CSM Bakery Solutions Commits to Full Plate™ Category Management Training and Certification Program

Posted by IFMA October 01, 2014

Tagged in Category Management Connect Discover Foodservice Category Management Foodservice Leaders

In 2013, IFMA and The Partnering Group (TPG) launched its Full Plate™ process, developing a best practice framework in Category Management for the foodservice industry. Category Management Training courses were launched in 2014 to teach industry practitioners how to increase profitability and ultimately gain back share of consumers' food dollar. After training is completed, members have the opportunity to become Full Plate™ certified by taking a certification test. 

CSM Bakery Solutions has made a significant commitment to the training and certification program. Eleven of its professionals have been trained and six of these individuals have also been certified in the Full Plate™ Category Management process by IFMA and TPG.

IFMA staff sat down with Marla Cushing, Director of Marketing at CSM, to discuss how the organization has implemented the Full Plate™ process and how Category Management Training and Certification has helped the organization.

Q:  How important of an initiative is Category Management for CSM Bakery Solutions?

MC:  To remain relevant and competitive in today's marketplace, category management has become a critical aspect to CSM Bakery Solutions for our go-to-market strategies across the entire organization. We believe in developing solutions for our customers that help them deliver on their goals and objectives.

CSM Bakery Solutions was the 2013 Winner of The Progressive Grocer's Category Captain of the Year  for Fresh Bakery. We were also active participants on IFMA's Foodservice Category Management Advisory Board, which helped develop the Full Plate™ Category Management process for Foodservice. CSM Bakery Solutions invests heavily in both proprietary and secondary marketplace insights; highlights include core category attitude and usage studies and proprietary bakery consumer segmentations. We are organizationally structured by channel and have developed internal category experts that provide insight-driven recommendations on how to grow the sweet bakery category to our customers. 

Q: Why is Category Management Training and Certification important to the organization?

MC:  Category Management Training and Certification enables our internal sales, marketing and development teams to formalize the process and speak the same language. A common language is also important for collaborating with customers and/or other supplies, with whom we may partner to achieve a common customer goal.  And of course, it facilitates discussion among those partners who have also completed the certification to develop industry best practices. 

Q:  How have the CSM professionals who have been trained and certified in the Full Plate™ process implemented what they have learned?

MC:  The timing of our team completing the certification coincided with the beginning of our annual planning process.  We are leveraging the process and the insights we learned with our category teams as we build our innovation and portfolio management plan for 2015 and beyond. We also use the Full Plate Business Process to develop account plans for our target customers and the categories they represent. We have learned that aligning product, data and timeline expectations from the very beginning is important to building a successful category strategy.

Q: What is CSM's greatest takeaway from the Full Plate™ training and certification process?

MC:  A key takeaway is mastering a new way of thinking and being proactive with our customers for shared success. We have found that the "Discovery and Alignment" step is key to identifying priorities and focusing in on growth areas. Recognizing the need to align our goals as a first step is a critical part of our solution-based selling platform and essential in establishing true partnerships for today and the future.

Q: How has understanding the Full Plate™ process helped CSM's business?

MC:  The Full Plate™ program is useful to us in many ways. Primarily, this process has served as a category development guide enabling us to define focus segments, prioritize initiatives and measure our progress.

Q: What is your vision from an operation standpoint on the future of Category Management in 2015, and several years down the line?

MC:  Like any initiative, I think the future of Category Management is dependent upon its success. Other programs have been used in the past, with limited success, because they were not adopted by the industry as a whole. If broadline distributors embrace category management as a go-to-market strategy and find that it facilities their growth and profitability goals, more and more manufacturers will strive to understand and implement the principles. 

Foodservice Category Management at Presidents Conference

Case studies from distributors and manufacturers using the Full Plate™ best practices model will be the focus of a breakout session at Presidents Conference this year. The event takes place Nov. 2-5 at the JW. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, AZ. Register to attend or learn more. 

