Farm trade heading for a crunch

6 December 2001

Farm trade ‘heading for a crunch’

By Tom Allen-Stevens

FARM suppliers are failing to react to increasing economic pressure and could be “heading for a crunch”, according to the Anderson Centre.

The findings follow a survey carried out by communications consultants Chamberlain and trade journal Agricultural Supply Industry.

Results were presented by Anderson Centre partner David Neill at the Agrivision event at Stoneleigh on Wednesday (6 December).

“Despite a backdrop of one of the wettest autumns on record and missed spray opportunities, overall volumes of business appear largely undiminished.”

One worrying trend in the agricultural supply sector is employment, however, with 83% of companies planning further cuts in 2002.

“Theres a real crisis brewing with these businesses. How are they going to service their customers with fewer staff?”

Certainly not through IT means: its use in terms of building customer relationships has generally “ground to a halt”, says Mr Neill.

This is in spite of figures showing remarkable rises in uptake of the technology among farmers.

“The difficulty is that the customer base generally lies with the trades sales team: if you cut staff, you will inevitably cut customer numbers too.

“The fundamental issues of over-servicing and undercharging have not been addressed and somethings going to give,” he concluded.


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