April 14, 2022

How Josh Reeves of Walther Farms is navigating supply chain snarls and inflation


If you’ve opened a bag of your favorite potato chips in the last few days, chances are that snack was made possible by Walther Farms, a 3rd generation family owned farm responsible for supplying potatoes to most nationwide chip brands. 

Walther Farms CFO Josh Reeves has just as unique a background as the challenges facing modern farming. Josh began his career at Walther Farms as Head of IT, and because of a need on the finance side, ended up transitioning to oversee both finance and IT. This would not have been possible without the assistance of mentors, studying up on nights and weekends, and a lot of grit. 

The result is a CFO who thinks about finance and technology as deeply integrated and is always looking for ways to embrace systems, processes, and cutting edge technology. His ultimate goals? To to make his dispersed finance team more efficient and have the farming operation run more smoothly. Even in the face of unpredictable events like inflation, world news, and supply chain problems.

We’ve condensed some of the major themes from our recent conversation with Josh on the FinOps Today podcast and summarized them below. But to get a full picture of Josh's journey at Walther Farms, be sure to check out episode 8, available on all major podcast streaming platforms. Here’s some of what you’ll hear about in this episode: 

How Josh leveraged his background in IT to create a finance-led organization

"So there's a lot of similarities between the two parts of the business. They're both very mathematical and data-oriented. So I was fortunate that even still in the technology side of things, I was able support and help the finance team, building new financial reports and automating different parts of the business to help them do their jobs better."

How Josh takes on supply chain challenges

"We're starting to look at what kinds of inventories do we need to mitigate those risks in the short term, but then also working up the supply chain and figuring out when's the best time of year to deliver things like fertilizer or some of our different chemicals and having the right inventories available to be able to take deliveries."

How Josh has reimagined who "belongs" on a finance team

"We have a pretty lean team for the size of our organization. So we have our APAR treasury fixed assets. Those are all supported by myself and two other team members that sit here in our headquarters office in Southwest Michigan. We have one person that's devoted to payroll and benefits. And we have a few team members that are on other teams that aren't considered the finance IT team. That's kind of what we call it internally. We kind of roll the two together.

They're able to support with things like accounts payable or accounts receivable remotely from other farm locations. So we're able to tap into maybe some talent that is sitting in a farm in the upper peninsula of Michigan… Now, we can put 30 or 40% of the finance IT functions or accounting functions on their plate, and it really becomes a win, win."

The full transcript is available here.

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