"It's all about people, product, service."
That simple statement by Jake Underwood, general manager for Crop Production Services in northern Indiana, explains why he believes the Warren unit of CPS is celebrating its 50th year in business in 2013.
Underwood has the hard facts and figures about CPS down pretty good. He points out that the firm, a division of Agrium, based out of Calgary, Canada, has 16 facilities in Indiana from Indianapolis north, and that Crop Production Services is the world leader in global ag inputs. He notes, however, that the company's success comes as much from its employees as anything it sells.
"I think the best thing is our people," he explains. "Ag is a relationship business, and the people at the plant have based their business on relationships, what is best for our customers. It's all about performance, and our job is to make our customers happy and put money in our growers' pockets, and we think we do that."
The local branch opened just outside of Warren in 1963 as Armour Fertilizer Co., selling dry fertilizer and a small amount of liquid fertilizer. The company now sells dry fertilizer, chemicals, seed, anhydrous and liquid nitrogen and does GPS soil testing and spraying.
Thirteen full-time employees handle those chores in five buildings on 5.5 acres. The newest building, opened this summer, replaces the old retail building and has two stories for office space and a conference room.
The local manager, Allen Davis, notes that although CPS has changed names many times in the past years, the constants have been good people giving good service to customers.
"In my opinion, it's been mostly about service; that has been first and foremost. Top service is going to bring people back," he says.
One way the local operation, located at 423 E-1000S, Warren, caters to its customers is with extended hours in the busy planting and harvest seasons. The facility is open 80 to 100 hours a week for about six to eight weeks in the spring, then in the fall there is a five to six-week window where 60 to 80-hour weeks are common, Davis notes.
The rest of the year the facility runs 40-hour weeks, he adds.
Davis credits his employees for much of the success of the local plant, pointing out that the local operation is based on teamwork.
"As far as I'm concerned, this is what these people have been about. We have worked together to build this into a successful plant," he says.
Davis and his crew know that the people of the area have helped make the Warren plant successful, and to give back to the area the plant participates in several of the area activities, such as the recent Scarecrow Festival, where Crop Production Service personnel manned a children's game booth - in Halloween costumes.
"I feel like having the local people be loyal to us, we just feel we need to be loyal and give back to the community and participate in various events," Davis says.
The business phone number is 375-2770. The company website is at www.cpsagu.com .
Crop Production Services held an open house this summer to celebrate the local plant being in business 50 years. The CPS team shot included (from left) Jeff Ivins, Mike Johns, Aaron McMillan, Eric Brown, Allen Davis, John Halback, Misty Pullum, John Krumanaker, Rich Clark, Steve Clark, Tracy Johnson, Trevor Jeffries, Joe Fort, Rob Kelly, Jeff Bolding and Elizabeth Blinn.