Speakers advise on supply chain

Leading the Ornamental Challenge conference highlights importance of investment in the supply chain

Investment in the supply chain is essential for future profits, according to a conference for growers, near Grantham last month. HSBC bank senior economist Mark Berrisford-Smith spoke to 80 delegates at the conference, organised by Leading the Ornamental Challenge, which helps East Midlands growers get rural enterprise scheme grants through the England Rural Development Programme. Berrisford-Smith said: “Horticulture is no different from other industries and should not be viewed as a special case. In today’s rapidly changing world there is no hiding place for businesses that choose not to invest during a time of relative economic stability. Your profitable future must lie in managing the supply chain and not necessarily in production.” He added: “The consumer spending boom will not last much longer and, before long, customers will realise their personal debt has been the reason fuelling a stable economy.” Quality director Graham Barry of pot plant supplier Butters Group, based in Spalding, said: “Know your market, better still, know your customer and understand his or her unspoken requirements. Understand the end-consumer’s requirements. Be clear what your own position in the supply chain is and how your business fits into the market, because the market will not change to fit you.” L The Office for National Statistics has reported that the eight-year consumer boom will continue. It revised economic expansion figures, underpinned by household spending, from 2.1 per cent growth to 2.3 per cent. Spending by households increased by 2.8 per cent for 2003 compared with 2002.

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