Finding an olive oil manufacturer can feel like fumbling in the dark sometimes (the dark being... online). It's vital for your business that you work with a supplier who can help take care of all of your needs.
That's why we've compiled a short list of all of the things that we personally think you should expect, as a bottom line, from your olive oil supplier. This applies whether you're searching for a new vendor or if you've been working with one for years.
Making sure that you're working with an olive oil manufacturer who checks off on these four things well help keep your supply chain flowing smoothly and will make your job easier.
First Off, What Exactly Is A Bulk Olive Oil Manufacturer
Let's begin with a quick definition, just so that we're all on the same page. There are technically two types of olive oil manufacturers-- those that produce the oil in the large co-operative mills overseas, and those that manufacture the bulk olive oil products.
The latter of these-- the manufacturer of bulk olive oil products-- are the ones that take the oil from bulk tanks and cargoships, and package it into drums, totes and food service sizes. These are the majority of the domestic suppliers available. Plus, it's most likely that as a US manufacturing or distribution company, you will be working with this type of supplier, so for this discussion that's what we will be focusing on.
4 Things Your Olive Oil Manufacturer Should Always Be
You should be able to ask lots of questions, and your supplier should be able to not only answer them, but also provide some advice about what you're going through. Wondering what grade of oil is best for your new product? Trying to figure out how to cut the cost of your ingredients by switching to a larger packaging size?
Your supplier should listen to your issues at hand, and then provide their own background experience and knowledge to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, it's not a real partnership, right?
If you have lots of questions about your sourcing process, we'd recommend checking out our Bulk Olive Oil Library, a resource center for all things olive oil, manufacturing, and bulk oil packaging.
Or if you prefer to have this sort of information delivered to your inbox (so that you don't even have to lift a finger!) we'd suggest subscribing to our Bulk Oil Blog.
2. Competitive, but not necessarily have the lowest prices
Your supplier's prices should be competitive with the current market. It's part of their responsibility to source competitively priced, quality oil so that they can pass along the good rates to you.
This means that you'll need to be informed about the current market to see where it's at. Comparing their current rate to the one that you got last year is not an effective comparison. Check out the Commodity Market Tracking Tool to see how the current international olive oil market is doing and stay informed.
If they happen to have the lowest price on bulk olive oil by a long shot, raise your eyebrows. In situations like that, you should be asking them questions about why their oil price is so much lower than the competition. What you've heard in the news is right-- olive oil adulteration exists and this issue is real. Prices that are extremely low could be an indication that your olive oil is mixed with a lower quality oil. Just do your homework, and make sure that you work with a supplier who you really can trust.
Things always go wrong when you're a purchasing manager or a business owner. Shipments come in late. Packaging was damaged in transit.
It's always unfortunate, but it's a part of your job. Neither side (you, nor your supplier) wants things like that to happen. But happen they will, it seems.
The best way to handle situations like this as they arise is to work with a supplier that is responsive to you. That means, if something goes wrong or you need additional paperwork, they'll answer your email or phone call. That means it won't take them a week to get back to you, just to start working on the issue. Partnering with someone that is available and responsive is just a basic need for any business.
That said, just make sure that you give them a little bit of slack. Your account manager may be in meetings for an hour or two, and will have to sometimes call you back. That's just a part of business-- you understand.
Your business requires some basic documentation to run, we get it.
Your supplier should get it too. They should be willing to provide the documentation basics for you (COA, spec sheets, certificate of liability insurance, kosher statement, organic certificate if applicable, etc.).
This list above should be basic documents that they are able to offer you. There may be many beyond that that they can give you as well. Having this paperwork trail available simply means that they're receiving the proper quality testing and documentation internally, and that they care about having their company certified in the things that your company cares about too.
Choose your supplier wisely, and don't feel like you have to give up on these good characteristics. Your supplier should always be able to provide you with these basics as a professional, quality supply business.
What else do you want from you olive oil manufacturer or supplier? Tell us in the comments below.