Jan 26, 2015

How do I know if I am negotiating or approving the best pricing strategy?   The Contract… In Foodservice, “bottom up” planning takes place with the contract. A sales manager enters into negotiations with a customer based on estimated usage for a product mix and pricing to achieve a targeted profitability. Sounds Simple?… but then, Read more »

Jan 07, 2015

Phoenix, AZ– January 6, 2015 – AFS Technologies, (AFS) the global provider of solutions purpose-built for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, teamed with Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) to explore the human element of TPM and better understand how well systems are actually being used and by whom to manage trade spend and deductions. The study Read more »

Jan 05, 2015

Earlier this month online retail giant Amazon unveiled the company has deployed robots to help with their warehouse operations across 10 of the companies 50 fulfillment centers. Citing a need to increase speed of delivery to the customer, the 15,000 robots are designed to help employees cut down on the amount of time they spend Read more »

Jan 05, 2015

Jan 6th, 2015. How much inventory do we have on hand? Where is it? Where did it come from? Where is it going? Just a few questions a warehouse manager is constantly asking and wants the answers at their fingertips so they can make the right decisions before the cycle repeats. Good news…The newest release Read more »

Dec 03, 2014

As a leading provider of trade promotion management (TPM) solutions for the food and retail sectors, we at AFS Technologies have a pretty good idea of what facilitates a smooth implementation—and what doesn’t. From our experience, we’ve found five pitfalls that can keep consumer packaged goods companies from achieving their desired return on their TPM Read more »

Dec 03, 2014

Analysts are already predicting this holiday shopping season will reach pre-recession levels. A recent report from the National Retail Federation cited 2014 holiday sales will be $616.9 billion – that’s more than 19% of retailers’ total earnings for the year! To capitalize on that opportunity retail brands and their distributors must be ready to contend Read more »

Dec 01, 2014

As part of the Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) support team, we took a fieldtrip this November to visit some of our customers at their locations. Our goal was to gain deeper knowledge and understanding of their business needs. We toured their facilities and viewed their operations. Taking a break from working behind-the-scenes, we were able Read more »

Nov 18, 2014

(January 7th, 2014) In the consumer products industry, the shift to mobile computing is having a profound effect—particularly among the field teams responsible for managing customer relationships and growing sales. Here’s why. Mobile applications are easy to use. They can be easily integrated with other operational systems. And they provide direct and fast access to Read more »

Nov 14, 2014

Industry discussion about Big Data and analytics has drawn a lot of hype, but there’s no mistaking that these two technology applications are more than just a passing trend. A recent Grocery Manufacturers Association report, Formula for Growth: Innovation, Big Data, and Analytics, noted CPG companies that understand “how to improve their analytical maturity, competencies, and Read more »

Nov 11, 2014

Are you unclear whether you should switch from spreadsheets to a closed loop TPM solution? Afraid of a huge implementation timeframe with subsequent costs? Starting a well-planned journey towards a more efficient TPM processes doesn’t need to be a headache. In this webinar we will inform you how can you take your organisation from managing Read more »

Nov 06, 2014

Over the last few decades, many traditional, paper-based business processes across the enterprise have been automated to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and optimize business performance.  And while automation alone is a lynchpin to survival in today’s economy, the true sign of success is the ability to demonstrate actual and significant return on investment to justify Read more »

Oct 31, 2014

The warehouse has long been considered the heartbeat of the distribution process. The supply chain may begin when a customer places an order, but it’s the execution of that order in the warehouse that can make or break the entire process. From traceability concerns to quality control, space optimization to labor efficiency, inventory visibility to Read more »

Oct 29, 2014

While it’s hard to achieve long-term success in the frozen food industry, many companies can dramatically improve their odds by tapping an underutilized resource that is literally at their fingertips. That resource is data. The need for breakthrough thinking Consumer product companies in the frozen foods sector face significant challenges. First, there’s fierce competition for Read more »

Oct 27, 2014

Anyone who’s been involved in a Trade Promotion Management—or any other type of solution deployment for that matter—will likely agree that at the root of every successful implementation is a knowledgeable, experienced team and a well-defined, proven implementation methodology. Most, however, won’t be as confident when discussing the real reasons implementations fail, so we’ll tell Read more »

