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Services

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Global

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Date

May 2016

Bayer SeedGrowth Service Centers worldwide

A PEOPLE’S BUSINESS

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The importance of Bayer SeedGrowth® service managers is rising steadily: customers request more complex treatment recipes and the equipment has more functions than ever. The daily duties of Bayer managers like Frank Laubert will never become routine.
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Frank Laubert, Head of the Bayer SeedGrowth Service Center at Monheim, Germany.

The phone is ringing. Frank Laubert, Head of the Bayer SeedGrowth Service Center at Monheim, Germany, where the Global Headquarters of the Crop Science Division is located, finds a customer on the line who wants to report a failure: he thinks the active ingredient content on the seeds, which is provided by his treating machine, is incorrect. Since the cause of the problem cannot be identified on the phone, Laubert is going to visit the customer as soon as possible to check out the situation on-site. There he finds out that the aspiration level was set too high, which resulted in part of the spray mist being sucked out. “This example shows that SeedGrowth is a people’s business and much more than just pressing one or two buttons on a seed treater,” explains Laubert. “In our job, we do not have ready-made solutions. We service a multistep process: we are product counselors, coaches and troubleshooters.”

Treatment at the right dose

Treating seeds is becoming increasingly sophisticated. “More customers want to apply ever more products to the seed, for instance a fungicide, one or two insecticides, micronutrients and on top of this the right film coating,” explains Frank Laubert. “This is a huge challenge as the surface area of the seed is limited.” Therefore his advice is in demand: customers rely on his product recommendations to make sure that the seeds perform well in the field. This means the treatment ingredients need to be applied in the correct ratio and at the right dose. The selected products should adhere to the seed well to avoid being rubbed off. Simultaneously, the treated seeds need to run smoothly through the planting machines.

Seed quality is tested

Furthermore, Bayer SeedGrowth Centers offer several services across the globe where customers can test the quality of their treated seeds. This is very important as the quality and size of the seeds may vary, which also influences the treatment recipes. With the seed loading test, for instance, SeedGrowth Service Managers test to see whether the correct amounts of the various products are on the seed. The seed safety test analyzes the effects of the product mix on germination. This service is especially relevant as a seed treater may use products from different suppliers.
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Seed Expertise in Southern Africa

Bayer’s business on the Southern African continent has increased, and this is why Bayer intends to open a new SeedGrowth Center in South Africa. “It is very important to visit our customers’ plants on-site at least once per month. This is in order to help them improve their efficiency, to support them with issues such as quality management and to train them on the equipment,” says Jaco Van Zyl, SeedGrowth Specialist at Bayer South Africa.

The center will open in June 2016 and will be located in Nigel, which is 60 kilometers south east of Johannesburg. Among others, the facility will serve customers in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and will focus on corn, soy, cotton, sunflower, oil seed rape, wheat and barley. One of the services offered will be a Heubach device. This is used to measure dust abrasion so that the customer can be sure that his treater is correctly set up and that his seeds will be treated to the highest possible quality.
» Read more about the opening
Providing advice on the correct use of the equipment is a daily task for Frank Laubert: “There is no standard manual on how to set the machine correctly. Therefore, training is one of the most important aspects of our role. Let’s say treater A is located in Greece, treater B in Brazil. Even if all the other parameters such as the type of machine and product mix are the same, the application settings will be different due to the different climatic and seed conditions.” Therefore, the experience and skills of the operator are key: “If you do not put the correct information in, you will not get a high-quality product out,” says Frank Laubert.
Customers value the fact that Bayer does not simply sell products. SeedGrowth Service Centers also provide regular and much-needed service support. “Once we had a client who leased our equipment for five years,” remembers Laubert. At the end of the contract they chose to remain with Bayer SeedGrowth. “They stayed with us because they knew that one of my colleagues or I would be available to solve any problems that arose within a couple of days.”
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Interview with Heinz-Friedrich Schnier, Global Head of SeedGrowth Centers at Bayer

“CLOSE TO THE CUSTOMER”

 

Dr. Heinz-Friedrich Schnier, Global Head of SeedGrowth Centers at Bayer, explains why and how Bayer has considerably increased the number of training sessions.

 

In the past few years you have opened several Bayer SeedGrowth Centers abroad. Why is it so important to have a global network?

Heinz-Friedrich Schnier: “As the SeedGrowth business has been growing substantially in the past ten years – especially in regions like Latin America – it was necessary to have facilities close to the customer. To do everything from Monheim is logistically challenging.”

Can you give a precise example of how customers benefit from the SeedGrowth Centers abroad??

Heinz-Friedrich Schnier: “Training sessions are one of the most important aspects of our work. Before we established this network, we had to fly people in from all over the globe to train them at our headquarters in Monheim. For instance, only around ten people from Brazil could attend our training courses and expensive logistics were involved. After we set up a SeedGrowth Center in Brazil we were able to train up to 700 people per year and show them how to operate a treater and apply our products correctly.”

Do you plan to expand the network any further?

Heinz-Friedrich Schnier: “Last year we opened a new facility in Indonesia. In 2016, we will supplement our network of excellence with centers in South Africa and Ukraine. We will then have 14 facilities. ”

Certification

In Germany, the Federal Government requires seed treaters to officially prove their expertise and regularly refresh their knowledge to ensure it is kept up-to-date. Bayer can issue this certificate to customers who participate in a special training session, during which they undergo occupational training and coaching in environmental protection as well as in integrated crop solutions. As part of the Bayer Stewardship program, treaters can also receive this certification in other countries. Find out more » here.
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