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Buyer interview

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case study
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  1. Executive summary.
  2. Analysis.
    1. The company overview.
    2. The nature of the purchase.
    3. The buying group and the purchase decision-making process.
    4. Assessment of the buying process.
  3. Recommendations.
    1. Suggested improvements in the buying process of AFF.
    2. Advices for satisfying and getting business from this buyer.
  4. References.
  5. Appendices.

To conduct my buyer interview, I have contacted a French company named Alimentation Fine de France (AFF), which means French Fine Food. My contact was Marie-Dominique X, the key buyer of the company. I asked her a few questions about her company, the general buying process, and the people who are involved. The buying process consists in determining the need, selecting the supplier, reaching the appropriate terms and conditions, issuing the contract, and then controlling the delivery. The first part of this report is focused on how AFF deals with its purchases, from the description of the need to the evaluation of goods and suppliers. Then, a few recommendations are listed in order to understand how AFF could improve its buying process and how suppliers can get business from this organization. Alimentation Fine de France (AFF) is the second largest company on the French fine food and wine market. The central warehouse is located in Bergerac, at 90 kilometers from Bordeaux, Périgord. The company buys 1600 different products from 200 suppliers around the world and then resells them to about 2500 clients, which are mainly gourmet shops and department stores in France and Europe, such as Lafayette Gourmet and Harrod's.

[...] For each product, they use a worksheet in order to keep track of what comes in and out the warehouse. When they have decided on their needs (product description and specification), they start to search for potential suppliers. They use different criteria such as the history of the companies, their knowledge of the fine food market, and their reputation. When available, AFF makes sure the company is healthy via its financial reports. The next step is to contact the suppliers they are interested in and ask them for a proposal. [...]

[...] own products, they practice aggressive promotions as well as high-quality advertising and communication supports. In France, the fine food market is divided between mass distribution and smaller retailers. In the area of mass distribution, Menez and Bur are the number one and two. They are indirect competitors because AFF does not sell products to supermarkets. Concerning small retailers, the leader is SDPR, the subsidiary of a big corporation of ?charcuterie? named Smithfield. But the competition is not really harsh since the firm is slowing down and lots of its butcher shops are closing because of retiring. [...]

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