Traceability Tipsheets

Project Management

What is a Project?

A project is a temporary effort to create a unique product or service. Projects have clear, agreed upon objectives and outcomes, have a defined lifespan, generally are doing something that is new or a one-time effort, and have specific requirements (time, costs and performance).

What is Project Management?

Project management is the act of planning, organizing, acquiring and managing all aspects of the project to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. It includes developing a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and

objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion.

A Project Plan is a “To Do” List

A project plan serves as a roadmap for the entire project team, providing guidance on:

  • the overall strategy
  • the scope of work
  • the methodologies and governance to be used
  • the priority of activities, timelines and project milestones
  • who the stakeholders are and how the project will be
  • communicated to those stakeholders
  • how costs, people and resources will be managed
  • how performance and benefits will be measured

Project Sponsor versus Project Manager: What is the difference?

Project Sponsor:

  • supports the project team and acts as an escalation route for any issues or problems; represents the project at a senior management level (steering committee); and,
  • has ultimate responsibility for the success of the project.

Project Manager:

  • manages the operational, day-to-day, issues on the project; such as, resources, time, money, and most importantly, scope.
  • Resources: people, equipment and material
  • Time: task duration, dependencies and critical path
  • Money: costs, contingencies and profit
  • Scope: project size, goals and requirements

Lifecycle of a Project


The preparation stage involves identifying the Project Manager and Sponsor, as well as who will be involved in the project team. An outline of the project including justification (e.g. a business case or feasibility study), work plan and budget should be approved before the next step: the start-up stage. The start up or “kick-off” stage involves the selection and briefing of the project team with discussion on roles, responsibilities and governance during the project.


The Project Manager then engages the project team in developing a project charter. The project charter identifies the objectives and goals of the project, activities and performance targets, and terms of reference for the project team. The project charter will also identify the scope of the project (what is in scope and what is out of scope), resources required and milestones. Approval on the charter sets the stage for project planning to begin.


Planning involves setting out the roadmap for the project by creating detailed guidance documents such as: project plan, resource plan, work breakdown structure, financial plan, quality plan, acceptance plan and communications plan. These plans should be communicated widely to ensure maximum understanding of the project’s objectives by all staff affected by the project. Team input is essential at this stage to minimize surprises or delays later on. Define the step-by-step tasks that need to be completed in the course of the project and state your goals. Organize your project tasks in a logical order to help you more easily monitor progress in the plan and check things off as you go along. Decide who will be the point of contact for each individual task. Determine a budget for each task, and tools or resources that will be needed to complete the task. Estimate a timeline for each task and set firm deadlines. Identify dependencies/impacts – what tasks need to be done before another one can start. A Gantt chart is most often used as a helpful project management tool that helps to determine project phases, timing, resource scheduling and dependencies. Add to and adjust your project plan as you and your team members complete tasks or encounter risks that may affect project resources and timelines.

Risk mitigation

Look at the potential risks that could impede progress or prevent completion of the project. Risks could include reduced staff and resources, lack of finances. For each risk identified, develop a mitigation strategy or contingency plan that will address or prevent the risk from derailing the project through delays or additional costs.


Consider how the success of your project will be measured. How will you know if you've done a good job? Are performance targets realistic and achievable? Is measurement of performance occurring in a timely manner to allow for adjustments? Periodically through a long-term project, you will want to include activities that review progress towards project goals, tasks left to be done, relevance of goals to the group's interest and other concerns that could affect the success of the project so that performance targets remain in sight.

Implementation/Do it

Implementation involves monitoring and controlling the project delivery, scope, costs, quality, risks and issues, and making adjustments as necessary along the way to ensure successful completion of the project objectives. The implementation stage involves the execution of the project plan as agreed, whilst carefully monitoring progress and managing changes. The team, along with related resources, may need to be adjusted at this stage to ensure completion of all the tasks. If so, it is essential that all changes are communicated to the team. Plan a project review at each milestone so that the project plan stays on track.

Close-out and Lessons Learned

The close down stage begins after the satisfactory delivery of the project (satisfactory to the project ‘customer’ that is). A project review should be held to assess the results of the project activities, risks encountered and lessons learned from project management,. Gather the team involved in the project and ask what went well, what could be improved, and what should be done differently to capture recommendations for future project planning and delivery.

Hints for success...

