Q: Why are these in-the-market visits important?
A: It is vitally important for Avendra’s Sourcing team to stay close to suppliers and understand customer needs, and these visits are a key way to do that. It helps the contracting team when we get out of the office and see how suppliers are working with our customers; it also allows us to visit our regional contracting and field support associates, who play the vitally important role of being the main way the majority of our customers interact with Avendra.
It’s exciting to experience how suppliers and our field support team interact with customers. It gives us a better understanding of what we’re doing well and where there is still room for growth and improvement.
Q: What did you do on your visits?
A: In both cities I was able to meet with Avendra customers. I had the chance to tour the properties and learn more about their operations. I was able to hear about some of the successes and challenges they have had with suppliers, and was happy to hear that our suppliers address any issues immediately.
I was also able to visit suppliers in each city. In Denver I had the opportunity to meet with Seattle Fish Company, a brand new supplier to Avendra, and tour their plant as well as review their implementation plan. I also met with FreshPoint in Denver and learned a lot about their access to locally grown produce and discussed how we could further promote that program with our customers. In Pittsburgh, I stopped by the US Foods’ distribution center and we took some time to brainstorm ideas on how to further optimize customers’ compliance.
Q: What did you find most interesting throughout your travels?
A: I saw and learned a great deal, but the following things really stood out:
- Observing how Avendra’s regional contracting and field support associates work with customers and suppliers to enhance our relationships. The in-person presence is invaluable and demonstrates how seriously Avendra takes customer service.
- Being able to meet and tour the facilities of a brand new supplier to Avendra.
- Seeing the ways that distributors work with both Avendra and our customers. We have such a unique working relationship with our distributors, but ultimately we need to make sure that our suppliers are successful and that our customers get the products and services they need at a great value.
Q: Do you plan to make more visits like these in the future?
Yes, it is critical for us to stay connected with customers and ensure we’re meeting their current needs and staying on top of up-and-coming trends in the industry. It’s also vital to meet with suppliers and see what we can do to continuously improve our supplier value proposition.