1 October 1999

We really must communicate more – BPC

GREATER communication is needed between seed and ware growers, according to the findings of the British Potato Councils recent seed satisfaction survey.

"There seems to be almost a Chinese wall between seed grower and ware grower," says grower and BPC member Tony Bambridge. "We need to communicate much more fluently and with greater clarity what each of us wants and what each of us can do."

The survey highlights that need to talk, with learning points for both seed and ware grower, he maintains. A very strong message to seed growers is the need to improve customer service.

"It ranked almost as highly as health factors on seed potatoes as far as the ware grower was concerned. Theres no doubt they want and demand better service."

Seed producers need to drive fungal disease and damage down.

"First impressions really do count and its important that we, as seed producers, try and get that area right. Also there is a strong call for tighter grading. It seems 5mm bands would be applicable for some growers."

But improving seed satisfaction is not just about what the seed producer can do. Ware growers can help themselves by being more definite about their seed needs.

"It is no good moaning that you havent got the product you wanted if you didnt outline to your supplier exactly the product you needed. Once again it comes down to communication."

Ordering early is important, too. The survey shows growers who planseed sourcing, and order early, are generally most satisfied with the seed supplied. "Another feature is that cheapest is not always best, or the most economic."

An increasing demand for "just in time" delivery of non-sprouted, non-desprouted seed means both ware and seed growers should look at the need for seed cold storage.

To increase grower seed satisfaction seed merchants and the trade need to take on board the communication message too, he stresses.

"We wish you to listen to the customers and also to your suppliers as to what they can supply and what the customer requires -clearly there are still some fairly major challenges ahead of our industry," he concludes.

LETS TALK TATTIES

* Ware grower – seed grower communication needed.

* Service as important as seed health.

* Plan supply and order early.

* Consider "just in time" delivery.

LETS TALK TATTIES

&#8226 Ware grower – seed grower communication needed.

&#8226 Service as important as seed health.

&#8226 Plan supply and order early.

&#8226 Consider "just in time" delivery.