A New Year is Coming for Food Service Manufacturing: Time to Re-evaluate the Status Quo

Kelly Donoghue

The definition of insanity is one of the most overused clichés of all times and I apologize in advance because yes, I’m about to use it once again as it seems to be an effective opener when one wants to address a problem or a challenge and initiate some sort of change.

So here we go…

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

We are quickly approaching the close of 2016 which means all of the speechmaking and advice that comes with starting a new year – 2017. And I’m not going to lie to you, this blog is yet another fine example of those get-ready-for-the-new-year-rah-rah-it’s-a-new-beginning discourses. But that’s no reason to stop reading… unless you’ve given up on truly exploring changes in the coming year.

So let’s lay this out. This year, with all of its advances, wins, losses and shortcomings, is drawing to a close. And a new year, with the rosy glow and promise of new beginnings and new growth goals, is on the horizon. The new year is an opportunity for beginning again with a recommitment to new goals to grow one’s business. And here in lies the crux of what I want to impart to you… if you think you’re going to re-commit – knuckle down, raise the bar, lengthen your stride – whatever you want to call it, and if you think the results you and your company are looking for are simply a matter of commitment and hard work, you are sadly mistaken.

One can’t make significant changes to their business solely by working harder. In this age of digitally-driven modern commerce and consumerism you’ve got to work smarter, different and faster. The harsh reality here is that one cannot keep doing the same things, the same way and expect to get different results. That is the definition of insanity.

So you may be saying “this is all true, but how does this apply to me as a food service manufacturer?”

Despite the major challenges facing the food industry, most companies rely on the same sales methods, mindset and tools they’ve been using for the past 20 years. While the manufacturing plants use cutting-edge technology to manufacture their goods, pricing strategy and sell-side technology lag far behind.

Cost-plus, gut feeling and death by spreadsheet is not the way any company should be pricing or selling or learning how to quote. When sales teams are using spreadsheets to sell hundreds if not thousands of SKUs, it takes forever to figure out the best cross-sell or upsell opportunities, which results significant revenue left on the table.

And to top it off due to these antiquated methods, the majority of a sales person’s time is spent navigating internal complexities and infrastructure. That means that 66% of their attention is focused on internal negotiation and navigation rather than externally to new customer development, forging new business channels and closing sales. (Think of all the opportunities not even getting a sales touch because so much time is focused inward.)

With digital consumerism changing the way many industries market and sell their products many leading food and beverage leaders are already investing in quoting and price optimization technology that solves these challenges and gives them a competitive advantage and improves their bottom line. Those that rely on the old methods of doing business, however, risk getting left behind.

So I leave you with this to ponder …. How do you want to start the new year? Perpetuating the definition of insanity? Or stepping out of the food industry rut of the same-old-same-old and creating positive transformation within your company and your business results by implementing new technologies for price optimization and quoting?

To learn more, download the eBook: Leftover Pricing & Sales Strategies are Placing Food & Beverage Manufacturers in Jeopardy.

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