Oct 27, 2014

AFS is launching a new version of its TPM for Retail in November. Based on feedback from customers and our vision of the product, this version has many important enhancements, including: • Waterfall Pricing: Before this enhancement, it was sometimes difficult to know the complete trade spend with multiple overlapping deals and allowances at multiple Read more »

Oct 22, 2014

If you work in a foodservice company’s finance, marketing or sales department, you are all too familiar with the complexities associated with managing trade spending. Contracts need constant attention. So do the dozens—if not hundreds—of distributors and operators for which you are responsible. And so do the 2,000+ claims requests and transactions that can cross Read more »

Oct 22, 2014

We are excited to announce a new version of TradePro Foodservice, 7.1, was released on September 13th and our customers and prospects are very impressed by the new features and functionality that had been added to the application, including these highlighted items below: On Hold – Amend Backup. To manage Operator and Distributor claim issues Read more »

Oct 21, 2014

Anyone who’s been involved in a Trade Promotion Management—or any other type of solution deployment for that matter—will likely agree that at the root of every successful implementation is a knowledgeable, experienced team and a well-defined, proven implementation methodology. Most, however, won’t be as confident when discussing the real reasons implementations fail, so we’ll tell Read more »

Oct 15, 2014

Are you struggling to turn huge amounts of field collected data into actionable Insight in a quick, reliable and cost-effective manner? Do you also wonder how much revenue potential is being ignored due to lack of a tool which is able to handle multi-source data, is end user friendly and delivers detailed insight in the Read more »

Oct 13, 2014

It is trying times in the non-food sectors. There is a global shift to emerging markets. The consumer base is broadening in terms of young consumers and the aging population. Don’t forget the divide between those with low incomes and those with high incomes. These factors lead to a greater variety of trade promotions with Read more »

Oct 08, 2014

In the world of trade promotions, the need for collaboration between retailers and companies in the drug, general merchandise and personal care spaces is well documented. By working together, toward common goals, manufacturers and retailers can jointly influence shopper behaviors, boost sales and create a win-win outcome. Unfortunately, less attention is given to another form Read more »

Oct 01, 2014

Customer planning can be challenging for sales departments. It is where the greatest amount of variability exists because forecasts can be subjective and/or based on gut instincts. Even though many organizations have invested in trade promotion management (TPM) technologies as part of their ERP solutions to help drive reliability in their planning. As is often Read more »

Sep 17, 2014

When you consider that trade spend typically equals 20% of a CPG companies total revenue it is clear that any CPG company would want to manage this vast expenditure with mature, industry leading systems and processes. The “journey to effective trade spend” should start with a benchmarking exercise where you evaluate current systems and processes. Read more »

Sep 15, 2014

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Sep 15, 2014

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Aug 19, 2014

We would like you to challenge us to do your annual planning, integrated with SAP, within two months. Learn how in five months we can get you up-and-running with the full, closed loop TPM process.

Aug 13, 2014

It’s no secret that CPG companies operate in a very challenging, very dynamic environment. With ever-changing promotion tactics and timing rescheduling, coupled with the need to respond to competitor activities and retailer-specific programs—it is very difficult to manage—let alone improve visibility into trade spend. Many manufacturers consistently struggle to make timely, accurate business decisions due Read more »

Jun 03, 2014

I thought it would be valuable to share a recent research report titled, A User’s Perspective on Distribution Technology Alternatives by Dan Gilmore, Editor of Supply Chain Digest. It did an excellent job at comparing various technology options such as pick to light, handheld devices and voice. The following quote from Dan summarized the results, Read more »

Jun 02, 2014

Phoenix, AZ June 2, 2014 — AFS Technologies, the leading provider of software solutions for the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, has appointed Chris Rice as Senior Vice President of Industry Strategy. In this role, Mr. Rice will provide strategic consulting to ensure CPG companies are equipped to optimize the benefits of a fully integrated Read more »

May 20, 2014

Although rock-solid and stable, “legacy” software solutions continue to age and show signs of maturity.  Technology has changed considerably over the past few years and it unfortunately doesn’t age like fine wine.  Now is an ideal time to assess your growth plans and look towards the future. Replacing legacy solutions, such as an ERP, is Read more »

May 06, 2014

Convenience stores are looking for new ways to bring customers into the store. After all, the gasoline industry has dramatically changed over the past several years and tobacco sales are down – so what’s the C-Store industry to do? Invest in Foodservice. According to research, the Commercial Foodservice segment is experiencing rapid growth for several Read more »

