Mars are placing increased investment in US manufacturing
It seems President Trump’s aim to increase jobs and productivity in the country have been heard by one of the key innovative companies in the US. Mars Chocolate North America has announced a $70 million reinvestment in its US supply chain, continuing a long-standing commitment to American manufacturing and innovation. This latest investment will add approximately 250 new jobs to sites across the country, ensuring that more than 95 percent of Mars' chocolate products for the US are made in the country.
Mars latest pledge builds upon $1 billion in US manufacturing investments over the past five years, which have added more than 1,000 American jobs across Mars' portfolio of segments including Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Petcare, Drinks and Symbioscience.
"Mars believes in the value of keeping our operations in America – it's good for our people, our business and our consumers," said Tracey Massey, President, Mars Chocolate North America. "This investment will create new American jobs in communities across the country while also enabling us to offer more product innovation, choice and transparency to our consumers."
In 2016, Mars pledged to commit more than $900 million to its U.S. supply chain on top of its previous $1 billion investment. These investments include:
- Investing $72 million in Fort Smith, AK to support Mars Petcare, creating 130 new jobs.
- Hiring 4,188 Associates and opening 31 new Banfield hospitals in 2016, in addition to a new headquarters in Vancouver, WA.
- Investing $100 million in Royal Canin's new plant at the New Sioux City, SD site.
- Creating 23 jobs through the $4.8 million expansion of the Mars Symbioscience site in Germantown, MD.
- Investing $50 million to expand Wrigley's Yorkville, IL facility, adding Skittles® production – leading to a 25 percent increase in jobs.
- Continuing to update the Mars Food Greenville, MS factory through a $31 million investment that has created more than 25 jobs.
"As a US based family-owned business, Mars has been investing in local manufacturing and the communities where we do business for over a century," said Mark Johnson, President, Mars Petcare North America. "This commitment is fundamental to our DNA and how we operate. And you'll continue to see investments like this across our businesses."
Not only can businesses like Mars create new jobs by manufacturing in America, but the market increasingly demands it. Nielsen data shows that about 75 percent of millennials say buying American-made products is important to them.
The latest Mars investment also comes at a moment when both consumers and retailers are demanding greater choice and seeking product variety across calorie and price options. By continuing to expand its US footprint, Mars will be better able to introduce new treats to satisfy diversifying consumer appetites.
"Our consumers are known for trying new things. They are increasingly paying attention to what they eat, but they also want to treat themselves," said Massey. "Our supply chain transformation will allow us to balance consumers' unique, changing needs while continuing to meet demand for their most beloved products."
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.