  • Have contingency plans at each phase of the project in case things do not go as planned
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate

Selecting Traceability Software

Software: Where to Start

When looking for a potential software program to help you manage the information you collect, the choices can seem overwhelming. There are many different types of software programs available, and what may be a good fit for one particular business might be a different story for someone else based on their needs, production processes and management style. A business purchasing a traceability software package needs to do some research before making an investment of time and money into any particular software program. Start with doing a search on the internet for software programs that are relevant to what your business produces. If you already have a program in mind, a search on that program may turn up customer reviews that could be helpful in making a decision on whether to invest or not.

Get a trial or demo version first

Usually you test drive a car before buying, and the same holds true for software. Before investing in a program, it is a good idea to try out the program first. Most companies will have trial versions or demos that allow you to get a feel for how the program works and how simple or complex it will be to meet your needs. Some companies even have demonstrations of the programs you can download for free straight from their web site, with a period of time to try it out.

Ask other business owners

Businesses in the same or similar industries may already be using software that could meet your needs. Ask around to see if there are experiences with purchasing and using other programs and how it is working for them.

Cost considerations

Ask what costs would be involved, such as:

  • initial software purchase
  • what support/training is provided
  • what yearly maintenance fees would apply
  • what equipment would need to be purchased and what hardware is compatible with the software (e.g. labelers, RFID readers, barcode scanners)
  • does it need to be compatible with other financial or management programs you have
  • does it come in modules or have additional components you would need to buy later.

Modular programs can provide a phased in approach, reducing the initial upfront purchase costs, as well adding useful functions to your data management system for other aspects of your business.

The important thing to remember is, try before you buy, and know what your needs are for your business’ traceability system.

Strategic Planning

What is a Strategic Plan?

Strategic planning is a high level process which deals with establishing the Vision and Mission of the organization, its Values, Key Objectives and Performance Indicators. A strategic plan identifies the short and long-term objectives of the operation and the strategies of how the business will meet its objectives in relation to the business plan. It identifies the desired outcome statement that will serve as a measure of success or a performance indicator. A strategic plan is based on anticipated changes in the environment. It involves getting input from many individuals and many levels of the organization and it provides the opportunity to incorporate new ideas and approaches.

What will a Strategic Plan do?

A Strategic Plan:

  • examines where your organization is now, where you want it to be, and how you are going to get there
  • produces a flexible plan or road map of strategies derived from internal discussions and external sources of input
  • steers your organization in a focused direction for future success
  • allows proactive thinking beyond your current activities and traditions
  • deals with change positively by responding to it effectively
  • involves making decisions that consider changes or anticipated changes in the environment
  • sets priorities for action that are reflective of all aspects of your organization

Why should I write a Strategic Plan?

By carrying out strategic planning your organization will be able to:

  • influence rather than be influenced
  • clarify or define your role and your target audience
  • deal positively with the inevitable change
  • address critical issues you are facing
  • find innovative ways to achieve goals
  • decrease crisis management
  • use resources efficiently and effectively
  • anticipate issues and develop policies to meet future needs
  • gain commitment and bring your group together to work on common goals

What should be included in a Strategic Plan?

Create a Vision

Visioning allows your planning team to decide how you want your organization to be perceived in the future. Your team will explore what you want to look like in five years, your preferred future and your values. You will need to gather this information from those you represent.

Develop a Mission Statement

The mission statement is an action statement that outlines the preferred future of your organization. It establishes what you plan to do, for whom, and why you are uniquely valued. It provides a focus for future planning and reflects your group's values, culture and philosophy.

State your Objectives

Objectives are used to operationalize the mission statement (what are you trying to accomplish). That is, they help to provide guidance on how the organization can fulfill or move toward the “high goals” in the goal hierarchy-the mission and vision. As a result, they tend to be more specific and cover a more well-defined time frame. Setting objectives demands an indicator to measure the fulfillment of the objectives.

Examples of objectives that your organization may develop include:

  • improve visibility within the community
  • ensure effective communication
  • maintain financial viability
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Identify the strengths and weaknesses that are within the control of your organization (e.g., reduced operating capital, staff numbers, skilled executive, open communication networks) discuss their effect on the ability of your group to accomplish its objectives.

Identifying Opportunities and Threats; the outside influences over which you have little control; political/legal, economic, social/cultural and technological factors which may include new government policies, fragmented markets, changing lifestyles, activities of competitors and explore how these will relate to your objectives.

Identify Critical Issues

Critical issues arise from the identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. They can be positive or negative issues that will impact on your future and must be addressed by your planning team - if not, they will become barriers to achieving your mission.