Apr 17, 2014

The pages of Progressive Grocer magazine recently shared a virtual stimulation study conducted by InContext Solutions to better understand how consumers shop grocery aisles. The study revealed some interesting facts that may force manufacturers to re-think the traditional strategies surrounding shelf placement, packing and merchandising. Blue Packaging Rules When it comes to shopping for cheese, Read more »

Apr 03, 2014

Remember when water choices were limited to either still water or sparkling water? Today the category includes a plethora of choices such as coconut water, Vitaminwater, maple water, birch tree water and even barley water. Despite the fact that the “exotic” water category began in the natural and organic channel, it has quickly gone mainstream Read more »

Mar 21, 2014

This year’s AFS Technologies Industry Conference brought 250 food, beverage and CPG industry professionals — including AFS clients, guest speakers, sponsors, board members and employees — together at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, Arizona.  The two-day event allowed guests to experience the desert oasis that AFS calls home as well Read more »

Mar 05, 2014

There are lots of myths swirling around the Trade Promotion Management (TPM) space. One in particular is about deductions, also called charge-backs. For many CG companies, deductions are either an ongoing headache with no resolution in sight or an overwhelming pain point they chose to ignore. Many believe deductions are simply the cost of doing Read more »

Feb 19, 2014

To continue with our series of debunking common myths in the CPG industry, let’s talk mobility. This legend as told to executives goes something like this:  Mobile Retail Execution solutions are effective for resolving out-of-stocks, however the overall return on investment is low and difficult to calculate. Senior management doesn’t directly experience the benefits, therefore Read more »

Feb 05, 2014

Here is a common myth within the CPG industry: Cloud computing poses substantial security risks to businesses and the promise of reduced costs, scalability and speed is simply not enticing enough to risk valuable company and customer data. Security is always a concern when sensitive data is involved, and that concern is heightened when it Read more »

Jan 21, 2014

When Clarence Birdseye launched his quick-frozen food business in 1929, frozen prepared foods offered consumers a practical alternative to canned foods. The introduction of the microwave in the 80s accelerated the frozen industry’s growth by offering convenience, freshness and taste in minutes. As consumers embraced healthy eating in the 90s, frozen food responded with new Read more »

Jan 05, 2014

For companies that deal with certain food or other variable weight items, supporting strong catch weight management is downright critical. When you buy in bulk, and your end product weight varies, capable catch weight management is a precondition for effectively managing business processes – i.e. controlling inventory, managing costing, minimizing taxes, and accurately invoicing customers. Read more »

Dec 18, 2013


Dec 10, 2013

When December hits, shoppers are twice as likely to purchase category items that aren’t necessarily a staple during the other 11 months of the year.  Shoppers also up the ante when it comes to stocking their baskets with fresh foods.  In fact, the week of Christmas is the highest-selling week of the year, behind Thanksgiving Read more »

Dec 10, 2013

When December hits, shoppers are twice as likely to purchase category items that aren’t necessarily a staple during the other 11 months of the year.  Shoppers also up the ante when it comes to stocking their baskets with fresh foods.  In fact, the week of Christmas is the highest-selling week of the year, behind Thanksgiving Read more »

Nov 26, 2013

Or is it eating and shopping? With Thanksgiving just days away, retailers are split on the decision. According to the National Retail Federation, 35 million Americans visited stores or websites on Thanksgiving Day last year versus 89 million on Black Friday. This year, Walmart, Target and Macy’s announced Thanksgiving Day shopping hours, while Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Read more »

Nov 12, 2013

AFS Technologies is pleased to announce registration has officially opened for its annual Industry Conference taking place March 16-18, 2014 at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler, Arizona.  A new venue and expanded Conference agenda will provide AFS clients, partners and prospects with unprecedented access to business technology trends, software functionality training, industry Read more »

Oct 22, 2013

Millions of Americans (and consumers around the world) look to vitamins and supplements to get a boost of nutritional elements they need or desire. From a dose of vitamin C, D and B12 or a dietary supplement to add-on muscle after exercise, consumer look to these products to help improve health and overall quality of Read more »

Oct 08, 2013

You’ve heard the buzz, so here’s your chance to see the powerful AFS Technologies Solutions Suite in action!  Join us for a demo of the industry-leading Food & Beverage business solutions that are generating big results and a quick ROI for Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturers, Distributors and Sales Agencies. Take a tour of a new Read more »

