This year food producers and processors in almost every category have had to be flexible. Consumer behavior has changed more than we have experienced, which causes ripples through the entire value chain. We all have terms or symbols that represent a characteristic like flexibility.
For me to describe flexible I think of Gumby. The green character created in the 1950’s out of clay. Gumby could change his body shape and seemed to bend whichever way he needed to. His popularity was revived in the 1980’s by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live.
A few years back I was working with a client where I was describing the need for them to be flexible with a retailer. I explained for them to be successful they need to be like Gumby. Although I did not realize it at the time the person I was talking to (who was quite a few years younger than me) had no idea what I was talking about. Later I learned she had to Google it to understand it and we all had a good laugh when she figured out what I was trying to say, a few hours later. I also received this Gumby for Christmas that year. I have kept it as a reminder to myself that I should not assume people understand what I am talking about, just because I know it does not mean they do.
Do your customers perceive your business is flexible like Gumby to meet their needs?
Are you smarter than me to use terms your customers will understand?
Hopefully the answer to both is yes!
An example of SKUFood being flexible
When we created our schedule for our September Recipes for Success, presented by FCC my plan was to talk about demos on September 2. I am excited to let you know that Meg Tsvetkova from Sampler will be joining us to talk about their offering for producers and processors as part of our demo week. Due to scheduling the best time for this was Sept 16 so we will change our plan (flexible!) and talk about service level this week and demos on Sept 16.
How is your service level?
Service level is one of the most important metrics to retailers. It is a simple calculation of cases delivered divided by cases ordered that tells them if suppliers are able to keep inventory flowing when they need it.
In 2020 service level has been one of the most important numbers for retailers. As we mentioned earlier consumers have behaved very differently and that has caused many challenges in the supply chain.
The retailer’s philosophy about service level is simple. “If I have the stock when I need it, where I need it, I have the best chance of meeting or exceeding sales targets.” Given the importance of sales you can understand why they put so much emphasis on service level.
They measure it and so should you. It is easy to measure and you can be proactive to illustrate how your business is performing. Retailers will always talk price but in 2020 service level is one of the biggest opportunities to differentiate your business from your competition. As other countries struggle with the pandemic and interruptions in supply your ability to deliver product on time, in full is a big win.
Join us for our SKUFood Recipe for Success, presented by FCC Wednesday September 2 where I will take you through our process to measure and report on service level.
As part of SKUFood flexibility we are pleased to share a link to last weeks Recipe for Success, presented by FCC. “How to get a price increase” is one of the most items on your list of things to do.
Selling in a new environment
September Recipes for Success, presented by FCC
Sept 2- In stock position is more important than ever as retailers are focused on keeping their stores well stocked and selling as much as possible to consumers who do go in. Suppliers are expected to have the inventory required. We will talk about how retailers look at service level and how you should be tracking it in your business. Once you know how you are doing it is a great opportunity to communicate this to your customers.
Sept 9- The retail environment has changed and this impacts retailers and suppliers. Consumers are shopping the store differently. They want to get in and get out, more people are shopping with a list and they are buying more when they are in the store. Your strategy needs to evolve to this new environment and some of the tactics you might have used in the past will be less effective.
Sept 16- In store demos were a tactic employed by many food businesses. The satisfaction of talking to consumers about products and getting them to commit to a purchase was very popular. Most retailers have eliminated these from stores so we need to find alternatives.
Join me and our guest Meg Tsvetkova from Sampler for a special session on their offering and how it works for food producers and processors.
Sept 23- Developing relationships with existing and potential customers have moved to online meetings and trade shows. Your objectives are still the same, but the tactics you need to employ have changed. There are advantages to the new world we are all operating in and we will help you find them. Virtual meetings can be very effective and now you have the opportunity to attend trade shows anywhere in the world.
Alain Bosse, The Kilted Chef will join me to share some insights about how they have helped producers and processors develop relationships with customers and consumers.
Sept 30- Online shopping has increased dramatically since March. It has had a big impact on retailer’s operations but it also impacts producers and processors. Consumers shop differently when they order online. All of the investments made in store are worthless for the 10-15% of consumers who are now shopping online. We will discuss how you can communicate with them in advance and get on their list. The execution is different with each retailer and it will continue to evolve.
At SKUFood we understand it is important to give back. We have the ability to share insights and information you can use in your food business right away. If we were able to get in the same room for an event you would hear me say, “Success in the food industry is not just about making great products to sell; it is about selling the great products you make.” Communicating with your customers in these challenging times is an examples of this.
If you want to talk about how to get a price increase or need some advice just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900.