Resilience: driver of professional development

Since 2020, the commercial and purchasing functions have been facing unprecedented situations. The sudden introduction of remote working and tensions over raw materials, energy and transport have brought rapid changes to agribusiness organizations across the value chain. In the face of these special national and global circumstances, resilience is the key word among professionals. This skill in the face of unexpected changes allows an ultra-fast upskilling for commercial profiles and buyers in the food industry.

Strengthening the link with customers and suppliers is the strategy most used by agribusiness players. This requires many skills, usually acquired over several years, and today developed in a few months to cope with the market situation:

  • Communicate remotely: In telework, the interlocutors cannot perceive as many signals as in a physical exchange. Adapting your communication is then necessary to convince and create a relationship with your customers, prospects and suppliers.
  • Adopt a new negotiation stance: the rise in prices leads the various stakeholders to reassess their business relationship so that no one is penalized. Negotiation then becomes value-creating to find new supply and sales solutions.
  • Increased digitization: the data collected makes it possible to make a more global and detailed analysis of the market situation and of each supplier and customer. Thus, one can determine the changing needs of buyers and the risks of each supplier. Decisions are thus made in a more informed manner.
  • Agility, the engine of resilience: resilience is the ability to adapt to change, for this the agility of people and organizations is the key. To develop it in business, it is necessary to create an environment of trust so that creativity and adaptability can flourish.

Stories of Resilience


The testimony of a buyer for a food packaging company


How do you deal with the unstable situation for 2 years?

For the past 2 years, we have been experiencing great tension in the world of purchasing and a turning point in the profession. Between the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine, the purchasing function had to adapt. The buyer’s main mission is to meet the needs of his company at the best quality/cost and time ratio. We have to adapt to the market every day to get supplies, despite the difficulties of transport and daily price increases. It’s a real challenge to take up every day, and we have no visibility on an improvement in the coming months.

What are the skills/reflexes/methods/new ways of working that you have acquired?

In this context, the purchasing function had to adapt and implement different strategies. The already strong link was strengthened with internal departments such as R&D to find alternative materials when our suppliers could no longer deliver (ref: sunflower oil crisis). Communication with our suppliers has also intensified with very frequent exchanges; spot purchases, storage strategies… in short, solutions. With the increase in energy costs in the coming months, the tension will always be high and we will have to find solutions to ensure the sustainability of our businesses.

Testimony of a KAM at a PGC company


How do you deal with the unstable situation for 2 years?

For more than 2 years, we have been experiencing radically different business periods between a sharp drop in demand and an equally exceptional recovery. We therefore had to review all the action plans to maintain the operating accounts as well as possible. The 2022 negotiation was extremely tense due to the new Egalim 2 regulatory framework and the geopolitical context that prevailed over the last days of negotiations, highlighting strong uncertainty over the months to come.

For the company, the situation is exceptional:

  • Soaring material costs
  • Recruitment issues in production
  • Strong growth in demand since the last quarter of 2021
  • All of these factors degrade our customer service rating.


What are the skills/reflexes/methods/new ways of working that you have acquired?

Internally, in recent years, we have been able to work better with support services and in particular with the supply and management control service to arbitrate and coordinate action plans (e.g. product stoppages or suspensions), not to mention our interactions with the teams. purchase: better knowledge of the sectors and material purchase indicators (MPA but also inputs).

Logistics/production took an extremely important part in customer exchanges:

  • Management of shortages and therefore of logistical penalties that we work in tandem with the supply teams
  • Strong pressure from distributors to have a good service rate and respond to promotional requests


For key account functions, the pressure is strong both internally and with our customers.

Internally, faced with the urgency of the price increases, we had to show a lot of pedagogy to explain the increases and the signature deadlines thus took longer than expected. We also had to arm our trades with buy indicators that we were less familiar with. Not to mention the importance of the legal aspect in our relations with our distributors which lead us to have to be trained on the regulatory framework. Finally, our role is also to inject good energy into the field teams to maintain operational excellence at the point of sale.

Our exchanges with our customers have also evolved a lot, less physical appointments in favor of remote appointments, we had to adapt: ​​a negotiation by teams is not prepared/animated like a physical appointment, there are certain rules to respect for that these work well (respect of timing, confidentiality, sharing of information, etc.). 

We are therefore faced with a profession that is evolving with an even stronger financial orientation, but we must not forget the genesis of our profession: trade!

For 2 years, like diamonds that form under very high pressure, today’s generations of salespeople and buyers have been able to make the most of a difficult situation by adapting to learn new skills quickly, such as resilience and adaptability.

Recrutement agroalimentaire agricole

With this statement, I wish to highlight the quality of Leaderia’s support, starting with the time allotted to understanding our need and DNA, and the relevance of the questions asked during the briefing meeting [...]

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