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Three things executives of food & beverage businesses wish they’d known sooner

3 mins to read
Three things executives of food & beverage businesses wish they’d known sooner

Even the most successful people have made mistakes. In fact, trial and error is an important part of growth and learning. However, many mistakes can be avoided by talking with others in our field and learning from their hard-won experience. This blog will discuss the lessons learned by three managers and executives in the food and beverage industry.

Improving efficiency does not have to be hard work

Often when we consider ways to improve efficiency, we think it will require an investment of long hours with few breaks. However, according to the CFO of Vic's Premium Meat, Guy Haslehurst , this does not have to be the case. Haselhurst found that implementing a business intelligence (BI) solution garnered instant results. For instance, Haselhurst needed specific sales information during a discussion with his CEO. Traditionally executives wait several hours to days for an IT generated report. However, Haselhurst said with Phocas, "I literally just logged in and had my answer within four to five clicks!"

For Nature's Cargo, a family-owned wholesale food distribution company, the ability to access their data quickly is critical to making important business decisions. “Effectively, Phocas drags the backend data straight to your fingertips. It is so quick at getting the right information to the right people. In our case, that means getting the data that is relevant to the people doing purchasing and buying and to the sales reps doing the selling. It was all right there within a few seconds in a form that can be easily read by the organization,” said Anthony Croft, the business development and sales manager for Natures Cargo. As of October 2017, the company had 30 users across the organization.

The key to avoid losing customers lies in your business data

According to a research study by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, customer acquisition costs six to seven times more than retaining a customer. The key is the ability to quickly identify declining purchasing values.

Anthony Croft of Nature's Cargo discovered that the ability to drill down into their underlying data prevent customer loss. “Phocas is like a GPS tracker for our sales. At the end of the day, what Phocas is going to do is make us more profitable, and we won’t lose customers because we are onto things a lot quicker," said Croft. With the ability monitor purchasing history including value and volume, the sales team can quickly identify a problem and intervene to prevent the loss of a customer.

Finding new sales opportunities can be as simple as the click of a button

At first it may seem that the most logical way to increase sales is to hire more sales reps. However, there are less costly and more effective ways to achieve this goal. Calico Industries, a major food service, equipment and supplies company in the US has developed a focused sales strategy to help their sales department uncover new sales opportunities. Instead of the traditional hit or miss methods, Calico enlisted the help of business intelligence. Dirk Wiersma, the President of Calico, has found new sales opportunities regularly present themselves with the use of Phocas. This is because business intelligence reveals insights such as emerging sales trends, the best product mixes, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
“Phocas helps to penetrate accounts further with the different commodities and also to ensure we are getting the maximum value from each account”, said Wiersma. “Phocas has helped us in these difficult times because money is tight and Phocas saves resources to free up the IT dept. It also helps us focus on areas where there are additional opportunities. Phocas is extremely helpful to track specifically which contracts are performing in the manner which we expected them to and understand why other contracts are not performing. With Phocas we can very quickly analyze that data.”