Animal feed industry faces digital disruption

The animal feed industry faces a digital disruption, according to John Foley of Cargill Animal Nutrition, who spoke March 14 at the American Feed Industry Association’s Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Venture capital firms are starting to invest in agriculture, meaning that change can come quickly, according to one expert who says all industries will be subject to a digital disruption by 2020. | canjoena, BigStockPhoto.com
Venture capital firms are starting to invest in agriculture, meaning that change can come quickly, according to one expert who says all industries will be subject to a digital disruption by 2020. | canjoena, BigStockPhoto.com

The animal feed industry faces a digital disruption, according to John Foley of Cargill Animal Nutrition, who spoke Wednesday, March 14, at the American Feed Industry Association’s Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Foley described digital disruption as “the effect of digital technologies and business models on a company’s current value proposition and resulting market position.”

“We have so many technologies coming at us that we can’t really ignore it anymore,” Foley said. “We’re entering a new era of business where it’s no longer viable to go it on your own. There’s going to be a lot more partnering going on.”

Foley said that, by 2020, all industries will be subject to digital disruption. Venture capital firms are starting to invest in agriculture, and that means change can come quickly.

“These venture capital firms can change things in a hurry because they pump money into startups,” he said.

Startups have several advantages, including faster innovation, agility and the ability to experiment and take risks. They are unencumbered by legacy systems or heavy bureaucracy, adapt and move quickly, Foley said.

“A lot of these startups will disrupt the industry, but they may or may not make it. … But what they’ve done to the industry is probably going to stay.”

But incumbents, or players that have been in the industry for a long time, have their own advantages: capital, strong/trusted brands, customer base, customer relationships, data and talent.

That data is key, Foley said: “We have to get better at using our data to tell us where we’re going to go in the future.”

10 transformation elements

To survive a digital disruption, the feed industry should focus on these 10 transformation elements, Foley said:

  1. Be connected and always on
  2. Be transparent
  3. Be fast, proactive and quickly responsive
  4. Be agile
  5. Collect and analyze data
  6. Experiment and learn
  7. Innovate and execute
  8. Focus on customer experience
  9. Control costs and enhance value
  10. Simplify
Page 1 of 65
Next Page