Limoneira's Senior VP reflects on success of One World of Citrus program
Limoneira has built a team of expert suppliers to back its own effort to bring high-quailty citrus varieties to produce departments around the world in a program called One World of Citrus.
Reflecting on the program’s success since it was first established, Alex Teague, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer shares some of the driving forces behind the rise of this citrus operation.
What started as a niche lemon and citrus business plan has matured into a 52-week one-stop shop of citrus supplies, which Limoneira fully expects to continue growing.
"This exciting platform has added global citrus items to all the world markets; our multi-source, multi-market platform enables maximum service to both our customers and the orchards," Teague said.
On the distribution front, Limoneira continues to press quickly on its value-added programs and forward distribution centers, making the vision more dynamic and fun for the company, he said.
"With the ability to add value closer to the customer, as well as have ready inventory for just-in-time delivery, we find a growing opportunity with many of our customers."
When asked about Limoneira's vast network of suppliers, Teague said: "All of us in the produce industry have one common partner: Mother Nature and to say she is fickle is a vast understatement."
However, he believes that by building trust through open communication and real information that is generated from the field, the company is able to communicate with customers and find solutions for everyone.
"While it is not perfect by its nature, we generally find that open dialogue from the tree to the customer yields the best return for all."
Limoneira has grown from 5,000 acres of farming, packing, and selling just over a million cartons of lemons alone to over 15,000 acres of farming worldwide and selling over seven million cartons of various citrus supplies.
It is the entire citrus basket that services the customer’s needs and while fresh produce is a supply-demand business, its daily activity is far from simple supply-demand theory.
The company has an internal expression of “simply complex", which illustrates the intense coordination it takes between all team members in every market around the globe.
And as logistical difficulties impact the produce industry, Limoneira has begun to expand its transportation department and accelerate its forward distribution center plans.
"We have to get creative in finding the most efficient logistics to get to our customers and by teaming up with other citrus packers, we’ve found savings in that route," Teague said.
Additionally, looking at long-term commitments and rates with national carriers is key for the company to overcome the rising costs of logistics.