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Cargill Corn Milling North America

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
2008 Award Recipient, Manufacturing

Cargill Corn Milling North America Photo of Cargill employees
Photo courtesy of Cargill Corn Milling North America.

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Highest-Ranking Official*
Alan Willits
President and Business Unit Leader

Public Affairs Contact

*At time of award

For more information
Nicole Reichert
Media Relations Counselor, Cargill Corporate Affairs 
(952) 742-4204
nicole_reichert [at] (nicole_reichert[at]cargill[dot]com)

Type of Work: Cargill Corn Milling North America (CCM), a business unit within privately held Cargill Inc., is a manufacturer of corn- and sugar-based products serving food, feed and fermentation markets. CCM's products include corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn oil and dry corn ingredients; gluten feed and meal; and ethanol, acidulants (substances added to food or beverages to lower their pH) and industrial starches. CCM delivers 60-plus products to more than 3,000 customers.

Revenues: More than $1 billion 

Workforce: 2,321 employees

Location: Headquarters in Wayzata, Minn. 

Nine manufacturing facilities in eight states (Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Tennessee) 

Eleven distribution terminals in seven states (California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington) 

Two sales offices in Coral Gables, Fla., and Naperville, Ill.


  • CCM's Earnings After Tax, a key financial goal for the business unit, nearly tripled from fiscal year (FY) 2003 to FY 2007.

  • CCM's Selling, General and Administration expense per gross profit—the cost of doing business—improved from about 35 percent in FY 2005 to 30 percent in FY 2008, exceeding competitive benchmarks by at least 5 percent for the FY 2005-2007 period.

  • CCM's compound annual growth rate (a measure of growth over a year for a specific business element) with strategic customers has increased significantly in recent years, including:

    • Sugar – 44 percent from FY 2002-2008

    • Corn Oil – 28 percent from FY 2003-2008

    • Dry Corn – 20 percent from FY 2002-2008

    • Branded Feed – 19 percent from FY 2003-2008

    • Ethanol – 28 percent from FY 2002-2008

    • Specialty Starches – 15 percent from FY 2004-2008

  • CCM maintained an error-free delivery rate of about 99 percent from FY 2005-2008.

  • CCM's team-based culture and matrix organization foster an environment of cooperation, communication, skill sharing and leveraging of diverse ideas.

  • Since 2001, CCM has measured workforce engagement and satisfaction through a nationally administered Employee Engagement Survey. From FY 2004-2008, CCM increased its overall Engagement Score from approximately 37 percent to 65 percent. CCM also increased the engagement scores for each of its workforce segments.

  • CCM strives for a safety standard of "excellence" rather than "compliance" and has an explicit goal to achieve an injury-free environment. To reach this standard, CCM utilizes a nationally administered Behavioral-Based Safety process (BBS) and an Error Cause Removal process. This is reinforced through safety teams at each manufacturing facility.

  • CCM's senior leaders create a focus on the organization's mission and strategic objectives through the CCM Scorecard. Reviewed and posted on the employee Intranet monthly, the scorecard leads to corrective actions for any performance below expectation. 

  • CCM's Best Practice Model is used by employee teams to design and innovate key work processes and, in turn, to address efficiency, effectiveness, agility and cost control requirements. It entails identifying potential opportunities for improvement or innovation, selecting and standardizing key measures, and evaluating the opportunities using the measures. The model also includes documenting those improvements or innovations that are determined to be best practices, sharing these practices throughout CCM, and continuing to evaluate and refine the best practices as needed.

  • CCM continually strives to improve its operational reliability and effectiveness through means such as real-time and predictive monitoring of equipment health, stringent maintenance and careful energy usage. As a result, CCM was able to maintain steady per-bushel costs from FY 2006-2008 even though energy costs increased by 50-80 percent, chemical costs rose by 30 percent and maintenance costs increased by 10 percent.

  • A prime example of CCM's commitment to community was the company's efforts to rebuild its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, facility after severe floods in June 2008 completely shut down the plant. CCM moved quickly to implement disaster recovery processes, rebuild and restore the plant, assist employees and the community, and minimize operational and customer impacts. Most importantly, CCM employed its workforce through the entire period.

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Created October 27, 2009, Updated May 17, 2022