Maintaining Your Grower Relationships The Right Way
If you are involved in the food industry, the food supply chain, or both, it’s no secret that having proper accounting in place for food growers can be tough. In fact, one of the most complex aspects of the food supply chain is the one between the food processor and the growers who sell the product to those groups.
One of the main reasons why this relationship and maintaining proper grower accounting is so difficult is because growing can often be unpredictable. As the final product quality and amount affect the payment, it’s impossible to have a consistent payment per quarter, month, etc. as each batch of product can look so different from the last.
These are the issues we will address in this post. We will walk you through helpful tips on maintaining better relationships with growers and how grower accounting software can help your business.
Why is Grower Management Important?
If your company processes multiple agricultural products, then it is likely that you buy products from multiple growers. As we mentioned above, maintaining grower relationships and having the right payment system down can be tricky. Food growth is often unpredictable and requires a carefully thought out plan for payment to ensure you are getting the right price for the product while also not underpaying the grower.
A robust grower management software allows you to set up accounts for every grower your company does business with and ensures a smoother relationship by:
- Allowing you to trace the products purchased from an individual grower.
- Making room for specific information to be entered such as the ranch, field, or block for a certain grower.
- Keeping close track of receipts and payment history with each grower.
bcFood’s grower management and accounting tools make it much easier to maintain your grower relationships and ensure a smooth payment system is in place. Read more about this feature that we offer here.
Tips for Maintaining Better Grower Relationships
Grower accounting software is a crucial part of maintaining good grower relationships, and with the right technology for your business, here are some important tips that will further a positive relationship between grower and processor:
Understand the grower
An ability to empathize is vital for any relationship, and the processor-grower relationship is no different. Today, food growing and the technical parts of the food supply chain are much more complicated than ever before, and while taking account of each small detail can get overwhelming, it’s important to never forget the human people you’re dealing with at the end of the day.
A good way to maintain a healthy relationship with your growers is to schedule regular meetings, preferably in person so you have a better mutual understanding of what each party is trying to accomplish and the different struggles your growers may be facing. Having these strong relationships not only benefits your relationships to growers but your overall business and customer relationships as well.
Implement Consistent Processes
The last thing you want to do is make up rules and procedures with a grower as you go along; this only adds to the confusion of an already complicated relationship. Be upfront right from the very beginning on what expectations are and create a plan that both your business and your growers can sign off on so you always have that as a reference moving forward with no exceptions.
Scrutinize Where You Spend Your Time
It can often feel like there is much to accomplish when it comes to grower accounting, which can get overwhelming. You also want to avoid getting lost in the redundant tasks that can come with this type of business.
Using a grower accounting software can help you automate the everyday mundane tasks so you can put more of your energies toward cultivating better relationships within your own business and with your growers.
If you’re feeling lost on where your priorities should lie, then consider carrying out an audit of the activities of your company—specifically with your grower management and relations. This helps you can a clear, overall view of tasks, how much time is spent on them and which items need fixing that you perhaps didn’t notice before. Doing this will allow you to prioritize better and put more of your time toward tasks that keep you and your employees engaged with the company.
Invest in Being Efficient
In the food supply chain, efficiency is of the utmost importance. Make so you allocate money to ensuring these relationships thrive and that there is clear communication. This could mean hiring an employee whose sole responsibility is to manage these relationships. You may also want to pay for a software that provides clear daily insight into whether goals are being met and/or if any problems need to be addressed.
How Can a Grower Accounting & Management Software Help?
bcFood’s software helps you seamlessly set up payment systems and get to the root of how your grower and payment activities are affecting the health of your business. Our software can:
- Setup each grower – Having a specific record tied to each grower makes it easy to pinpoint the origin of a commodity and connect it to a ranch, farm, and field and the grower associated with that group.
- Integrate vendors – You can easily link grower records to vendors while at the same time filter out growers and vendors to get the better visibility that you need.
- Segment commodity items – You can get granular with specific commodities you buy, such as specific crop years and different product types.
- Payment schedules – Lets you get in-depth with payments so that you can set up different payments for various harvests, final payments, progress payments, and loan payments.
- Flexible payouts – You can input multiple payees and also split up grower payments across entities.
- Quality testing rates – You can ensure a commodity’s testing results directly affect the final price you pay to a grower.
With bcFood ERP to help you, many of the complexities of payment and grower management are removed from the processor-grower relationship, making it a much easier process to maintain grower relationships and pay growers efficiently. As a result, you can put your customers first because you’ve created streamlined internal processes with growers. Contact us today to speak about implementing our software in your business.