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In a previous blog Insta-Pro President, Kevin Kacere, discussed the definition of a business partner; conducting business with a company that goes beyond the normal skills and needs of that individual. Over the past many years, I have had the pleasure of developing long term successful partnerships with many of our customers throughout Canada and the US. One question I hear a lot from soy processors is “What is the product and process difference between an extruder and expander?”
An expander is like an extruder but it generates less shear, pressure and temperature in the barrel. Some manufacturers will use the term extrusion as it is the same process as expansion because you are pushing product through a die. However, extrusion creates a shearing force that is a key factor in the deactivation of anti-nutritional factors, microbial sterilization, the release of natural anti-oxidants, and ultimately, an increase in the digestibility of nutrients.
To understand the difference in processes, we partner with multiple universities such as Kansas State University, University of Illinois and Utah State University to conduct research trials. The study below shows full-fat soy fed to chicks. When comparing high shear extrusion vs. expansion, the results show 8% lower amino acid digestibility of the full-fat soy. This is a result of the lower barrel temperature and pressure of the expander.
As a business partner, I have the pleasure of visiting with customers and sharing research information that allows them to optimize their equipment and continue to meet their customers’ protein needs. When I am asked by a customer or prospect to respond to a companies claim that their process is the same as our ExPress® process, I respond by asking if they have seen their animal feed research results and verified that they are not a copy of the research conducted by Insta-Pro 3rd party agreements. If you are able to get their feeding results, compare them with ours. I am confident you will see the high-shear system produces a higher quality product for feeding.
Business Partners is sometimes an overused term and used more freely than what really is the case. How do you distinguish between those relationships which are purely transactional and those that are truly Business Partners? My advice is this, look for those relationships that go beyond the normal needs or skills of that individual.
For example, do your customers provide you with input to help you become a better supplier, do they help you connect to other customers and do they advise you on trends you should be considering? As a customer, do your vendors try to understand your business, challenges you have and how they can help?
In our case, yes we are an equipment manufacturer, but our goal is to be a true Business Partner by assisting our customers with quality management, sourcing capital and provide advice on how best to source raw ingredients, potential customers for their end product and selling the end product.
A common challenge around the world where our equipment is positioned is the need for a consistent supply of soybeans, a lower cost supply of soybeans or a source that will not try to control them or the market. The other challenge when addressing the need for soybeans is the fact that our processors cannot handle large quantity of beans which might come directly from a bulk vessel. They need a cost effective containerized solution.
While we are not farmers or commodity traders, we do build relationships around the world in the agriculture industry. Through these relationships we have developed a strategic partner who is skilled in the global container shipment of GMO and non-GMO soybeans. They have loading facilities on each of the U.S. coasts able to effectively load containers and then have multiple freight partners to move those containers to our customers. Now, as a Business Partner to our customers we have an option to solve their challenge for a soybean source to augment the local availability of soybeans providing them with control to manage their costs and supply.
Also, we don’t need to limit it to soybeans as other oilseeds, corn and grains are also available. Plus, if you are a U.S. processor needing assistance in shipping to customers internationally, we can be a potential solution to take on the export complexity of shipping your product in containers to your end customers.
My hope is that you do view us as a Business Partner, surfacing your business challenges and where we can we will try to assist. If you have a need for soybeans or other commodities, or if you need assistance shipping from the U.S. to other parts of the world, please reach out to your Sales Representative to provide you with assistance in this area. We want to help and provide solutions to your challenges.