28 August 2020

Reputation is our trump card

INTERVIEW to the news

Telling about grain collecting stations’ work the main focus is usually kept on modern machinery and innovative technologies. They are indeed a very important indicator of the company level and reliability. But the machinery itself is not able to provide an elevator with grain supply. This is what Purchase Department does.

Our managers’ team is not making an eye-catching visual for TV or magazines, such as gleaming silo bin or powerful combine harvester. It is invisible, but it gives work for everyone – lab, grain dryers, truck fleet, etc.

Now we’re filling the gap and telling you about Purchase Departments’ work activity management at Alebor Group grain collecting stations. Svitlana Vasylkivska, Kostiantyn Zhvavyi and Karen Matevosian, Heads of Purchase Departments, told us about peculiarities of their work.

The structure of all purchase departments at grain elevators is alike: managers (there are 6 of them in Khrystynivka and Voronovytsya, and 4 people working in Balta) subordinate to the Department Heads. Their main task is to search, establish contact and cooperation with farmers, who are our grain suppliers. As a rule, their area of responsibility is divided by regions. But the territory is not a dogma.

We do not set up any fences,  Kostiantyn Zhvavyi, Head of Puchase Department of Khrystynivske GCS notes.

— If any of our managers has networking or well-established business contacts in other regions, well, we are ok with that. I regard relationship as a key aspect in communication with suppliers. That’s why I’m not a supporter of “cold calls”. It always should be a contact duly established. A manager should know as much as possible about the farmer: how many hectares of land he has, what’s his wife’s name, what are his children’s names, etc. You see, current times are hard and uncertain, and many farmers have problems. In order not to get into an awkward scrape, it’s necessary to be aware of all the details”.

Regional diversities cause difference in work approaches. For example, at Chesne GCS all the efforts of purchase managers are focused within a radius of 150 km from the silo. According to Karen Matevosian, it’s enough to load silos at full capacity. But at Voronovytske GCS search of clients goes far to distant regions.

We are constantly searching new clients, since the market is oversaturated with such companies as ours,   Svitlana Vasylkivska, Head of Purchase Department of Voronovytske GCS tells.

– There are a lot of companies who are purchasing grain crops. We try to find new farms, including distant ones. We carefully analyze the situation to explore potential farms able to give us their crops. We go there, meet the farmers, introduce ourselves and offer them our services. And thus we take grain even from such distant regions as Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytskyi, Zhtomyr.

Our managers try to work directly with farmers, with no middlemen involved. There is a lack of good dealers in the market now due to destroying of reputation by some of them. Only a very few have proved their good faith during long years of work.

There are some reliable dealers who work very well,  Svitlana Vasylkivska acknowledged. – And we trust them. We don’t try to work with new ones. We want our managers to know the farmers they are working with by sight, and know next to everything about their families as well.

We are aware of the attempts to deceive still present in the market, but we had not any. It will not work with us. We are very scrupulous about signing the contracts. Our Law Department inspects thoroughly all the documents and we make payments on delivery basis, only after the grain is received at the elevator. We can make advance payments only to proven and trusted suppliers.

There are very few reliable and trustworthy dealers,  Kostiantyn Zhvavyi confirms. – An agent always has to make something up in order to earn money. We are committed to establish a direct contact with a farmer. We have experienced some negative moments and it made us to be very cautious now. Prepayments are made only to proven and reliable partners we are working with for long years. Our lawyers make their best to settle the documents in such a manner as to avoid any unexpectedness in future.

Our dialog partners also revealed us some arguments they use to convince their new contractors and keep hold of current suppliers. As it turned out, the trump card is good reputation of Alebor Group. The company unites enterprises trusted by partners and providing high-quality services.

The work of Purchase Department at grain elevators is special, because we have been working at the same location for years and we’ve gained a very good reputation, – Kostiantyn Zhvavyi explains.

– Both in terms of payment settlements, and quality, and service. We are located in corn belt, and if a farmer wants to finish the harvest as soon as possible not to lose the crop, we help him with transport as well. Farmers want the grain to be taken, shipped and the truck to be returned back to the combine harvester as soon as possible. It also matters the analyses to coincide, as far as farmers can send grain samples to different elevators for checking purposes. We are doing a fair job and work honestly. Due to this fact we operate big volumes now.

There are other grain elevators located nearby, so the competition is in place,  Karen Matevosian tells.

– We try to win due to honest and fair play. Our Chesne GCS (“chesne” is translated from Ukrainian as “honest”) is not just a name. We prove it by our work. We provide prepayments and make settlements in due time. Everyone knows about it and our regular clients take their crops to our elevator. We have been working for a long time in this region and we are always ready to help our regular clients: to provide assistance with combine harvesters and trucks. All this taken as a whole yields the result.

We also get our clients interested by providing combine harvesters, trucks and silo facility,  Svitlana Vasylkivska tells.

– The harvested crops are taken in a quick and efficient way; we dry, clean and ship it. We don’t have payment arrears – as soon as the grain is taken at the elevator and we get its quality proof – the payment is done immediately.

The price offered by Alebor Group’s elevators to farmers is also competitive. It is one of important market tools. Our specialists analyze market situation every day and provide reports to the management team. It is the basis of effective price formation.

Currently demand exceeds supply, that’s why the price has increased this year, – Svitlana Vsylkivska points out.

There is a rise in the price to unstable situation and US dollar appreciation at the present moment,  Kostiantyn Zhvavyi adds some more price formation drivers. Karen Matevosian specifies one more factor – low crop yield of early grains.

However, all three specialists express reasonable expectations to get high crop yields of corn and fill up the silos with grain crops this autumn.

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