Plan for Action

To put your strategic plan into action it is necessary to:

  • develop innovative approaches to accomplish your strategies
  • check that your planned activities are consistent with your objectives
  • divide your proposed activities into manageable tasks
  • include what you will do, who's responsible, what resources are
  • needed (time, money, expertise), when they will be done, how you will monitor their progress and measure their success
Implement and Evaluate the Plan

Here is a To Do List to ensure your plan gets implemented:

  • set your activities in order of priority and establish time frames over the short- and long- term
  • establish an implementation committee. Delegate tasks to current or new committees
  • share the highlights of your plan with those involved to gain their support and help with implementation
  • use your mission statement as a marketing tool to promote your cause or group
  • determine who will monitor your progress in accomplishing your strategic plan
  • continue to implement, review and evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis

Remember: Strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next several years, how it's going to get there and how it will know if it got there or not.

Hints for success...

    1. Check with similar groups who have completed a strategic plan. You may be able to gather ideas to help you through the process.
    2. It is important that your strategic planning team has full participation by all members to ensure continuity and consistency.
    3. Step back from your organization and look at it from a different perspective.
    4. The strategic planning process takes time and demands a lot of energy - you may have to get over some hurdles along the way.
    5. As you periodically check back with your mission statement to ensure it reflects your plan to date, you may make several revisions.
    6. Check that your current, proposed activities and budget are consistent with your objectives.
    7. Be positive and forward thinking throughout the process. The results are worth it.
    8. Realize that your plan is written on paper and is meant to be revised as you, your organization and society change.

Business Plan

What is a Business Plan?

Business Planning is the process which carries the Strategic Plan to each level and functional area of the organization, ensuring alignment with the Strategic Plan. It will extend over more than one year as some objectives may require long range planning. A business plan represents all aspects of the business planning process including plans to cover marketing, management, operational, human resource and financial resource requirements. A business plan is a critical management tool for the creation or expansion of any business. It is a game plan - a concise, written record of objectives and how to obtain them. It describes, at a minimum, a product or service, customers, competition, management and financial arrangements. It should also outline production and marketing plans.

What will a Business Plan do?

A Business Plan:

  • creates a common focus and a sense of motivation and ownership
  • establishes a common language and commitment
  • clearly establishes operating challenges and obstacles
  • defines specific operating and staff development initiatives essential for growth
  • focuses everyone on the importance of serving both the internal and external customer
  • establishes financial operating goals
  • defines operating priorities
  • benchmarks your marketing and sales strategies against your competition
  • provides for the bases of a stronger relationship with your lenders
  • it creates a definition for success and longevity

Before writing a Business Plan ask yourself:

  • what is the purpose of my business?
  • what is the specific market I want to fill? Are customers willing and able to purchase my product or service?
  • what are my personal and business goals? Are they SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely)?
  • do I have the necessary skills, ability and resources?
  • how much money do I need at start-up and beyond? Do I have the resources? If not, where could the funds come from?
  • am I willing to take the time to plan my success?

Be realistic in assessing what you are capable of and the opportunities that exist for your success.

What should be included in a Business Plan?

Executive Summary

Describes the organization, business venture or product (service), summarizing its purpose, management, operations, marketing and finances. While appearing first, this section of the business plan is written last.

Environmental Scan

An Environmental Scan will help you understand your organization's internal needs and assets, and the external environment in which you’re operating.

A. Industry overview:

An overview of the industry sector that your business will be a part of, including industry trends, major players in the industry, and estimated industry sales. This section of the business plan will also include a summary of your business's place within the industry and will answer the following questions.

  • What sectors does this industry include?
  • Who are the major players in this industry?
  • What are the markets and customers for this industry?
B. Market analysis:

A Market analysis describes what unmet need it will (or does) fill, presents evidence that this need is genuine, and that the beneficiaries (or a third party) will pay for the costs to meet this need. It includes credible market research on target customers (including perceived benefits and willingness to pay), competitors and pricing.

A thorough market analysis includes an examination of the primary target market for your product or service, including geographic location, demographics, your target market's needs and how these needs are being met currently.

C. Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis is an investigation of your direct and indirect competitors, with an assessment of their competitive advantage and an analysis of how you will overcome any entry barriers to your chosen market. The first step of preparing your competitive analysis is to determine who your competitors are. This isn't the hard part. If you're planning to start a small business that's going to operate locally, you can identify your competitors just by driving around or looking in the local phone book. The main question for you will be one of range; if your business plan is centred around the idea of opening a bakery, how far will customers be willing to drive to get fresh buns or bread?

