Leslie Kossoff, an adviser who specialises in strategy and company turn-arounds, told attendees at last week's conference that both suppliers and receivers must avoid an "us and them" attitude and seek out beneficial relationships.
She said supply relationships were built in adversarial ways with each trying to get the best deal, but if both parties looked for long-term relationships with mutual benefits, partnerships could be created.
"As a supplier you need to understand the world of your customers. And as a customer you need to be sure what you're getting from your supplier is at a price and time that suits. The goal for both is sale, profits and return business."
She also urged growers to do more to join together. At present they were not good at trusting each other and needed to develop a unified voice that spoke with authority, she said. Staff also needed to be trained to cross-sell in the same way that staff at McDonalds offered fries at the end of each sale.