Blueberry Business Group Series: Industry Awakenings

Posted by Debra Bachar, President of Blueberry Business Group June 18, 2014

Tagged in Industry Research Manufacturer Members

There are new awakenings in the foodservice industry. The practice of monitoring returns on invested capital is alive and well inside manufacturer organizations, but attention is turning towards where, when and how money is flowing into and across the market.

As most manufacturers confirm, revenue gains continue to be outpaced by accumulating costs. If you're getting less mileage from your commercial resources, you're not alone. The many tensions from a closed supply system have erupted and produced what is now an open supply system, with dynamic new channels competing for operators who have proven to be very willing to experiment with new sources of value.

In this fragmented environment, broadliners are on alert. The scale of consolidation will continue because not only do their operating models and financial results require it, but the value derived from long distance service and DSR overhead has eroded with the emergence of e-commerce and Cash & Carry, and new gateways such as GPOs and a scaled broker network.

Most manufacturers missed the early signs of this eruption as natural outcomes of a low growth, low innovation and margin-stressed industry. Even now when implications are overtaking them, their go-to-market strategies haven't changed. For some reason, they continue inserting more marketing dollars of no value-add to operators into the supply system. The transactional practice of trying to engage operators using trade spend and price games was common (though not without pain) in a closed supply system.

But as we said, it's now open. Wide open. Each new route to the operator runs on a different set of rules. If manufacturers don't know what these rules are, and are not clear on their purpose, value, cost and return to their business, they are on dangerous dangerous as continuing to insert non-value-add elements to a supply system that at its core seeks to eliminate non-value-add elements in service to the operator.

And here is where we arrive at new awakenings:

  1. The need for suppliers to understand and manage the money flow and resource application in and across what is now an open supply system,
  2. Making strategy happen with business sophistication proportionate to the complexity and definitions of value this system represents. 

As our series continues, we will explore these topics and where they lead: clear-eyed, transformative growth and resource allocation strategies that deliver value back to your organization and the customers you live to serve. 

Blueberry Business Group

Founded in 2000, Blueberry partners and associates combine over 40 years experience working with chief executives and firms in all major food industry-related classes of trade.

We transfer new knowledge, new thinking and transformative business practices to food industry organizations providing objective advice to enable market share growth and thrive in today's environment. Our work is carried out principally through our clients' Chief Executive Officer.

As experts in all end-to-end aspects of the food industry, we see what others miss to improve our clients' financial results and gain long lasting competitive advantage. 

About the Author

Debra Bachar's corporate career history includes working with domestic and global food manufacturers in progressive executive capacities.  Consulting since 2000, she has earned the reputation as a successful transformation specialist, developing breakthrough growth and profit enhancement strategies for both Retail and Foodservice firms, in addition to public speaking, producing a series of white papers and conducting training seminars on behalf of industry associations and clients.

Debra is a member of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association and Women's Foodservice Forum, having served as Vice Chair of Executive Programs and Chair of Top to Top. 

Contact:  Debra Bachar

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