Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is Ag World Support Systems LLC (AWSS)? We are a private, independent, third-party inspection company currently serving the processed potato and vegetable industries in North America.
Q. When was AWSS founded? We were founded on June 16, 1997 and began our first inspection operation in February 1998.
Q. Who is the CEO and what makes him qualified? Warren Henninger serves as CEO. Mr. Henninger grew up on a potato farm in Pennsylvania and has spent his entire professional career in the potato industry. Mr. Henninger's vision of developing a private, independent, third-party inspection company to better service industry needs led him to found AWSS.
Q. What is your mission? AWSS exists to provide the agriculture industry with an independent third-party inspection service that utilizes the most advanced management information systems and inspection equipment technology. AWSS will provide cost effective, accurate, and timely inspection data while receiving a profit to grow and develop its people.
Q. What is the vision of the company? AWSS Independent Third-Party Inspections bring added value to the agriculture industry at a time when high performance and the elimination of non-essential costs are of utmost importance. AWSS, through cost effective inspections, will meet the high demands of the processor and grower enabling the potato and vegetable industries to stay competitive in world agricultural markets into the 21st century.
Q. Is there really a consumer need for your service? Yes. In addition to providing quality and cost effective services we are responsive to industry needs and demands. Education is a cornerstone of our company. Informational training sessions are conducted that assist in both the processors and growers understanding of the grade. Our services also reduce a processor's exposure when the processor has performed the inspections previously. We do not have a massive bureaucracy where decision-making and change can take an indefinite amount of time to occur. We are flexible and insure efficient daily returns of information.
Q. Will you compete with the State Departments of Agriculture in the United States? We are in direct competition with the State Departments of Agriculture in the United States. We are the only private, independent company ever to enter the processed potato and vegetable inspection business. As government agencies are being downsized, industries are looking to private companies to better fulfill their service needs.
Q. How do you make money? We are a service company that is compensated for services rendered. Depending on the task at hand and location, we are paid by the processor and/or grower based either upon the weight of inspected sample size or hours worked.
Q. Why would a processor or grower want to use your service? We are an unbiased independent third party inspection service with high integrity. Our entire business is providing a high quality, cost effective service by generating both accurate and timely inspection information. We are flexible and responsive to our customers needs and do not have a large bureaucracy that inhibits our service. Where processors conduct inspections, outsourcing to our private service reduces the processor's exposure. In these circumstances, our services help enhance the process/grower relationship by removing the potential for perceived biases from processor generated inspection information.
Q. What do you consider your biggest threat? Ignorance. When the customer (grower and processor) does not understand the grade their profitability is directly influenced. We hold training sessions to help educate growers and processors on the intricacies of the grade that they have agreed upon in their contracts and purchase agreements. We highly encourage processors, growers and grower representatives to be present while their potatoes and vegetables are being inspected-this not only increases their understanding but also increases their assurance in our quality.
Q. Why will you be successful? Our quality, customer service, personnel development, and proper use of new technologies combined with our business plan will insure our success. A concrete example of our commitment to high customer service is our willingness to directly contact a grower when we notice that his current potatoes and vegetables being graded are falling below the quality levels we have historically been tracking for that growers specific lot. If the digger was set too low and there was a higher dirt tare than normal, we would give that grower a courtesy call.
Q. What does AWSS have that other inspection services do not? We are an independent, non-government service that specializes in potato and vegetable inspections. We are more responsive to industry needs and are committed to staying on the cutting edge of grading technology. Our customers come first, and our customers are our business.
Q. What is the unmet need that you are trying to solve? We believe there are two umbrellas of unmet needs we are solving depending on the area's grower/processor situation-1) Being more responsive than a government bureaucracy, or 2) Reducing exposure for processors performing inspections in-house. We provide timely grade information and a willingness to listen to suggestions and make changes that will benefit our customers.
Q. Inspection behavior has remained unchanged for a very long time. What if the market isn't there yet? Why do you think you'll be able to change the potato industry's behavior? The trends toward the privatization of government services and the outsourcing of non-essential business tasks have been growing. In general, a private company is more responsive and flexible, willing to do what is necessary to service customers in addition to reducing a processors exposure if the inspection was previously done in house. The potato and vegetable processing industry will continue its trend toward using the services of a private responsive and honest company. As we continue to expose our skills to the industry through our existing business operations, we will demonstrate our abilities to service industry needs effectively and efficiently. Our actions will help be the impetus for the change continuing to occur in the behavior of the processed potato and vegetable industries.