Marketing Plan

A Marketing Plan is a detailed explanation of your sales strategy, pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, and product or service's benefits. It explains how you're going to get your customers to buy your products and/or services. The Marketing Plan, will include sections detailing your:

  • Products and/or Services and your Unique Selling Proposition (your strategy to penetrate or develop the target market)
  • Pricing Strategy (how your products will be priced)
  • Sales/Distribution Plan (how much you plan to sell)
  • Advertising and Promotions Plan (how you will promote your product)
Management Plan

A Management Plan is an outline of your business's legal structure and management resources, including your internal management team, external management resources, and human resources needs.

People reading your business plan will be looking to see not only who's on your management team but how the skills of your management and staff will contribute to the bottom line.

Operational Plan

An Operational Plan will describe your business's physical location, facilities and equipment, kinds of employees needed, inventory requirements and suppliers, and any other applicable operating details.

The Operational Plan is like an outline of the capital and expense requirements your business will need to operate from day to day. You need to do two things for your readers in the operating section of the business plan: show what you've done so far to get your business off the ground (and that you know what else needs to be done) and demonstrate that you understand the process of producing your product or service.

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan determines whether or not your business idea is viable, and is a key component in determining whether or not your business plan is going to be able to attract any investment in your business idea.

A Financial Plan consists of three financial statements: the income statement, the cash flow projection and the balance sheet, and a brief explanation/analysis of these three statements.

Hints for success...

Giving Your Plan the Right Look

Compile your plan into a formal, well-organized and professional document. Your plan should

  • be typed and double spaced, with adequate margins for adding notes and questions
  • place the most essential information at the front
  • avoid jargon
  • use figures, charts, tables, photographs or sketches to make your plan stand out
  • include headings and subheadings to improve organization, along with a detailed table of contents
  • place supplemental information such as technical reports, studies, catalogues etc. in the appendices

Ask an outsider you respect to read your final draft and provide constructive criticism.

Choosing a Consultant


Hiring outside consultants to do short-term projects is common in business. As in-house resources become scarcer and impartiality is required, organizations are turning to consultants to get the job done.

Choosing the Best Consultant

If you follow this selection process, you are likely to find qualified people — people who will work to meet your needs, and deliver a useful report, recommendation or suitable consultation process or other product or service at a fair price.

    1. Making initial contact: Send the potential consultants a terms of reference
    2. Requesting proposals: The proposals should outline how consultants would meet the your goals or objectives and carry out the work. They should include qualifications, costs, and projected days or hours to complete the task. If the consultants ask for more details on your project, the committee should arrange to meet with them
    3. Assessing the proposals: In assessing these proposals, the committee looks at how the consultant intends to meet the needs of the organization, the consultant's qualifications and the estimated cost. Sometimes it might be helpful to score the proposed ability of the consultant to do the job separately from their cost estimates. That way neither part influences the scoring of the other
    4. Choosing a short list of four or five of the best people or firms from those who send in proposals
    5. Interviewing the short list: The committee should focus on the consultant's technical expertise, knowledge of the project and, the proposed fee. Depending on the size of the contract it may be possible to conduct the interviews by teleconference, although meeting in person is always preferable
    6. Checking references: The best references come from people and organizations for whom the consultants have worked. Look at the final reports of similar projects that the consultants have carried out. The committee should ask the following questions when checking references:
  • Did they honour the contract terms?
  • Did they finish their work on time?
  • Did they stay within budget?
  • Were their recommendations or reports useful?
  • Did their interventions make positive change happen?
  • Were they open and flexible to ideas and input from the community?
  • How well did they work with other clients?
  • Were their recommendations or reports useful?

Finding the Right People

  • Ask around – word of mouth is a great way to start
  • Hire a known consultant who has done a similar job
  • Use lists of qualified experts – check with professional organizations
  • Contact consulting companies – look online

Developing a Contract

What the Contract Should Cover

The contract should include:

  • the names and responsibilities of the client and consultant (who does what) fees and payment schedules
  • other costs
  • deadlines
  • what the consultant is expected to deliver or produce
  • who owns what the consultant produces
  • to whom the consultant's report or other material may be release
  • level of confidentiality expected
  • if it is acceptable for the consultant to sub-contract

This is only a basic list of what you should put in a contract to avoid problems later. Use your judgment in deciding what else you should include.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference is a short description of the project and what you want produced. The terms help explain your project to the consultant and keep things on target. They also help the consultant estimate the cost of doing the work.