Oct 03, 2013

After much anticipation, Whole Foods Market has officially opened in the Phoenix area.  Interestingly, the popular specialty grocer landed in the midst of a pack of competing stores including Trader Joe’s and Fry’s. With all three of these food retailers within close proximity of one another, is there enough demand in the area to keep Read more »

Sep 19, 2013

A recent article in the New York Times explained how two social scientists are trying to convince consumers to change their eating habits by testing “nudge marketing” in grocery stores. Instead of preaching about obesity or voting for a soda ban, they are taking an unexpected approach to increase the purchase and consumption of fruits Read more »

Sep 16, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ, September 16, 2013 – Shopper Technology Institute, the primary resource for marketing, merchandising and technology executives, has partnered with AFS Technologies, Inc. to conduct a thought-leadership webcast titled Business Intelligence vs. Data Discovery: Is there a Clear Winner?  The live webcast on Wednesday, September 18 at 2:00 p.m. EST is complimentary and open Read more »

Sep 05, 2013

The federal government has announced a set standard for “gluten-free” claims on food labels, a step that will bring uniformity to the $4 billion market for gluten-free products. The Consumer Packaged Goods industry favors the rule as it levels the playing field among manufacturers and provides peace of mind to the three million Americans living Read more »

Aug 20, 2013

It’s no secret – the inaccuracy of product data affects the entire supply chain and has been an ongoing challenge for the Food & Beverage industry. During the GS1 Connect 2013 conference this past June, a panel discussion surrounding data quality expressed the need for CPG manufacturers to measure, validate and communicate weights and dimensions Read more »

Aug 06, 2013

The July 22nd birth of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge is predicted to provide a £240 million gain for the British economy.  In the US, that’s equivalent to $368,760,000. An estimated £56 million gain is expected from sales of souvenirs, while the royal heir’s 63 million subjects are expected to spend Read more »

Jul 23, 2013

It’s no secret that consumers are flocking to healthier foods, reading labels, stocking up on produce and becoming more conscious of what they put into their bodies. In order to heighten its focus on food safety, quality and freshness, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club recently announced it will start rejecting produce from suppliers who do not Read more »

Jul 08, 2013

There has been quite a bit of interesting, buzz-worthy activities occurring in the natural and organic space as of late.  First off, Whole Foods, the first national certified organic grocer, recently announced an aggressive goal to increase its store count to 1,000 over the next decade. That will triple its current portfolio. The big-box retailer Read more »

Jun 17, 2013

During a speaking engagement at the AFS 2012 Industry Conference in Arizona, Supermarket Guru® Phil Lempert posed a really interesting, rhetorical question: Why do grocery retailers “reward” consumers buying 12 items or less with a special checkout lane? Shouldn’t they offer the special privilege of a speedy check-out to the shopper with an overflowing cart? Read more »

Jun 05, 2013

Phoenix, AZ, June 5, 2013 – Wrigley Pacific, a leader in confections and a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, will optimize its field sales personnel in Australia and New Zealand by deploying the Mobile Retail Execution solution from AFS Technologies, Inc.  With a wide range of product offerings including gum, mints, lollipops and hard and chewy Read more »

Jun 03, 2013

Have you been following the Facts Up Front initiative? The program is encouraging Food & Beverage companies to move key information from the Nutrition Facts Panel on the back of products to the front of packaging. The idea is to have easy-to-understand icons summarizing important nutritional facts such as calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar Read more »

May 16, 2013

The store shelf is the last chance to make a sale. During the 10 seconds it takes for a consumer to scan the shelf, justify the purchase and put the product into their cart is a key timeframe the supply chain would benefit from exploring further. While eye-tracking technology is not new, seeing the shelf Read more »

May 02, 2013

Was your last new product launch a hit or a miss? New products are the lifeblood of the CPG industry and a sure way to attract retail buyers and gain attention from new consumers. According to the 2012 new products survey by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), 20 percent of consumers are “always” looking for new Read more »

Apr 16, 2013

Major retailers and fast food organizations including Ikea, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Tesco were found to have been selling products advertised as 100% beef, but also containing horse meat.  While the European Union (EU) has standards, rules, and regulations in place that are as stringent of those of the US-based Food and Drug Administration Read more »

