Seed World

Quality Management: Pillar of Customers’ Satisfaction

Director of Operations,

After obtaining an engineering degree in Industrial Process Engineering, Patrice joined Ford as a quality engineer and methods. In 2001, he evolved as a production manager and then a quality manager in one of Ford’s factories. Afterward, he joined the equipment supplier Getrag, a German family business of 5,000 employees. He then joined the management team as QHSE Director Group based in Cologne, and Patrice was also responsible for product quality. Following this position, he managed the production of a factory in Germany and then he was manager of the French subsidiary in Bordeaux region.
In 2013, Getrag entrusted him with the management of a business line with the responsibility of developing a new gearbox in various subsidiaries (Brazil, China, France and India). Then, he held the position of Director of Operations at Getrag, responsible for five factories. He was the guarantor of operational activities, industrial strategy and continuous improvement (lean manufacturing). In early 2019, Patrice Server was seduced by the position of Director of Operations within Euralis Seeds.

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In order to meet growing demand, Euralis is constantly developing its production network in areas with the best agronomic qualities. Regardless of the seed production area, quality control is centralized in the French laboratory of Lescar according to the methods approved by ISTA.

In order to meet this objective, EURALIS has chosen three main production areas managed directly online:

  • 10,000 ha in southwestern France, the best climatic region in Europe for corn production,
  • 4,500 ha in southern Spain, a disease-free region very suitable for sunflower production,
  • 5,000 ha in Ukraine in the heart of the chernozium to supply Eastern Europe.

The three factories are coordinated and work in conjunction to ensure the highest quality product comes from them. There is a matrix organisation in place with Central Services dedicated to operations, such as HR, finance, quality, supply chain, agro production and industrial methods, which supports each local entity. This ensures the Euralis operating modes stay harmonised. For example, our Industrial Method Department defines the standards for processes and equipment, and makes sure we utilize best practices in all three facilities.  The agro team has the responsibility to define all growing protocols and also manage the global footprint for seeds production worldwide.

All support departments touch base weekly with the head of operations of each country in an Operations Committee in order to stay connected around the operational subjects. This committee also meets twice a year at a seminar to align on more strategic projects such as continuous improvement strategy or quality assurance deployment within operations.

Quality and efficiency are cornerstones of the operations. If we consider the quality definition as Customer Satisfaction, then quality assurance is the confidence we can give in our ability to produce quality products. During seed production, customers will always find the same product quality, meeting their expectations.

To improve efficiency we need first of all to measure it. It is only by making visible our performance through key performance indicators (KPIs) that we can start the journey of continuous improvement on a sustainable manner. This starts by defining KPIs, then setting objectives on those and defining actions plans to close the gaps. When the gap is closed, we start again: new objectives, measure the gap, actions to close the gap and meet objectives.

We have recently strengthened our S&OP process (sales & operating planning), with better interaction between sales and operations. Clear governance meetings and defined KPIs enable us to meet timelines and make the right decisions for our customers. As a result, during the last WOSR campaign, we were capable to make our products available on the market three weeks earlier than last year.

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