“Facing” the Challenges of Global Agribusiness

During my time here at AAC, I have come to learn a significant amount about the agribusiness industry and what a consulting company truly entails. The industry is much larger and grandiose than one may expect. The entire world is centrally connected and each country around the world has part to play. While competition is rampant throughout the industry, every company desires the same result, to feed the world.

The industry is broken down into many different components. The industry consists of livestock, farm feed, feed additives, medications, transportation, meat shipping, machinery, packaging, slaughtering, feed prep, and much more. One company can either focus on a single aspect mentioned or take on multiple aspects at once. My company focuses on consulting. This requires us to have detailed knowledge on all areas of the industry and stay up to date with the latest news and breakthroughs. Even though we are a consultinAg firm operating and focusing on the markets in Asia, we still watch and keep track of the markets in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. I now have a deeper respect for those who make my food, because the path to get from farm to plate is much more complicated than one may think.

Asian Agribusiness Consulting is a tiny consulting firm consisting of five full time employees and myself. Its strengths include the company’s ability to work together cohesively and allow group discussion when needed. The employees are overall hard working and dedicate their eight hours of work to different projects and assignments. The team regularity communicates through Skype and some issues can be solved quickly.

However, like all companies, AAC also possesses weaknesses. The company’s size hinders its ability to work on large projects, as more people would make researching easier. Also, the team consists of all Chinese employees, yet the director is Australian who does not speak Chinese; therefore, when the team meets to discuss updates on projects, the language barrier can be a problem. The employees can speak English, but at varying levels. Also, when an employee makes a mistake, she does not notify the director due to the fear of losing face and hides the error to avoid the director getting angry. This can seriously hinder a company’s ability to progress and ultimately slows down progress. By not attacking problems head first, issues can build up overtime and never be solved. Another minor weakness is communication. The supervisor works at home near Shanghai and has not come to the office in years. Not being able to have face to face contact can provide difficulties when challenges arrive.

In terms of opportunities, the company continues to work with bigger and bigger companies, allowing it to gain more recognition in the community. If AAC continues to gain large clients, the company will see many more opportunities waiting at the door. In terms of threats, I truly believe the dynamic between the employees and the director can have serious consequences in the future. If the employees are too afraid to confront the director about issues they are having the company can face a pile of unsolved problems that can ultimately ruin it. The team also does not work closely with one another making the dynamic of the team less cooperative with one another.

The company, overall, has the potential to grow and become a significant figure in the world of agribusiness consulting. As long as the company continues to work with high profile clientele, the better equipped the company will become. It has been a blessing to work for this company and I am very appreciative where I ended up. I have had my struggles with the company, but I think they provide a great experience.

Eric Art

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