We sat down with the President of Alta Global, Rudy Sanchez, to ask him about his relationship with Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGS). Alta Global purchases corrugated containers from the FGS corrugated plant in Ontario, CA.
What does Alta Global do?
Alta Global Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of all types of produce packaging - from any food or produce pouch bag, to boxes that offer unique customizing packaging solutions that protect the produce and distinguish your product from the competition. Alta-Global provides localized service with just-in-time delivery.
How does Alta Global use FGS (what products and services)?
We buy sheets and boxes from FGS and distribute them throughout our network of growers throughout California, Mexico and the Baja California region.
What goals do you set for your team?
For us, it is incredibly important that we always serve our customers to the best of our abilities; whether it’s the products we deliver, the time it takes for products to arrive, or the level of service we provide. We want to ensure quick follow-ups to make sure their needs are covered. We aim to stay in constant communication with our customers and remain flexible to ensure we help them tackle their challenges. We work with people, not companies, and it all has to do with attitude. We believe that overcoming difficult situations usually means redirecting our energy. Attitude is everything when solving a problem.
When did your team first realize there was a problem with your previous supplier?
We knew we had a problem when we couldn’t get our previous box supplier to respond to us in a reasonable amount of time - whether it was quotes or just simple questions. We also got hit more than a few times with later than promised deliveries and defective boxes and sheets. This, at times, made us look really bad to our customers and risked damaging our credibility.
Did your problem happen suddenly or did it occur over time?
Our problems didn’t happen right away, they occurred over time. We initially believed that bigger meant better when it came to choosing a corrugated company. But after a few months we learned that for us, that wasn’t at all the case. Bigger meant slower and more cumbersome. We didn’t feel valued or needed.
What criteria did you have when you were looking for a solution?
We looked for a company that was nimbler and more flexible. We also needed to receive better customer service than we’d had in the past. As I mentioned, bigger isn’t always better. We noticed the bigger companies tend to react a lot slower and come to decisions a lot slower than what was required for us to run smoothly. FGS proved that they could respond quicker and focus heavier on solving our challenges than our previous suppliers. This put everyone on our team at ease.
How did you convince your team to make a change?
That was actually very easy for us. Everyone on my team agreed that there was a lot to be desired with our supplier at the time. We were all pretty frustrated with the way we were treated. So when we decided to look into other companies, my team was ready and open minded. Plus, at our core, we’re a flexible company that believes change and adapting to the market is a necessary thing.
What sealed the deal for you when you choose to work with FGS?
It started with the people, really. They had some top players in their organization that were well respected in the industry, and that helped a lot with our decision. We knew Gregor Shanks was their new person in charge of sales. We knew he was an honest problem solver when it comes to packaging. We quickly connected with him and their whole team and found them to be transparent and forthcoming. They didn’t promise us anything that they knew they couldn’t deliver on, and they were realistic about our expectations with them. We found this to be a refreshing change of pace compared to what we were used to – being over-promised to and under delivered. The second thing that stood out was how they listened to our challenges and the creative ways they thought through them. We were all really impressed with that. They developed some solutions that we’d never thought we could facilitate but they made it seem practical and implementable.
What did our products and services replace in your current work process?
Now we can now spend much less time making phone calls to follow up with our customers to ensure they received their order and it was in good shape. We’re way more confident in the products we can offer, and the time it takes to deliver now. Also, we don’t have to constantly spend the time to check up on our supplier to make sure they’re on top of our orders. FGS has proven to be reliable and we trust them to ensure on-time, quality products. We can focus most of our time and energy on what matters most - delivering very strong customer service.
What tasks did our product or service eliminate?
Since we’ve been with FGS, we have been able to organize ourselves better and become more effective in a lot of aspects. We’ve had more time to streamline some of our purchasing processes and develop advanced ways to service our customers better.
How was your start up process with FGS? Did it take long?
On-boarding for us was pretty quick and easy. As I said before, they have such a great team that they really take the time in the discovery process to understand all of our procedures and how we do business. Within a few phone calls we were completely aligned with the FGS team and ready to roll.
What advice do you have for anyone implementing our products and services into their work process?
I would tell your prospective customers not to be afraid of change. We’re almost all a little bit afraid of change, but this was definitely a time with us where the risk of change was far outweighed by the dangers of doing things the same way. I understand first hand that when you switch vendors it can be very stressful. It’s not easy to make the leap and go through such a transition, but FGS went to great lengths to make things very smooth for us. They really did most of the work in the transition and we felt we were in good hands. We’ve saved time and money for our customers and they let us know they’re happy about it.
How did FGS help you reach your goals?
Thanks to the quality, customer service, and the quick response time with FGS, we’ve been able to establish stronger and longer lasting relationships with our customers. We can make promises to our customers now, that we know we can deliver on. Reputation and integrity is so important to us as a company, and our customers believe in us. And in turn, we’re very happy with FGS for helping us get there.