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7 Questions to Ask Your New Produce Vendor

According to reports on Statista, around 43% of food shoppers in the US are always on the lookout for healthy options. Aside from a general shift in eating habits from junk to healthy produce, people are becoming more interested in the origin of their consumables and how they are stored and handled in general.

This means a growing need for distributors and grower-shippers to maintain visibility over their supply chain. It’s essential to ensure that safety standards are adhered to as strictly as possible in packaging, handling, and transporting, especially as a precautionary measure against recalls. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is designed to help you do this efficiently and thoroughly. 

An ERP software option can help you track the contaminated lot throughout the entire supply chain when investigating a recall. This lets you pinpoint the most likely source of contamination and take decisive action towards prevention, such as changing suppliers if this investigation leads to their practices. 

This company offers an effective ERP solution that can enable seamless communication with your new supplier while helping you keep track of product orders. By implementing this and other measures into your approach, you can coordinate with your product vendors to ensure minimal food wastage and a more consistent operations process.

What questions should you be asking your new produce vendor

When changing suppliers, it’s essential to clarify the terms and conditions of your agreement to ensure that you both have a proper understanding of the intended work process. Their operation methods might be different from yours, and you might need some time adjusting the specifics of how you can bring your operations together. But you have to be sure it’s something you can work with that meets your requirements and policies.

Here are some questions you should be asking your new produce vendor:

1. Do you offer online ordering?

Online ordering provides an unparalleled level of convenience. If you’re out of stock, you can log on to the supplier’s website or mobile app and request what product you want and in what quantity. 

Asides from the convenience of making orders from virtually any digital device, you get everything you need to know about the order – including expected delivery time and delivery mode. The order and bill history may also be helpful later for record-keeping purposes. 

With a supplier’s website:

  • There’s less chance of making errors when processing orders
  • You can track orders up until it gets to your wholesale facility
  • Orders can be processed more quickly
  • You get near-instant acknowledgement of order from the supplier 
  • It is easy to batch-order multiple types of produce

If you have an ERP system in place, it can also be designed to automatically place orders to restock your produce items based on your inventory database. This adds a level of convenience that ensures you’re unlikely to run into supply shortages.

2. What are your payment terms and conditions?

It’s important to discuss the payment specifics to avoid issues down the line. What payment model does the produce vendor use? Do you have to pay a deposit, and is it a fixed fee or based on a percentage of the order value? Do you have to pay in full the moment the order is fulfilled, or will you receive an invoice first?

If you are used to getting supplies on credit, it’s best to find out if your new supplier has this kind of provision in place for their customers. 

Another important question related to payment is how they prefer to be paid. The most popular payment options are usually credit or online transfers. In cases like these, it helps to have an ERP system that can process payments digitally based on the invoiced amounts.

3. Do you have a discount on bulk orders?

Any buyer looking to purchase produce should look to obtain a bulk order discount. It’s common in the industry that nearly every supplier provides a discount on bulk orders, which is also known as a volume discount. That being said, there are no specific guidelines cast in stone. Unless you ask them about a discount, you may not necessarily get it. 

Therefore, it’s essential to ask them if they have discounts and work out the details before officially forming an agreement. This will help you make an informed decision on whether or not their terms are favorable to you. Note that specific ERP software allows you to secure access to larger produce orders at discounted rates and with upfront payments. 

4. What are your minimum and maximum order?

Most suppliers have a minimum and maximum order amount. What will work for you depends on the scale of your product business and what your inventory says per time. 

If the minimum order is much larger than the amount you require, you risk the chance of producing spoilage and resulting losses. It’s essential to work with the right produce vendor to ensure you can order exactly as much as you need.

5. What’s your delivery schedule like?

The chances are that produce vendors will have many orders to fulfil at once, especially if they are established and well-connected organizations. The more the clients they work with, the longer the order fulfilment time unless they have a well-optimized delivery system and schedule.

Since you want to get your produce as fresh as possible, you should be looking for a supplier with a short fulfilment time. Fresh produce equals longer shelf life and fewer chances of food waste.

Try to ask if they have a specific delivery time frame when you work out your orders. It’s also important to know if they make deliveries on weekends. This can help you plan accordingly and ensure that you can meet your distribution deadlines.

6. Do you have a liability insurance certificate?

Do not be swayed by low prices and discounts alone – ask your produce vendor if they have a liability insurance certificate or something equivalent. A liability certificate can be a lifesaver in the case of a recall to avoid total responsibility if there’s an issue with contamination after one of your orders has been fulfilled. 

If your produce vendor has a liability insurance certificate, you could be saving yourself much headache since the insurance will usually cover most of the loss and help you get back on track faster.

Check out: How To Get the Most of your B2B Vendor Portal

7. What are your safety protocols?

Knowing your produce vendors’ safety protocols should play a significant role in your decision to work with them. What quality control metrics do they use? What pest control measures do they use? And are there standards in place for washing the produce and proper storage? Depending on the answers, you’ll get an idea of their lengths to ensure that safety standards are upheld. 

Do you have a liability insurance certificate?

, recommendations, and reviews can give you a good idea of these details, but if feasible, you can consider paying a visit to the supplier’s facility in person to get an accurate idea.

Check out: 11 Expert Tips To Take Your Business To The Next Level 

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