Preferred Shares
Preferred Shares Podcast
Inside the Factory: The Industrial Processes That Feed the World
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Inside the Factory: The Industrial Processes That Feed the World

Transcript

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Welcome to Episode 6 of the Preferred Shares Podcast.

This episode is our first interview with a special guest; friend of the show Warwick from Down Under (Australia). Warwick is a chemical process engineer by training and has worked at some of the world’s most secretive food companies, including Mars and Cargill. We are privileged to share his expertise and stories with you.


“One thing I've learned is the thing that you think is so unlikely that it will never happen, even though the consequences are pretty bad—that's waiting for you next week.” - Warwick from Down Under

In this episode

  • (0:02:20) Warwick’s background in the food industry, spanning back more than two decades

  • (0:03:04) Warwick’s current role overseeing a plant that processes 400 tons of carrots into carrot juice PER DAY

  • (0:03:55) Extreme quality control at Mars is not hyperbole

  • (0:05:31) Plant safety, GMP (good manufacturing processes), and what can go terribly wrong

  • (0:06:54) Differences between Mars and its publicly-held competitors. The importance of culture, consequences, and morale

  • (0:10:13) The shortcomings of business improvement systems (Six Sigma, Lean, etc.)

  • (0:13:41) Manufacturers losing technical strength over the last 20 years

  • (0:14:31) How the pandemic altered the manufacturing landscape

  • (0:20:54) Step changes in process automation, technical debt, and managing key systems

  • (0:25:55) Approaching evolving regulation and comparing the Australian system to the United States

  • (0:30:02) Quality and consistency problems as a leading indicator prior to major food safety risks

  • (0:31:04) The story of when Warwick presented to John Mars, a notably intimidating character

  • (0:33:00) Implementing rigorous safety systems and the importance of on-site evaluations

  • (0:35:35) Learnings from the Deepwater Horizon disaster

  • (0:39:37) Critical inputs - Industrial Staples:

  • (0:48:02) Capital equipment, warranties, maintenance, and the benefits to scaled operators

  • (0:54:17) Energy availability vs. post-production transport costs and the formation of geographic moats

Andy Beecroft, 2009, The Silhouette of the Cargill Factory from the Clough Road Bridges, Photograph, United Kingdom, geograph.org.uk

Episode resources

Additional reading

Along with the resources above relating to episode 3, below are some pieces we’ve written independently that we think you’d like:

Toxic State, Devin LaSarre, 12/24/2023

Linear Technology: The Analog Chip Company That No One Leaves, Douglas Ott, 9/1/2022


Enjoy this episode? Share it with someone who loves business history as much as you do!

You can also follow Preferred Shares, Devin, Doug, and Lawrence on Twitter.


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Disclaimer

All opinions expressed by Preferred Shares hosts and guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of their respective employers. This podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. None of the information contained in the podcast or this web site constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

Clients of Andvari and Fortune Financial may maintain positions in the securities discussed in this podcast. Furthermore, from time to time, the Hosts may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Podcast and may trade for their own accounts based on the information presented. The Hosts may also take positions inconsistent with the views expressed in its messages on the Podcast.

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