The system melts down without trust

I talk often about the importance of trust in the produce business, but it’s critical to all business.

In the Wall Street Journal, July 20, John Stoll wrote an article, entitled, Facebook’s Credibility Crisis.

At the conclusion of the article, Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is quoted: “All of finance has one foundation and it’s trust. It’s been that way since the dawn of time. When companies earn our confidence, the system works. When an Enron Corp., or Lehman Brothers, WorldCom Inc. or Countrywide Financial Corp. ignore that truth, the system melts down.”

Truer words could not have been spoken. Certainly, every business in the produce industry is aware of this important fact. Without trust in your trading partners or vendors, the system can, indeed, melt down.

Think about it: what more important issue is there in business than to have trust in the party with whom you are dealing?

Trust is the feeling of assurance that you will be treated exactly as someone portrays. If a customer pays you in the time-period requested, you feel confident about the business and integrity of management.

On the other hand, if the person does not fulfill what was agreed to, trust goes away and with it the likelihood of any future business.

Much has been written over the years about how unique the produce industry is: based on a phone conversation between two parties, a contract can be forged, calling for produce or transportation services to be provided, solely on the word of each party. Amazing!

My father always told me that a person’s reputation is all he/she has. An individual may be successful for all the wrong reasons. Do not be fooled by fancy cars or big houses; instead, ask the question: do I trust this person?

Do your own homework before agreeing to work with someone. You will be glad you did.

Jim Carr is the President and CEO of Blue Book Services Inc.