About Category Management Training

Training and Certification is now available to members and non-members alike through two training options: group or customized. Since training began earlier this year more than 150 professionals- manufacturers, distributors, brokers and allied communities - have completed the one day course and are now putting it into practice. The next training session takes place November 12 in the Chicago area. Click here to learn more.

Login To Gain Access To This Content
Mar 05

Chain Operators EXchange (COEX)

The IFMA Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) enables chain operators to take advantage of business building insights and create personal connections with leading manufacturers. With dozens of high-profile operators on the planning committee, the program truly is created "by operators, for operators."

How Google Serves as a Guide to Manage Substantial Change in the Foodservice Industry

The foodservice industry is at a tipping point of massive change that is coming over the next five years and will dramatically affect how manufacturers, operators and distributors conduct business for decades to come. At IFMA’s 53rd Annual Presidents Conference, one executive from Google will provide insights on how the tech leader has reacted to rapid change, and the importance of anticipating transformation.

Key Challenges Uncovered through Category Management Pilot Programs

For the last several months, four manufacturer and distributor teams have been engaging in a pilot program testing the 8-step Full Plate™ Category Management process. The teams are currently activating their completed category plans, which has introduced common challenges and solutions needed to generate optimal results.  

IFMA & TPG’s New White Paper Addresses Application of Category Management Best Practices and Processes

CHICAGO, OCT. 1, 2015—Today the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) released a white paper addressing the application of category management best practices and processes that help both distributors and manufacturers drive more collaborative and effective partnerships. The white paper, titled “Full Plate™, Applying Collaborative Planning Best Practice in Foodservice,” is provided by IFMA in conjunction with The Partnering Group (TPG).  

Foodservice Category Management Updates from 2014 Presidents Conference

Foodservice category management is not a faddish "one-hit wonder"; it is here to stay. It's a very effective operational approach that leverages strategic insights as supply chain partners collaboratively work together to co-create value. In piloting, Full Plate™ best-practice processes generated 20% sales growth.

Review of 2014 Foodservice "State of the Industry" Report

Leaders of IFMA, the NRA and IFDA delivered a SWOT analysis during their Foodservice "State of the Industry" Report, presented at the 2014 Presidents Conference. Their findings? The industry grew in 2014 and significant opportunities exist to increase consumer demand in 2015. Substantial savings opportunities can also be gained through more efficient supply chains this year. Learn how industry-wide collaboration is expected to continue contributing to increased foodservice sales and profitability in 2015.

Barbara Hiden Talks about ABA's Priority Issues

Barbara Hiden, Vice President of Federal Affairs for the American Beverage Association, the trade group that represents the nation's non-alcoholic beverage industry, will be our guest speaker on September 24, 2014.

Bill Day Webinar Category Management: Q&A

Bill Day, Executive Vice President of Merchandising for Sysco Corp., delivered a webinar on July 21 hosted by IFMA. The state of Category Management at Sysco and the industry was a key presentation point. After the webinar, viewers/listeners emailed several questions to Bill Day. View an overview of those questions and answers and receive more information on Category Management.  


Annual Foodservice Ashore Solutions Event. Success.

IFMA hosted the annual "Foodservice Ashore Solutions", an enterprise-wide training opportunity for MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) foodservice professionals, on June 9-12 at Navy Base Point Loma in San Diego, California. Foodservice demonstrations and samplings were featured, along with guest speakers from IFMA, Disney, the Kruse Company and Datassential.         

Julia Bauscher Talks about the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act on Upcoming Washington Insights Call

Julia Bauscher, Director, School and Community Nutrition Services for Jefferson County Public Schools (KY), incoming President, School Nutrition Association (SNA) and 2013 Silver Plate Winner will be our guest speaker.

Kevin Bechtel from Shari’s Restaurants and Pies "Fills In" the SMB Community

Every month, IFMA's Small & Midsized Business (SMB) community hosts a discussion with industry experts, trading partners or operator customers. In June, Kevin Bechtel, Sr. Vice President of Purchasing/R&D and Menu Development at Shari's spoke to us about his business.