Apr 15, 2013

Phoenix, AZ, April 15, 2013 – Method, the leading innovator in premium, environmentally-conscious household and personal care products, is partnering with AFS Technologies, Inc. to strengthen its daily Trade Promotion Management (TPM) strategies.  The San Francisco-based company will implement the AFS TradePro™ Retail TPM solution to automate its trade-related business processes, optimize trade promotions, enhance Read more »

Apr 01, 2013

This case is officially closed!  The great Sherlock Holmes inspired the Investigate Emerging Technologies theme at this year’s AFS Technologies Industry Conference.  More than 230 Food & Beverage industry professionals (aka detectives-in-training) were in attendance, making the 2013 event the best turnout in Conference history.  The spectacular Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Read more »

Feb 04, 2013

Can Greek yogurt be categorized as a dessert or a healthy snack? Is it a viable breakfast food, meat alternative and cooking substitute? The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘yes.’ Greek yogurt (yogurt strained to remove the whey) fits into almost every category seamlessly and consumers are devouring the not-so-new product by the spoonful. While strained Read more »

Jan 28, 2013

To all detectives in training…AFS Technologies recently announced its 2013 Industry Conference will take place March 24-26 at the stunning Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona. This year’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired event affords manufacturers, distributors, sales agencies, logistics providers, and operations personnel the opportunity to investigate a variety of emerging technology solutions and gather insights Read more »

Jan 15, 2013

Traditionally, trade publications, news outlets and analysts make industry predictions for the New Year — and the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry is no different. Everyone wants to know what the hot new trend will be.  Is there a product category consumers will embrace and push to the top?  And what technology advancements will be Read more »

Dec 18, 2012

Making a “list” is a common go-to planning strategy for many people, especially during the hectic holiday season. There are gift lists to compose and a grocery list a mile long to cover holiday meals and baking.  Even Santa Claus makes a ‘naughty and nice list’ to stay organized. With everyone’s noses buried in pre-made Read more »

Nov 26, 2012

For CPG manufacturers, invoice deductions and chargebacks are part of doing business with Retailers. These deductions can include everything from temporary price reductions (TPR) and slotting allowances to damaged cases or short shipments. Such costs come directly out of the manufacturers’ trade spend budget, so it’s vital to monitor deductions closely and settle them in Read more »

Nov 12, 2012

California voters rejected Proposition 37 last week – a measure that would have required the labeling of genetically modified foods in the Golden State. The final tally resulted in 53 percent of voters opposing the issue.  If the grassroots ballot initiative would have passed, supporters believe it could have served as a step towards a Read more »

Nov 05, 2012

When is the last time you shopped at a dollar store? The days of rummaging through obsolete or discontinued merchandise in a cluttered store are a thing of the past. The dollar store channel has significantly matured over the years. The improved format offers an expanded assortment of SKUs made up of both national brands Read more »

Oct 24, 2012

The Halloween season reminds us that mankind faces fear every day.  In the Consumer Packaged Goods industry, manufacturers of all sizes and categories share a single, common nightmare. It is a frightful task that can paralyze business growth, and here’s the worst part, it’s a fear that must be encountered day after day after day.  Read more »

Oct 18, 2012

Just last week, I blogged about looking ahead to 2013 and the difficult chore of sorting and understanding the combinations of environment and business factors that may impact the CPG industry. That blog summarized a few of the points that I believe work against companies and consumers. This week, let’s look at the forces that Read more »

Oct 12, 2012

As 2012 winds its way towards the end, we all find ourselves thinking about and trying to predict what’s ahead for the CPG Industry in 2013.  The sales planning process is in full gear and companies have to take all these procrastinations and translate them into sales gains and losses. To be honest, I wouldn’t Read more »

Sep 26, 2012

I recently attended a webinar hosted by Natural Foods Merchandiser titled 2012 Natural Products Market Overview.  It was primarily presented from the perspective of a retailer, but the presentation included some interesting findings and useful nuggets of information.  For example, the total dollar retail market for natural products is estimated to be about $73 million, Read more »

Sep 17, 2012

When is it time for a Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturer to upgrade to a Trade Promotion Management (TPM) system?  This is a popular question among growing manufacturers, especially those in the natural and organic space. While there are many variables to consider, here are five true-tale signs that the time is right: 1. You have Read more »

Aug 29, 2012

We all have heard it a hundred times over.  It’s the mantra of every management consultant that goes back many years: if you want to improve your business, one needs to develop, measure and manage by the metrics. There are many pseudonyms for this concept, including key performance indicators (KPIs), critical success factors and key Read more »