The terms of reference (project description) should:

  • outline your understanding of the problem to be solved or the job to be done
  • specify your objectives – what you expect or want to achieve from the consultant's work
  • state the product you expect the consultant to produce (e.g., a policy, plan, system, procedure, report or other document) and what it will be used for
  • set a schedule for carrying out and completing the work
Estimating Costs

The fees that a consultant charges to do a project or other job may vary from one consultant to another. To determine if the fee a consultant quotes is fair, consider the following:

  • the going rate for providing similar services. (Professional associations often have recommended rates that consultants follow.)
  • limits that funding agencies place on consultants' fees
  • the consultant's area of expertise, experience, skills, reputation and knowledge
  • the consultant's expectations concerning workload and completion time for the project
  • benefits to the project – short, medium, and long-term
  • the finished product – the kind and amount of data, reports, plans or systems produced
  • the training the consultant will provide to project members

Note: the consultants should be responsible for the cost of preparing their proposals and attending meetings to discuss their ideas with the selection committee.

Your Contract with the Consultant

A properly written contract clearly states who is responsible for what and helps prevent unpleasant surprises for both the client and the consultant. When you and the consultant sign a contract, you are both part of a legal agreement. If either party feels at some point that the other has not complied with the terms of the contract, each can turn to the legal system to set things right.

You can hire a lawyer to draw up the contract, but you don't need to. Instead, you can look for standard contracts on the internet and adapt these to fit your own situation. A contract is a two-way street. You expect the consultant to do a good job, produce acceptable results, and complete the work on schedule. The consultant expects to be paid promptly for the work he or she does.

Expenses and Other Costs

Make sure that the contract requires the consultant to submit receipts for all personal out-of-pocket expenses such as meals, hotels or transportation. The same is true for all other expenses like the cost of hiring other people or renting equipment to get the job done.

Make it clear that the consultant must explain if expenses will be more than stated in the contract.

Remember, the whole idea behind drawing up a contract is to avoid misunderstandings and surprises!

Hiring A Consultant Means Consultation!

One of the keys to getting the right consultant to do a job that's right for your project is to work as equal partners. The important thing to remember is that you can't hire a consultant to come in and tell you what you need. You can't walk away when the consultant arrives and expect that he or she will solve all your problems.

Hiring a consultant means consultation. You consult with each other. Before a consultant even arrives on the scene, your work has already begun. You have already defined or examined the problem. By examining the problem, you are really helping define its root or source and possible solutions. Choose consultants carefully and you’ll usually get the kind of end result you need. Always say exactly what you want. Supervise the work performed. Be demanding — but fair — about the final product you accept.

Value Chains

What is a Value Chain?

A value chain is defined as "a strategic partnership among inter-dependent businesses that collaborate to progressively create value for the final consumer resulting in a collective competitive advantage."

Essentially, it is a group of businesses with common interests and goals who work together as partners to add value to a product for the consumer, and as a result, find value that provide business benefits to each partner. What distinguishes a value chain from a traditional supply chain in how business relationships are managed, how information flows, and how each member in the chain receives value from collaboration.

Collaborate to Compete

You should be involved in a value chain if you want to:

  • improve the production and quality of your product with better information sharing
  • develop a differentiated product for desired markets
  • find cost savings and operational efficiencies that positively impact your bottom line

A value chain may reward your business with an edge over competitors by improving quality, processes and managing risk through collaboration with your partners, instead of standing alone in today's tough marketplace.

Where do I start?

    1. Identify the opportunity - Market research; how will value creation lead to sustained benefits? E.g. differentiated product, increased efficiency, improved margins, access new markets, meet buyer requirements.
    2. Map your current state and supply chain - Who is involved from production to retail, and what information is being captured at each step? Assess potential resources and risks in the chain as well as future capabilities.
    3. Build relationships - Communicate with potential partners to gauge their interest in participating in the value chain. Work together to develop a common vision and business strategy. Trust will play a major role in nurturing these partnerships and sharing information up and down the value chain.
    4. Evaluate continuously - Evaluate how partnerships are being managed and how performance at each step is being monitored. Find opportunities for all partners to add and share value from improvements to information sharing, production efficiencies and profits from market gains.

