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Coping With Unexpected Weather Conditions to Maintain Operations in Germany

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For over a century, generations of families have been working at ADM Spyck’s Oilseeds crushing facility near the small village of Griethausen, close to the river Rhein in northwestern Germany. With many in the second and third generations part of the plant’s Operations team today, the close-knit group includes not only colleagues at the facility, but also neighbors and farmers in the area. And when faced with challenges, team ADM pulls together to overcome, which it most recently did in early February when the flooding of the Rhein due to heavy rainfall and snow melting in the mountains coincided with unusually cold weather.

In the early hours of February 6, temperatures dropped to -13°C from about 15°C in the days before. Flooding in the area, which had started on February 3, coupled with the below freezing temperatures and up to 50 to 70 cm of snow on the ground blocked off the usual route to the plant. Additionally, some Operations colleagues, already on their way to work, found themselves in buses that were stuck in the snow.

When Christian Reintjes, plant manager at ADM Spyck, received a call from a colleague in one of these buses, he called a farmer in the area, who was able to immediately reach the bus and provide assistance. He also helped a few other buses in the same situation. Another farmer nearby helped make the roads safer to travel. With the usual route blocked, team ADM worked together to help ten essential ADM colleagues find an alternative route to reach the plant, and as a result made sure that the facility was able to run smoothly with minimum staffing.

Until the water levels receded and the snow melted a few days later, a small group of colleagues continued to help ensure uninterrupted operations. ADM Spyck is one of the only plants in the company with a triple switch capacity to crush three different types of oilseeds, including rapeseed, sunflower seeds and soy. Having achieved a record crush volume last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this incident is another example of how the Operations team at ADM Spyck works together to overcome challenges and keep thriving.

“Everybody did a great job and I am thankful to our people, who are important to the success of our plant. Whenever there is any issue, we can reach out to the team for help and everyone works together to do what is needed to get through the situation – it’s a family feeling,” said Reintjes.