At Seaboard, we create career opportunities for select individuals that are passionate about working for a multinational company in exciting locations. We enjoy the challenges that come with operating a successful business with operations around the world. Our team is made up of talented and diverse individuals that bring a unique blend of qualifications and experience to our business. The best way to learn about a career at Seaboard is to hear from our employees in their own words. That said, we will regularly profile some of the key roles at Seaboard around the world.
Abdallah Khaldoune, Milling Operations Manager, Madagascar
What is your job title and location?
I’m the Mill Manager for Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group, and I am based in Antsirabe, Madagascar. Antsirabe is the third largest city in Madagascar, with a population of 200,000, and the capital of the Vakinankaratra region. The city was founded in 1872 by Norwegian missionaries who were attracted by the cool climate and healing properties of the many thermal springs and minerals in the area. Its nickname is “Vichy Malgache” and the name Antsirabe literally means “the place of much salt.”
How long have you worked for Seaboard?
I have been working with Seaboard Overseas for almost 10 years (Since March 2006).
What are your duties?
I am responsible for all operational aspects of the mill, including managing the wheat and flour inventory, raw material intake, the milling process, and delivery of the finished product. I have to ensure that high quality products are being produced to meet customer standards.
I am responsible for the management and training of the shift millers and assistant millers in respective shifts in order to achieve and maintain discipline and effective productivity from the staff. Then, I provide regular production reports to the Seaboard Overseas headquarters in Kansas City.
In an effort to reduce manufacturing costs and meet production goals, I am continuously developing efficiency strategies and looking for new and better methods to improve the mill operations.
Describe a typical day at work?
It should be noted that every day is different at the mill.
I like to start my week with a visit to the laboratory to check all the wheat and product analysis results, and to ensure production is running smoothly.
At the mill, each day I start with a short meeting with my staff to check the daily production report, check wheat and flour bin, warehouse inventory, set daily production priorities and adjusting schedules as needed.
Usually, I have to do a tour around all plant floors, sometimes with a shift miller, to make sure the plant is running smoothly, efficiently and safely.
After I have a delicious lunch, I usually check with the lab to ensure the quality of baking and analyze results of on-going production.
At the end of the day I check with sales department to see if there are any special customer orders for the next day. Then, I give instructions to the next shift so that everything is ready to go for next day.
What are some of your Seaboard career highlights (i.e., the things you are most proud of or efficient processes you’ve implemented)?
In 2014, our mill performance improved dramatically, setting a new volume record for the company. We ranked 4th out of 16 Seaboard affiliated companies.
I am proud of a training program I helped implement for young assistant millers at both the Les Moulins De Madagascar (LMMF) and Minoterie De Matadi (MIDEMA) mills in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC. During 2006-2011, this was the best performance at MIDEMA (960 tons/day), which set us atop of all Seaboard affiliated companies a number of times.
Also, I was involved with the installation of new infrastructure at the port grain terminal, which has a vessel unloading capacity of 400 tons per hour, and new Silos with a storage capacity of 24,000 tons.
Personally, I am proud when, after much planning, our mill achieves Seaboard company goals. Also, I’m proud of the excellent working relationship I’ve maintained with co-workers and clients.
What do you enjoy most about working for Seaboard Overseas?
I like to work in a job that I am passionate about. And, Seaboard Overseas does everything to provide a balanced work-life environment. The company makes sure its people feel valued and respected so they can contribute in the best possible way.
Also, I feel that we are an equal opportunity employer, and never discriminate on grounds of gender, race, color, or religion.
But the most rewarding thing is to see a product I helped produce for sale in the supermarket. Seeing baguettes made from the flour that my mill produced is an absolute pleasure.
Did you have any hesitation in taking the job?
Sincerely, I did not hesitate taking the job at Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group. However, I was a bit nervous going to my first location in Africa. But that concern disappeared once I visited, and met all the great people from different backgrounds.
What education and/or skills from the past have prepared you most for your current role?
First, I earned a Bachelor of Science from Institut De Formation De L’industrie Meuniere in Casablanca, Morocco. Second, I am a qualified technician specializing specifically in the flour milling industry. I have more than 14 years of mill experience across Africa and the Middle East, with specific experience in processing, grain handling, packaging, inventory, and quality control.
Why did you choose to work in the agribusiness commodity industry?
I grew up on a family wheat farm, and I always enjoyed the opportunity to work with my hands. I loved to visibly see the fruits of my labor – producing food for others. In 2000, I truly grasped my passion for agriculture and enrolled at IFIM Casablanca Institute and decided to study Milling Science.
Which publications (industry, business, technology) do you read regularly?
I read regularly France Export Cereals newsletter and occasionally World-Grain News.
How do you spend your free time?
I go for walks during weekend, and I spend most of my free time with my daughters, Ines and Lina.
What advice would you give to a potential candidate for your role?
Be passionate, have a positive attitude, hard working and have a team spirit!
I would say accept as much responsibility as possible and always be looking for new learning opportunities. Think about your long-term career aspirations. The decisions you make today will have an impact on where you are five to ten years from now.
Abdallah has since transferred to Tema, Ghana as the Operations Manager for Flour Mills of Ghana.
If you are interested in a career like Abdallah’s, please take a look at Seaboard Overseas career opportunities.