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More Than Just Supplier Number Fifty: Promoting Good Rancher, Processor Relationships

14 September 2015

When communication abounds and shared goals between packer and supplier are understood, both can benefit. A Canadian meat packer reveals eights steps to fostering a good relationship between a meat processor and a ranch.

Beef Processors want and need a consistent supply of dependable high quality beef to supply to their distributors and retailers, writes Ronnie Cons, executive Vice President of Canadian meat distributor C&C Packing.

In order to achieve this, many processors have contracts with multiple beef cattle farmers who together supply the needs of the processor.

"An open and trusting relationship between the farmer and the processor will motivate the farmer to produce higher quality cattle"
Ronnie Cons

It has been found that establishing trust and communication between the farm and the processor will help ensure that the processor receives their expected quantities and qualities of beef from their cattle suppliers.

An open and trusting relationship between the farmer and the processor will motivate the farmer to produce higher quality cattle as they will feel more like an important partner with the processor than just the “50th” supplier.

Thus the processor must make sure to develop and work on the relationships he has with the farms. They must develop communication channels and make sure to give positive feedback and encouragement to the farmers for supplying high quality beef cattle.

Open lines of communication should be opened allowing the farmers to express any complaints or concerns they have as a supplier. Like this problems will be solved before they become worse. Managers of farms should be encouraged to report potential supply problems or other issues on the farm that can impact supply.

Like this the processor can be prepared. Of course the farmer must feel confident that they will only gain by this openness.

Ample opportunity should exist for farmers to express complaints or concerns, stresses Ronnie. 

Eight Trust Building Steps

In this article we will elaborate on one method of enhancing trust and communication- specifically that the processor and the farmers should contribute to similar worthy causes. This will lead to a closer and more trusting partnership oriented relationship which will encourage the supplier to maintain higher quality. Below are details of implementation:

  1. The processor should appoint an in house existing director to be in charge of running this program. He should research and come up with about 5 worthy causes that are relevant and local (if possible) to both the processor and the farmer.
  2. He should then contact the owner/director of the farm and ask him if he would like to partner up in supporting a worthy local cause. He can explain that they don’t need to donate much but that this will help their public image which is good for business, and bring both their businesses closer together.
  3. The joint contribution is then made to the cause in the name of a program name such as ‘ABC PROCESSOR AND XYZ CATTLE FARM GOOD CAUSE FUND’.
  4. A publicity release is made in the local paper of the poultry farmer that they made a joint contribution to a good cause. The article will explain how they work close together and care about local causes. They should ideally both bring the cheque to the good cause and have a photographer take pictures of the donation.
  5. Next the processor makes and delivers to the cattle farmer 2-3 laminated certificates to the effect that they are proud partners in contributing to good causes. These certificates are to be placed in the owner’s office as well as a place where the farm employees will see. It is important that the workers see it as they are crucial to the quality of the product.
  6. A letter signed by the CEO explaining how happy he is to be jointly contributing to a worthy local cause and how he is happy to have him as his supplier is sent by mail to the owner of the poultry farm. This can be followed up with a phone call to this effect. The processor can use this call to further open the channel of communication between both firms.
  7. Another letter should be sent addressed to the employees of the farm explaining, again, how happy they are to be partners in this good cause. He should also express his appreciation for their good work and quality of product supplied to the processor.
  8. The above steps and contribution should be repeated yearly to reinforce their relationship.The result of this simple to implement program will be a closer and more productive relationship.

A Win-Win

In addition, the processor will now have a beef cattle supplier who feels like a true and appreciated partner with the processor.

This partnership feeling among the cattle farm employees and owner/management should encourage the owner and his employees to work even harder to maintain the quality and quantity of the beef cattle supplied to the processor.

A happier and more productive relationship- And all for a Good cause! A true win-win situation!

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