Aug 22, 2012

In case you weren’t aware, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Walmart. The retailer opened its very first store July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas.  Today, more than 140 million Americans shop at Walmart EACH WEEK.  Four thousand four hundred stores later, the world’s largest retailer has reshaped the retail industry, influenced how consumers Read more »

Aug 15, 2012

With much of North America experiencing record-breaking heat and near-drought conditions, many are concerned with Mother Nature’s impact on the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry.  Most agree on one very likely outcome: expect higher grain and food prices across the board. Historically, CPG manufacturers have preferred to pass such increases along to the consumer. But Read more »

Aug 08, 2012

Millennials, the 50+ million consumers currently between the ages of 18 and 34, are predicted to spend $56 billion on Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) products over the next decade. Industry research shows Millennials buy differently from the Baby Boomer generation which presents both a challenge and an opportunity for manufacturers to create new and profitable Read more »

Jul 31, 2012

In my last blog I discussed how one should be weary of all the spam in the marketplace regarding Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO.)  Many make it out to be much simpler than it really is.  When your company is truly ready and you do venture down the TPO route (and eventually you should) it will Read more »

Jul 18, 2012

For those in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry keeping an eye on ‘what’s hot’ and topical, you have certainly come across all the talk about big data initiatives and Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO).  And the talk is valid. But CPG manufacturers can’t simply keep throwing more money into the trade promotion budget.  The social Read more »

Jul 09, 2012

Nearly four in 10 Trade Promotions Management (TPM) implementations fail. It’s no wonder Consumer Goods companies of all sizes get sweaty palms whenever the “I” word is mentioned. But what is the real reason behind a failed implementation?  We posed this question to the Professional Services Team here at AFS Technologies to find the answer. Read more »

Jun 21, 2012

Improving the effectiveness of trade spend dollars continues to be the leading challenge for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies, according to a May 2012 research survey conducted by Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) Magazine.  Successfully managing trade promotion activities (and budgets) are crucial for long-term profits, steady growth and increased shelf space.  Interestingly, the approach to Read more »

Jun 07, 2012

In 1983, the film “Mr. Mom” starred Michael Keaton as a stay-at-home dad. The movie comically shed light on the differences between men and women (dad versus mom) running a household, hitting the grocery store and getting dinner on the table.  Fast forward nearly 30 years and the fictional movie plot is now a reality Read more »

May 31, 2012

In-store consumer marketing has and will continue to be an effective tool for both Retailers and CPG manufacturers.  No matter how large or small a campaign, these activities need to be a win for the shopper, the manufacturer, the brand and the retailer.  From end cap displays and samplings to loyalty programs, Retailers and Manufacturers Read more »

May 09, 2012

After working as a bagger at Giant Eagle, I was lucky enough to be chosen to work in the Produce Department. Back in the day, the produce aisle was the key to a supermarket’s overall success.  Grocery stores were configured so shoppers were required to walk through the produce section first.  Whenever possible, produce was Read more »

Apr 19, 2012

During a recent shopping trip at Giant Eagle, I couldn’t help but be impressed with just how far the private label segment has come.  The packaging, the messaging and even the displays have the same look and feel as a leading national brand.  The private labels today even have a prominent presence in print, on-air Read more »

Apr 11, 2012

Not once. Not twice. But a dozen times, I’ve watched customers come to a horrible realization about their trade spending. Once they understand where they are spending money and find where all the bodies are buried—they get the real numbers for everyone to see. All too often, the cold hard facts prove that the company Read more »

Mar 28, 2012

How many times have you heard the phrase “my job is to sell” come from a member of your Sales Team?  For many years, this attitude was not just widespread, but very valid. But as times have changed, so have roles and responsibilities of sales professionals.  It’s an evolution that can be the difference between Read more »

Mar 13, 2012

The New York Times Magazine made people nervous with its February 19th cover story by author Charles Duhigg. Its chilling headline, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets,” seems to have compelled readership as a matter of personal protection. I make this inference from the number of acquaintances who asked me about it. “Creepy” was the adjective Read more »

Feb 21, 2012

Let me pose a question. Do you believe Trade Promotion Management (TPM) systems are just for big Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies and everyone else is relegated to Excel® to manage trade spend?  There are many manufacturers that have this perspective.  The truth is, if your company invests more than $1MM in trade spend annually Read more »

