4 October 2017

The Supply Chain: An Inside Look at Vanguard’s Robust Distribution Operation

Since 1991 Vanguard has been rethinking and reinventing the way our produce makes the journey from field to table. Our way of business serves global markets with a growing distribution system that includes vast and strategically located operations together with highly developed, international grower networks. Our goals are being realized as we are increasingly the growing choice of retailers, importers, and wholesalers around the world.

Distribution is no easy task and takes careful consideration, even after years of successful operations. “Treatment of every crop is different,” explains Craig Stauffer, CEO Vanguard International. “That’s why we work with experts on every crop we handle. For example, citrus is stored on the tree. We harvest and pack as the fruit demonstrates the right attributes all within 48 hours.”

“Apples you harvest as the fruit tells you they’re ready,” he continues. Apples are then put away in a controlled atmosphere storage location so that we can continue to offer them fresh throughout the year.”

Stauffer demonstrates his knowledge on the different characteristics of produce explaining that vegetables are more like cherries. He recognizes lettuce and celery are fast moving crops requiring harvesting and packing in the field before cooling and shipping. The packing location for grapes is dependent on the location they’re grown. In Peru the fruit is harvested and packed in a pack house where in North America they’re packed immediately in the field. Vanguard’s tried and tested methods ensure individual crops are dealt with in a manner that ensures they arrive to retail fresh and ready for consumer purchase.

“Our goal we have inspectors everywhere in production areas, they are experts at what they do,” explains Stauffer. “They’re inspecting everything before we ship, aware of the quality that has been committed to customers and upholding that standard sense of understanding each market.”

“What works in Indonesia may not work in China and our value add is that we know that. We know what works for different countries and our ability to select the right product for the right market at any given time is what makes us so successful,” he continues. “It’s not just 24 hours or 72 hours it’s more complex than that and the processes we have developed throughout our robust distribution operation ensure we are meeting and exceeding our partners expectations. It’s staggering how many people it takes to get grapes on the shelf at Safeway and other retailers. Up to one hundred people are involved throughout the process for each piece of fruit. This industry is far from a 9-5 business.”

Every custom–filled order at Vanguard is inspected and tracked. Our integrated supply process sources the world to meet local demands with perfection and precision. Distance, time, and seasons disappear as our offices, locations and partnerships are optimized for grower services and logistics.

“This season brought us closer in relevancy to our customers,” adds Stauffer. “We had the ability to leverage our supply. We opened doors to talk about other fruits and vegetables. There’s an increased synergy there between the crops and the production that I look forward to expanding upon as we continue to explore new ways to streamline our distribution. It’s what we do here at Vanguard. As we always say, we’re driven by what our customers need: the right produce, right now.”