Independence with national support

Oct. 10, 2022 | 5 Min read
Independence with the support and buying power of a national network is the best of both worlds for Nutrien Independents, writes Rod Foran.

Independence with the support and buying power of a national network is the best of both worlds for Nutrien Independents, writes Rod Foran*.

The Nutrien Independents business comprises over 300 stores across the country, including the long-standing CRT brand. As the Nutrien Independents’ national growth manager, I’m part of a 33-member team that is solely focussed on supporting the independently owned and operated stores, to ensure their success.

The team includes category managers that advise stores on getting the best range at the best prices; administrative and logistics support; training experts and more.

Our members know their businesses and their areas best and what’s required for independent retailers to be successful, that’s why we have a National Council and State Member Committees to ensure store owners’ voices are heard.

Among our member stores is Frankland Rural in south west Western Australia. Chloe Casson, who co-owns it with business partner Tim Trezise, says she likes the transparency and culture of the group.

“I also like the independence, that we have the freedom to make choices for our business. Because the CRT stores are all independently or family owned, we receive a lot of loyalty from our communities for that.

“At the same time, we also benefit from the incredible buying power of the network, plus support with things like training.”

She said joining the CRT network in 2018 has helped her and business partner Tim grow Frankland Rural.

“Joining CRT was the best business decision we’ve made.”

Davies & Rose Rural & Hardware, in Creswick, Victoria, has been a CRT member since 1980, when Rod Davies and Paddy Rose joined the network.

Mr Davie’s son, Jamie, is proud to continue the tradition.

“It’s a great group of people and members, with fantastic management and handy people behind the scenes,” the owner operator says.

Some of the things Jamie Davies values include the marketing support, consolidated billing (i.e. that invoices are streamlined through CRT instead of hundreds of suppliers), the national buying guide, the procurement team’s efforts, and the computer systems that centralise ordering and transactions.

“It’s a great overall package.”

To people considering joining, he says: “Your bottom line will increase.”

Nutrien is investing a further $5 million into the independent dedicated computer system Jamie mentions. It’s a web-based online portal, called ICP, which is “one platform for everything”.

In many cases, the ICP can be linked to stores’ point of sale system, meaning no need to double key orders.

Across in South Australia, Kris Speed is sales manager at Cummins Ag Services on the Eyre Peninsula.

Cummins Ag Services has been part of the network since 2003.

“We have seen the Nutrien business evolve into a leader, especially in the Crop Protection space, with international connections but local experience and expertise,” Mr Speed said.

“We enjoy the autonomy of running our own business but have the backup and support of Nutrien under this model.

“Nutrien has a great relationship with leading supplier companies and is a significant presence in the market ensuring they have access to the latest products and information. With a highly skilled and stable procurement team, they are able to ensure continued good outcomes for us and our grower customers.”

Kris says if someone is considering a rural group to join, Nutrien is a great team to be on.

“Local, well-stocked distribution centres, centralised communication with local representation and easy-to-work-with systems ensure a model that ticks all the boxes.”

This positive sentiment is shared by Andrew Ireland, a director of Southern Farm Supplies that has branches in Bega and Bemboka in south-east NSW.

His parents, uncle and aunt started the business almost 35 years ago. They have had a multi-decade relationship with previous buying groups that are now part of Nutrien Ag Solutions – Landmark and prior to that IAMA.

Mr Ireland says among the key supports are warehousing and procurement.

“The team at Nutrien work hard to procure at scale and well in advance, ensuring warehouse stock is available, and forward orders are delivered on time. We benefit from the wider Nutrien perspective on potential seasonal supply issues to ensure we can have product available here to support our local farm clients,” he said.

“We also benefit from the advice and support network available through our affiliation with Nutrien, both in terms of the technical expertise within Nutrien, and from other stores like ours.”

Andrew says they have a long-standing relationship built on trust.

“We’ve found them to be approachable, honest and easy to work with. Our main contact remained the same person for well over a decade. You feel like you’re talking with people you can trust, who are interested in the success of our business, particularly as we strive to make sure we provide our local farmers with the best products, technical expertise and great local service.”

If you're interested in finding out more about how Nutrien Independents can benefit and support your business, please get in touch with us.

*Rod Foran is Nutrien Independents’ National Growth Manager.

Categories Rural Business

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