How Programs Work
Booking, Ordering, Shipping
It is important to always remember that we do not order from FNA, and FNA is not a supplier. Rather, we order from suppliers with whom FNA has negotiated an agreement allowing them to provide products and services to us.
Depending on what products we need for the farm, there will be different ways of ordering those products from the suppliers.
Purchasing from Preferred Suppliers
The clearest is purchasing from Preferred Suppliers.
You simply go to the retail location of the Preferred Supplier and present your FNA Membership card, or give them your Membership number.
Not all locations of all Preferred Suppliers are necessarily part of the FNA agreement. This happens when locations are independently owned franchise / licensing agreements and the agreement permits them to decline participation. The cases where this may happen should be clearly identified in the Membership Benefits Package.
While company and product descriptions for Preferred Suppliers may appear in the Member Value Portal, we cannot make purchases from Preferred Suppliers through the portal and we would not ask our FNA staff to place an order for us.
FNA’s only involvement is if one or more of us is having problems with a Preferred Supplier, such as not honouring the promised discount or provision of substandard products. In such cases FNA will first be our advocate with the supplier and second, if warranted, terminate its Preferred Supplier status.
Booking Programs and Advanced Purchases
A supplier to FNA Members may run a “booking program” for one or more products. Booking programs are the most common method and by far the most efficient method of creating Member Value because they are the mechanism by which our purchasing power is combined on specific products.
The typical process for a booking program includes:
1. Email / Fax communication to Members informing that a program has been launched for a set of products or even a single product. It is common for the Crop Protection supplier to set booking programs for multiple herbicides. On the other hand, there have been booking programs for one piece of equipment.
2. Member Service Managers may start contacting their most active Members to ensure that we know the program is in progress. They will discuss with us pricing and any extra features such as MPower Cash Rewards that the supplier has agreed to include in the program. At this point we should also ensure we let our Member Service Manager know what prices are for similar products in our area.
3. If the supplier has been authorized to deal directly with FNA Members, one of their representatives may call or visit us with details of the program.
4. Once the expiry date of the particular program arrives, all of the orders of FNA Members are combined to evaluate what efficiencies can be achieved, which has a direct impact on MPower Rewards generated by that program as well as the supplier’s decisions about pricing on the next booking program.
5. Once all our orders are processed and payment received, it is passed to the logistics provider for shipping to each of our farms.
Suppliers Outside of Booking Programs
Many suppliers to FNA Members offer products and services full time. That is, they may participate in booking programs for some special offerings, but they have products available for ordering at any time.
Most of AgServe’s dealerships allow it to operate full time. For example we can call the AgServe line any time to order ear tags and farm parts.
The process is slightly different depending on the product. In most cases, AgServe receives the order, processes our payment and then hands off to the logistics supplier who is responsible to get it to our farms.
In some cases, the product will be shipped directly by the manufacturer using their own logistics provider. In other instances, we may even get products by postal mail or courier, such as ear tags.
It is important to exercise some care when ordering products outside a booking program. If they cannot be combined with other products by the logistics provider, or if there are shipping costs from the upstream supplier because they do their own shipping, we need to do the math to make sure the total cost of purchase is still good value for our farm.
Using the Member Value Portal
The Member Value Portal consists of the content and functions under the “Suppliers” and “Products & Services” menu items above. It brings together all the suppliers to FNA Members in a single place so you can find information about them without having to search for each one all over the internet.
It also provides access to a categorized listing of products suppliers make available to Members. Not all products that can be purchased appear in the Member Value Portal catalog. For example, AI Products can supply us with virtually any farm part we could imagine. So rather than trying to duplicate those thousands of products, the site provides a bridge directly to the AI Products Online Store where we can browse for what we need and order right there.
The Member Value Portal does not at this time provide for online purchasing. This is mainly because many of the products we order for our farms are high dollar inputs such as crop protection and few of us would be comfortable simply paying for a $30,000 order with a credit card online.
Each product does have an “Inquiry Form” that we can use to have someone contact us, either for more information about the product or to take an order for the product.
Logistics Process of An Order
1. At the time we place an order we should be advised of the delivery start date and the deliver-by date. It is important that we understand that the deliver-by date is only the latest the order will be delivered and that it may be sent much earlier, possibly as soon as 2 weeks from order date. The delivery schedule is built for greatest efficiency, which is highly sensitive to the number of members with orders in a given local geography and the ability to deliver to those members in an efficient way.
2. As the logistics provider builds loads and organizes the shipments, we will receive a pre-delivery call advising us of the short-term delivery window, a couple of days or a week, during which our order will arrive at our farms. We need to be sure that we will be available to receive our shipment during the set delivery window or inform the caller that we simply cannot receive during that time.
3. When the load is on the truck making its way through the designated delivery route, the truck driver will call us with an expected arrival time. At this stage, the driver is literally on his way to our farms and we cannot tell him not to bring the order without having a serious impact on costs and on other farmers waiting for their orders.