Feb 06, 2012

It could be said that the Expo floor at the NRF Big Show in New York channels a mass retail environment: wares presented in vibrant displays; sales people eager to engage; swarms of prospects stalking the aisles. According to the National Retail Federation, some 25,500 people packed the January event. It was the best turnout Read more »

Jan 31, 2012

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting a webinar entitled “Winning with Shopper Marketing.”  The presentation featured Mary Georgio, a shopper marketing expert with a wealth of experience from both the Manufacturer and Agency sides. I was particularly impressed with Mary’s viewpoints regarding the relationship between Retailer and Manufacturer and how it could be greatly Read more »

Jan 21, 2012

Manufacturers know a first-rate Broker network is the key to success. Good Brokers can be the difference between being a market leader or follower. Brokers are much more than a simple conduit between Manufacturer, Distributor and Retailer. In addition to getting and keeping a Manufacturer’s product on the shelf, they serve as the eyes and Read more »

Jan 13, 2012

As a long-time optimist,  I believe 2012 will be a very successful year — with or without significant improvements in the economy.  Businesses and consumers have proven to be both resilient and smart.  They are doing the best they can under the current circumstances and will continue to position themselves for great success when the Read more »

Jan 06, 2012

Several months ago I spoke at an industry conference regarding best practices in trade promotion management. I discussed the nature of collaboration between Manufacturers and Retailers and proposed that the goal of such collaboration was to create a “win-win” scenario between both parties. One of the audience members challenged me during this point of the Read more »

Dec 07, 2011

As 2011 winds down, it is always interesting to look back and decipher how shopper behavior has changed.  Economic conditions certainly didn’t get any better and buyers felt the impact on their wallets and lifestyle.  As we head into 2012, most pundits are predicting more of the same.  So how can we expect consumers to Read more »

Nov 18, 2011

On a gorgeous, crisp autumn morning there is nothing more exhilarating than a trip down to the Farmers Market. Because winter will soon be setting in here in the eastern United States, I only have a few more chances to visit my favorite outdoor venues. What the commentators and analysts are saying about people wanting Read more »

Oct 26, 2011

Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO) and Trade Promotion Management (TPM) may be in the same genus but they clearly are two very different types of animals. TPM is the management of the entire cycle of trade promotions and related spending between CPG manufacturers and their customers including annual planning, creation of events, implementation, post-event analysis and Read more »

Oct 24, 2011

With the price of peanuts on the rise and the announcement by major manufacturers that peanut butter – an American staple of families and singles  — will cost more for consumers, one has to wonder if households will be spreading the peanut butter thinner. We think not! Consumers have entered into the era of ‘smart shopping’ and Read more »

Oct 10, 2011

Let’s face it, time is money. Think about your working calendar for a second. There are five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Take out 20 days for vacation and 11 days for holidays. That suggests there are roughly 229 working days per year. For most selling organizations, employees must take out one day Read more »

Sep 16, 2011

Stop struggling with trade promotion deductions and reduce your post audits!!  Companies do not have to spend so much time and energy validating and approving deductions for trade promotions and other sales related programs.  Third party auditors say that that the most common reasons for post audit claims are for things that can be avoided Read more »

Sep 07, 2011

I call it the Paradox of Scale: Grocery chains keep getting bigger, but industry profit performance remains stagnant. It’s been a doggedly persistent trend. Between 1992 and 2009, the top 20 U.S. grocery retailers increased their cumulative market share from 39 percent to 64percent, according to the U.S. Economic Research Service. Meanwhile from 1996 to Read more »

Aug 29, 2011

It’s that time again…the Natural Products Expo East show will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center, on September 22 – 24, 2011. Whether you are a manufacturer presenting or you are a buyer for a distributor or retailer, one of the most important considerations of show preparation necessary to ensure that the show experience Read more »

Aug 23, 2011

While Excel™ may seem “free,” it could actually be costing your company a lot more than you know.  Consumer Goods (CG) manufacturers typically spend between 10 and 20 percent of their gross sales on trade promotions with wholesalers, distributors and retailers. Trade spending represents the best lever a CG firm has to effectively shape demand Read more »