What drives a value chain?

Partners are driven to create and deliver value for the end customer

Image of a puzzle with the word Value in the middle and several words making up puzzle pieces

Figure 1 - Value Chain

Text Equivalent of Image


Value focused attention on all events that impact the product from raw materials to customer purchase. The product is customer-focused.

Business focus

Customer wants and needs are identified; quality and value are added to product to meet customer demands.

Business relationship

Demand pull - The customer drives business growth through market trends and demands by directing product value and quality.


Two-way flow of information sharing, trusted access to business data by partners, production and sales data enable improvements along the chain.

Organizational structure

Inter-dependent - central decision-making structure for the chain. All partners have a stake in the value chain strategy.


Optimize the chain.

Example of a successful value chain: Ontario Platinum Peaches

The Partners
  • Two Niagara-area peach growers (producer)
  • Vineland Growers Co-operative Ltd. (packer)
  • Loblaw Companies Ltd. (retail)
The Product:
  • Ontario "platinum peaches" grown and packaged to surpass customer expectations over imported peaches
The Plan:
  • Consumer research by Loblaw shared among the partners to determine product flavour and quality specifications as directed from various customer groups' preferences
  • Adoption of new orchard practices by growers and measurement of brix levels to meet new specifications
  • New packaging designs by Vineland Growers Co-operative to ensure product integrity and quality from shelf to table, as well as convenience packaging for customers
  • Operational and financial data shared among partners to ensure returns on investments are achieved
  • All partners working together on production and packaging to deliver platinum peaches to previously unavailable markets, as well as potential to expand lessons learned to other fruit

For more information on value chains: visit

Value Chain Principles

  • Commitment from all partners to work together on providing value for the consumer
  • Leadership for vision and common goals is agreed upon
  • Partnership management that can not be duplicated by the competition
  • Incentives shared among all partners in the chain
  • Sustainable business strategy with common goals for all partners
  • Collaboration and communication is constant among all partners

Value Chain Readiness Assessment

Before you commit to a value chain, you need to examine your business strategy and determine whether the value chain approach is right for you. Your business strategy is the way you attempt to separate or differentiate yourself from your competitors. You may aim to be the lowest-cost supplier or make a product that is unique and relatively expensive. A business plan also addresses more complex issues such as your approach to research the development of your product or service, your competitors and your existing business relations.

The following steps are meant to give you practical guidance in assessing your value chain readiness.

Personal Readiness Assessment

        Personal Readiness Yes No
        I operate in a collaborative manner.    
        I ensure everyone is focused on a shared vision and goals.    
        I respect different management styles.    
        I encourage new ideas and product improvements.    
        I believe in fairness and flexibility.    
        I routinely share information and problem-solve with partners.    
        I demonstrate a willingness to jointly develop strategic plans.    
        I communicate regularly with others in the value chain.    
        I actively seek trusting business relationships with customers and suppliers.    
        I am willing to devote time, effort and financial resources to develop a value chain.    

Business Readiness Assessment

        Business Readiness Yes No
        A step-by-step flow of work is well documented, so that it can be shared whenever required.    
        Recognition and reward systems are team based.    
        Information about our customers and competitors is well known.    
        New business is based on customer needs and market demands.    
        Focus is on maximizing value to the end customer by sharing information.    
        Business membership agrees that collaborative efforts are desirable.    
        Partnerships will have a positive effect on business.    
        A global outlook is maintained.    
        Internal performance measures are adaptable and supportive of innovations.    

Choosing Potential Value Chain Partners

Answering the following questions will give you a clear idea of the characteristics you’re looking for in partners. Amicable business relationships are key to the success of a value chain, so your careful selection now will pay off later.

What works?

Think of a business relationship that works very well for you. Describe why you think it works well.



What characteristics does that organization exhibit? ______________________________________________________________________


What do you and your business do that contributes to the positive relationship?



Write down a list of qualities that you want to look for in any new partners.



What doesn’t work?

Now think of a business relationship that doesn’t or didn’t go well. What happened that didn’t work? Describe why you think it didn’t go well. ______________________________________________________________________


What characteristics does the other organization exhibit?



What did you do that made it difficult to work together?


Write down a list of qualities you will avoid or check out when looking for new partners.



For more information:
Toll Free: 1 877 424-1300

Author: Food Safety and Traceability Programs Branch - OMAFRA
Creation Date: February 1, 2013
Last Reviewed: February 1, 2013