The Fruit of the Root
In our industry, rootstock is used to establish superior orchards. The process involves planting rootstock suited to the orchard’s site, soil conditions, and disease pressure. Once the rootstock is established, the scion of the desired cultivar may be grafted onto the rootstock. In the global citrus industry, for example, sour orange rootstock has been used to produce many kinds of citrus – from grapefruit in Texas to oranges in Florida.
Roots are the system of the plants that hold the plant stable, properly access the moisture and nutrients from the soil to feed the plants, trees and or vines that produce the fruit or nuts. Therefore the health of the fruit and life of the plants entire structure has everything to do with the health and structure of the root system. Good rootstock helps ensure a tree will bear fruit for its expected, normal lifetime; the choice of rootstock mismatched to the orchard site, climate or variety can result in the tree bearing less fruit than desired.
It is easy to make a comparison between the need for right rootstock and the contrast between short-lived companies and those with longevity (multi generational profitability) in our industry. The health and life of a company begins with its roots. What was the passion of the founder? What did he create? Where did he gain his competency? How has the passion and vision been passed on to the generation to follow? Most of us, outside the companies, see the fruit of the root.
Like the scion grafted onto rootstock, an organization’s infrastructure is built upon the company’s roots. Organizational infrastructure must be sound and carefully constructed so that, once sales gain considerable traction, there is not failure to deliver quality products. This is the fruits of our labor.
So how can you evaluate if you are doing a good job building on your company’s roots? What does fruit look like? What differentiates healthy fruit or unhealthy fruit?
1. Healthy means giving the customer what they are looking for. Be a good listener.
2. Healthy means good arrivals not only to distribution facilities but to the restaurant unit or retail grocery store. You should be proud to see the condition of your product if you are the consumer in their units.
3. Healthy is a pleasurable eating experience enjoyed at consumer level.
4. Healthy is loyal customers and repetitive business because they appreciate what you have to offer and want to repeat their experience.
5. Healthy is controlled growth so that cash flow is properly maintained. Financial stability is required to maintain excellent payable practices. This requires timely invoicing and collecting within payment terms.
6. Healthy is when the business makes it all about the product and customer and not about egos.
7. Healthy is when people are your greatest asset. People and relationships with employees, vendors, and customers are all equally valuable.
Companies, even those with the best roots, have to monitor issues like these to make sure the fruit of the root results in long-term profitability.
What makes this an imperfect
illustration is this: even the best rootstock can become susceptible to forces outside its control. As I write this, Florida’s citrus industry continues to face disease pressure affecting much of the rootstock historically preferred there. Citrus growers there are making hard decisions about what to do with those
As in any business, those businesses able to
adjust and adapt – perhaps even establishing new roots suited to the changing environment – will continue to be successful in the long run. And it all goes back to making sure the roots are staying healthy and resistant in
a changing environment.
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