Aug 04, 2011

Curious about whether or not the increased food prices are impacting the manufacturers, retailers, and consumers equitably? We’re hearing that cost of goods have increased for the manufacturers, the retailers are offering more and more private label brand options, and consumers are definitely searching out the “deals”.  Collectively, these variables/challenges are affecting margins and opportunity Read more »

Jul 20, 2011

Businesses are scrambling…on all levels.  This is a notably challenging economy, and has been for the past three years or so!  However, spirits are high…and from all that I’ve been reading and discussing with colleagues and friends, management teams and one-man shows alike will weather the storm if they are paying attention to some VERY Read more »

Jul 01, 2011

The economic downturn has not spared consumer products companies.  Part of the challenge lies with the new cost-conscious consumer and the rise of the private label.  Thirty-five percent of shoppers are trying private label brands for the first time, enticed by the lower prices and perceived high quality.  Thus far, most consumer products suppliers have Read more »

Jun 21, 2011

While researching charitable companies in the food industry, I came across the Global FoodBanking Network. The mission and intention is VERY inspiring and one that appears to have a continuous, proven impact across different cultures, geographies, and economies. GFN contends that food banks are an essential part of the solution for alleviating hunger and improving Read more »

Jun 03, 2011

David Cleveland, professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara, reported recently that “the global, centralized agrifood system is highly productive but creates a disconnect between production and consumption, with associated social and environmental impacts.”  His contention is that “local production may not be enough to tackle these problems.” The example that was described in Read more »

May 20, 2011

Let’s say you think getting a Continuous Improvement (CI) program started at your company makes a lot of sense. You see that there’s lots of opportunity to improve…so how do you get started? For any successful CI Program, there are Six Key Success Factors: 1 Strategy-Objectives, Project Identification 2 Structure 3 Training/Expertise 4 Pilot Projects Read more »

May 04, 2011

CPG companies work in one of the most competitive environments in the world – differentiating their brands in the mind of price and brand-savvy consumers, working with and often competing with retailers to get their products on shelf, and fending off competitive threats. Amidst this pressure on the top-line, CPG’s need to deliver bottom line Read more »

Apr 25, 2011

According to data sources, the average American’s diet is comprised of 65 percent processed foods.  Obesity afflicts a third of all Americans.  Various researchers have estimated that 3-16 percent of the general population in the United States and Canada is insulin-resistant; another figure that is sometimes given is 70-80 million Americans. Insulin-resistance is a precursor Read more »

Apr 06, 2011

This week is full of buzz coming out of Symphony IRI’s Summit in Miami, FL and one of the key messages delivered early in the Summit from keynote speakers was a call for manufactures to reinvest in their brands. I fully agree. Branding has been in decline, advertising budgets the first to be pulled when Read more »

Mar 23, 2011

Let’s face it …we can’t deny it anymore. The cloud and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications are having a major impact on all our lives. In the enterprise, many applications now live in the cloud, and it’s only the beginning. More and more companies are now ready to turn their IT around, and minimize in-house hosting for Read more »

Mar 03, 2011

I picked up a recent back issue of Harvard Business review and read a column by Lynda Gratton entitled “The End of the Middle Manager.” The column speaks to how systems and shifts in corporate culture are pushing the traditional middle manager role into redundancy. The classic middle manager, a general manager, tracks performance, monitors output and ensures Read more »

Feb 18, 2011

I’ve recently done a bit of work analyzing the ways food and beverage makers use Excel™ in their businesses.  While it’s rare to find a company that hasn’t installed some kind of financial system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) engine, over half are still using Excel to track and manage trade promotions and related spending.  Read more »

Feb 08, 2011

When I was discussing the hot issues facing marketers in the food and beverage industry, one reoccurring topic kept popping up  – pricing, and more specifically the battle that suppliers and retailers are facing due to upcoming price increases. Commodity prices are increasing almost across the board, putting pressure on suppliers; meanwhile, consumers are continuing Read more »

Feb 01, 2011

The process of building an annual plan can be a very taxing exercise in an organization. Practiced in a variety of degrees of sophistication and detail, most organizations generally build a financial plan and define tactical priorities/action plans of some sort to achieve their corporate financial targets.  Your best people put on their strategic thinking caps, assess Read more »

Jan 07, 2011

I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t join in the rest of the crowd in making my own predictions for the coming year.   It almost seems a rite of passage for any respectable blog.  That being said, I do believe 2011 will be a significant one in the history of consumer products.  So Read more »