production centers, facilities or offices outside United States? How much of your production will be used for the domestic market, how much will be exported? As noted earlier, Ardent Mills is supported by a network of mill, specialty mix facilities and a bakery in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Today, the primary use of our products is in the domestic markets in the countries our mills are located in but we are always looking to expand where there is opportunity to help our customers As Ardent Mills, will you make new investments for the revision of the current mills? We have a strong history of investing in our facilities to assure they are efficient, safe and positioned to serve our customers well. These investments will continue as we see opportunities to expand or gain effectiveness. Will there be a different approach and change on the service understanding or operating style of your mills? What will the customers and industry gain from this merger? As a new independent joint venture, we have the opportunity to simplify and to become even more nimble in meeting ever-changing food trends and customer needs. Ardent Mills is working with the industry for the good of grain. Both organizations were very customer focused and that will be even further heightened. Customers will gain from supply chain opportunities, risk management expertise and innovative solutions. This is an investment in the industry and an investment in the future. I am sure that there are lots of issues that the industry wants to know about this new formation but what would you like to say to your customers and the representatives of the grain industry as Ardent Mills? We’re a company dedicated to helping customers succeed. We offer the broadest range of flours, mixes, blends and specialty products, customized to meet customer needs. We’re backed by unrivaled technical support, exceptional customer service and the supply assurance of a coast-to-coast network of 40 community mills, three mix facilities and a specialty bakery. We are working to bring nutritious grain-based solutions to the marketplace and we are committed to always be ahead of the curve. We will operate by our values and work hard every day to nourish what’s next.
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