Andy Hanacek

If challenged to give this issue an overall theme, I’d have to say that the July 2008 issue of The National Provisioner would have to be called, “The Customer-Friendly Issue.”

Take a look at the three main features of this month’s issue — Wayne Farms, DeCA Europe’s meat-processing plant, and Reiser/Vemag’s Customer Center in Germany.

Aside from the fact that the Provisioner was granted in-person access to three different plants and companies in order to get the insight on their operations, the thing that ties the three stories together are the subjects’ commitments to their customers.

Does that sound like hogwash to you? Are you cynical enough that you think most companies that talk about customer service are simply delivering lip service?

If that’s how you feel or think about it, do you have a theory as to why you’ve reached those conclusions? Maybe you’re the member of a company that really stands tall when it comes to customer service and building partnerships with your customers. If so, kudos to you for following the right path.

Or, maybe these cynical, doubting thoughts are brought on because your company has tried such an approach with limited success in the past. To you, the companies who claim to be customer-centric are simply putting on a happy face for the media are simply covering something up. Those are fair thoughts, given your situation. But I have one question to ask, and I think any company having success at being customer-centric would agree: How long did you attempt to develop those relationships? How hard did you work to establish standards and work together on those things?

We, on The National Provisioner editorial team, are not immune to this very thing. While we don’t have a similar “customer” kind of situation, without the relationships we’ve cultivated over the decades, we would have little to write about, and we wouldn’t have the great access to information and processes that we do. yet, building partnerships takes time and effort.

As always, we strive to improve our relationships that we have currently, and work to discover new relationships that will benefit you, the reader, in the form of innovative information and stories.

I hope that, if we have a close relationship with you, dear reader, that it will continue to blossom and grow, benefitting both parties. However, if you are reading this and haven’t pursued a partnership with the Provisioner, why not start now? We can all work together to improve the industry for everyone involved, especially with these tough economic times ripping through the nation.

Just give us a call and tell us how your company is focused on its customers — or why you haven’t done so.

Meanwhile, read our three features this month — they’re relationship experts.