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The Importance of Collaborative, Long-Term Relationships in Weathering the Storm

Industry Update Industry Update

Nutrition Industry Executive interviewed Wilson Lau, vice president of San Leandro, CA-based Nuherbs, and we asked him: Has COVID-19 given companies the chance to spotlight their own pandemic-conscious values and USPs?

The importance of existing supplier relationships, and honest communication about forecasting, became so clear as the pandemic hit.

This all started in March 2020 for most of the U.S., but it has been impacting Nuherbs since January of last year.

Because we’re China experts we had prepared for the annual Lunar New Year shutdown by filling our warehouse in California and having additional material ready to ship to us when everyone came back from their holiday. That left us in a better position to meet the rapid increases in demand from our customers when the impact of the pandemic on the industry hit, and we were able to take good care of our customers when their demand spiked overnight.

Nuherbs has worked with the same growers and processors for decades, so we have stability, in terms of supply, and consistency in quality.

In long-term relationships, companies take care of each other, which has been particularly important during the pandemic. Those who buy by price alone from a variety of random materials brokers, or use just-in-time inventory management, have had more challenges.

The tariffs that the Trump administration put in place had already created a lot of uncertainty and, because the amounts kept changing, some companies held off purchasing material in the hope that they would be lowered or removed. Those companies were in the worst position when the pandemic hit, and may well have ended up without access to quality material.

As we enter our 41st year of business, our belief in collaborative, long term relationships has uniquely positioned us to get orders out of China quickly thanks to the systems and protocols we have in place with our partners.