“…solution to help us cut waste and drive down costs for Meristem farmer-customers.”
Columbus, Ohio and Westfield, Ind. (AgPR) Mar. 2, 2023 – After rigorous logistical analysis and rapid construction, Meristem Crop Performance has built and opened a new 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Westfield, Indiana, the company announced here today. Meristem logistics team leaders are already on site accepting and staging inventory for the 2023 crop season.
“We’re very excited about this next step in our modified direct-to-farm distribution solution to help us cut waste and drive down costs for Meristem farmer-customers,” said Mitch Eviston, Meristem Founder and CEO. “This big, new, efficient warehouse is at the heart of our mission to assure that we can efficiently get farmers what they need when they need it.”
This new order fulfillment center at 900 East 169th Street in the northern suburb of Indianapolis provides an eastern capability for Meristem. Logistics and fulfillment are further supported by a warehouse in the West, located in Fremont, Nebraska.
“We began our coordination of customer pick-ups and outbound shipments during the last week of January and it’s working very well,” said John Gertz, Meristem’s Chief Operating Officer. “After coming through the ups and downs of logistics during the pandemic, we knew we needed to build excellence in order fulfillment and with these warehouses east and west, we are well on the way.”
A kitchen, lounge, showers and conference room will also be a part of the new warehouse, explained Gertz. “We want farmers and truckers to be able to take a break and relax before their next trip.” In addition to the brand-new warehouse, Gertz said a key victory is the people hired to run it, Nikki Decesare and Jim Clay. “Both have great experience in logistics, inventory and order fulfillment, but the key X factor: They both know the rhythm of the crop season, too.”
Decesare and Clay join Meristem veteran Ashley McCann, sales and customer care manager, to spearhead the company’s new customer care initiative, designed to assure a first-class customer experience and product stewardship for every farmer-customer.
“As we’ve grown to reach several million acres all across the country, we’ve gained a lot of insight to what’s needed to bring a positive experience to farmers, plus continue our drive to make it efficient,” says McCann. “Communication is key and that’s why we’re also hiring another three customer care associates to assure that we stay connected to customers.”
Growing up in Waterville, Ohio, Decesare came to logistics early when she moved to Indiana after high school graduation to work in a huge warehouse for her father, Milo. There she gained skills in inventory management, operating forklifts and loading trucks. “I worked with my father for nine years and ended up writing ISO 9000 procedures and learning almost everything there was to learn about order management and fulfillment,” she smiles. From there, she went to another seed treatment operation, where she was a customer service rep for ten years, taking orders, shipping orders and managing all aspects of logistics.
“My focus is to make sure everybody ordering from Meristem gets exactly what they ordered and they get it when they need it and want it,” says Decesare. “We do that by focusing on the details of the order, making certain they are clear, and then double-checking all of it.”
Eviston says Meristem’s desire to reduce waste in distribution and pass along those savings to farmers requires being smart about transportation, using only one set of wheels from the manufacturer, when possible, given that the variability of the cropping season can be difficult.
“Fact is, given the timing of production and customer need, we learned one set is just not always possible,” he explains. “Our solution is a lean warehouse and order fulfillment system that we can fully control. Anyone that’s shipped product in the past several years, what with the pandemic, Ukraine War and sky-high fuel prices, knows inventory control and transportation is a big challenge. With this system, we are set up to help farmers win. When they win, we win.”
About Meristem Crop Performance® Group, LLC
Meristem Crop Performance Group, LLC (www.meristemag.com) is one of the fastest-growing crop input companies in America. Meristem sources, formulates, licenses, and delivers high-quality crop inputs to farmers at the highest possible value offering substantial savings. Meristem is focused on building a highly efficient channel to bring crop inputs to market so farm businesses can make the most of their infrastructure and intellectual property investments and better compete in the global agricultural market. Meristem’s team of experienced ag professionals also works to create real productivity gains for farm businesses through novel biological delivery systems and accelerated access to farm-ready innovation. For more information, go to our website at www.meristemag.com, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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K. Elliott Nowels