Thoughts on Value Chains

How appropriate that a day after Minister Mitchell announces the $4 million Broader Public Investment Fund that the Ministry of Agriculture hosts their first Value Chain Management Forum. Close to 150 people from across the agri-food value chain gathered in Guelph, Ontario to learn about Value Chains, and to listen to best practice examples of what has made some value chain partnerships successful.

Without getting into a deep philosophical, technical explanation, value chains are simply about relationships. Good value chain management is about good relationship management beyond just your suppliers and customers, but stretch beyond and can include many partners in the chain such as input suppliers, distributors, industry associations, government contacts, where stakeholders discuss and provide solutions to maximize efficiencies in order to ultimately make everyone along the value chain more profitable.

Just like any relationship, successful value chains relationships are based on trust and open communication. Trust is required to ensure that the open communication will not be held against one another (as it often can be used in Supply Chain relationships where the focus is on an individual’s bottom line vs. the groups efficiencies). Open communication and sharing is essential to identifying challenges and opportunities that the group can work together in order to maximize efficiencies.

Opening communication and building trust in the value chain are critical steps to helping Broader Public Institutions find and work successfully with Ontario producers and processors. To help start the conversation, I invite you to join the discussion on LinkedIn by joining the Ontario Food Service group to talk about how we can work together to make it happen. As Ontario Fresh grows, we will be adding a directory for Ontario producers, processors, distributors and food service operators to find each other and communication tools to help you connect to colleagues along the value chain. If you have ideas on what would help you buy or sell more products in the BPS sector, feel free to send me an email.

Together, we can grow opportunities for Ontario producers and Broader Public Sector Institutions.

- Franco Naccarato, Program Manager for Greenbelt Fund