Back to News

Building strong and connected value chains

Reference: FCC

Value chain is an increasingly familiar term as the consumers of agriculture and agri-food become more aware of its role in getting food from the farm to the table.

As an active part of the value chain, it’s important to understand the multiple levels of the process, says Martin Gooch, CEO of Value Chain Management International, an Ontario-based business focused on helping businesses develop closer strategic relationships with customers and suppliers.

A value chain – from production, processing and delivery to distribution, marketing and retailing – works towards the common goal of delivering what the customer wants. And connecting to the value chain can be straightforward, Gooch says.

Start with the customer
“Start by going to the customer and ask them what their problems are,” Gooch says. “And ask how you can help solve them.” He adds the focus of a successful chain is in identifying quality and value for customers.

Simon Somogyi, the Arrell Food Institute Chair of Business of Food at the University of Guelph, says going to customers has a literal meaning – visiting them onsite, at their place of business, where they process, sell or market the raw commodities.

“The way you connect with others in the value chain is to go out and talk to your buyers,” he says. “Make an appointment to meet in person at their business and see what they see, understand what they want or need in a seller like you, and understand their problems. Show interest in where your product goes.”

For example, he suggests grain farmers visit bakeries to see harvests being turned into end products and witness whatever problems the bakeries are experiencing that relate to the supplier, or see the successes they’re enjoying... Read More