leading the way to results for fresh food marketing

Stop Going for Low-Hanging Fruit
When it Comes to Choosing Your Next Star Performer
(You've Worked Too Hard for That.)

By PI Consulting
When it comes to adding new talent to your team, are you going for low-hanging fruit? Do you hear yourself saying “the people running my supply chain just aren’t performing.” Or “they’re not the kind of customer-facing people I need.”

This could mean you've based your hiring decisions on a good-looking resume or nice answers in the interview. Or maybe you have hired someone who “knows produce.” These kinds of decisions can often come from well-meaning gut feelings … and sometimes this works to select your next performer or leader.

But many times it doesn’t.

Is it time to look at the other side of the fruit? Today there are behavioral and cognitive tools that give you data-driven insights on how a person will perform in a specific role. One of these suites of tools is The Predictive Index (PI). The Predictive Index offers scientifically valid behavioral and cognitive tools that offer objective information about a person’s work style.

Are behavioral and cognitive-based systems worth the investment? Yes.
  • Your success ratio goes up as you use insights based on behavioral and cognitive data. A survey of top HR Executives at 25 of the Global 50 companies found that nearly 80% of external hires were disappointments. Only 21% of CEO’s felt they got their money’s worth from who they hired. 
  • Investing in behavioral and cognitive assessment tools on the front-end costs far less in both time and money than resolving a bad hire down the road. According to the National Business Research Institute, a bad hire costs from $25,000 to $300,000. 
  • Knowing exactly which role is best suited for an employee boosts retention. And retention boosts performance. Research shows that success in hiring the right candidate is more than 8 times higher when cognitive and behavioral assessments are applied, compared to using an unstructured interview process. 
  • Effectively onboarding and managing for an individual employee’s style is critically important for retention. With today’s data-based tools, daily decisions can be made in just a few seconds based on findings from each individual’s behavioral or cognitive results.
  • Skills presented in an interview can change over time. But the knowledge, skills and experience discovered in a data-based cognitive or behavioral assessment typically remain unchanged over time.
Bob Clark from PI Consulting Group says, “The Predictive Index tools are sophisticated assessments that are easy to administer and understand.” Have you ever wondered if your great individual contributor has leadership potential? Or if your new Ops Manager can work under pressure. How about trying to guess
if an applicant will fit into your culture?

When you know how an employee’s behavioral traits and learning style line up with your company goals, you’ve taken the guesswork out. You’re moving forward with real data for real results.

The bottom line: A comprehensive approach works best.

No one assessment should determine if a candidate is hired or an incumbent is promoted. However, the assessment results complete the puzzle of getting to know a person’s total potential.
There’s nothing like the feeling (and the outcomes) when you’ve got a total system in place. This system can align a person’s skills, interests and behaviors with their leadership qualities and learning styles all in one package.

Now that’s the really good fruit that’s up high on the branches – and it can carry you to a whole new view of success.
Learn more today at

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A: "A prescription without diagnosis is malpractice." 
The first step with FreshXperts for most clients is a Professional Analysis which will
  1. Determine need
  2. Address pain points
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by Ron Pelger

Update Your Training to Keep Pace with the Produce Industry

What is your job in the produce industry? Were you trained for that position? If you answered yes, are you still being trained today or was it a fast, one-time session?
Many people in the produce industry will say they were trained. How long ago? Twenty years ago? Thirty years? Times have changed. New methods are being used. Technology has taken over the industry with robotics entering the field.
Whether you are in retail, growing, shipping, sales, marketing, or supervision, you need to be trained "on a regular basis" to keep pace with an industry full of day-by-day changes. Being trained only once doesn't do it these days.
Most companies think they have a training program. In all reality, too many are inadequate programs. They are too short, too complicated or too boring. The majority of in-house training programs are one-day, hurry up, slaphappy seminars. You're in and you're out. This method is always a failure.
Company management does not consider the benefits of training. They scrutinize the price tag, then shoot it down. This neglect will be a disaster to an organization.

I contacted twelve industry associates to gather information regarding their company training program. Most of the responses didn’t really surprise me.

Produce Manager: “No, I never went through any kind of training. They just placed me here from the grocery department.”
Produce Manager: “Our produce manager quit and they promoted me. My produce supervisor handed me a DVD and told me to watch it at home. It was something about safety.”
Produce Director: Training? What training? We can’t even spend a dime for a couple of paper clips. I’d love to be able to update our training manual, but the company won’t pay for them. We had some really outdated produce manuals that I tossed in the rubbish."
Shipper Salesperson: “When I started here, they gave me a desk and a pair of headphones. I actually had one day that someone taught me the ordering system on the computer. That was it.”
Produce Buyer: “I had one week alongside a buyer watching him talk on the phone to produce shippers. I heard a lot of yelling and swearing.”
Shipper: “We don’t have any type of training program. New people just learn on the job. That's it. Lot of mistakes, though.”
Part-Time Employee: “Produce training? You mean like a school? I’m already in high school. I’m not staying here too long anyway.”
Hearing these responses from the industry is quite distressing. But this is the reality of today. Cut spending and learn nothing.
 As the produce industry gets more and more complicated, you need to strengthen, not weaken your competitive defenses. Train your employees. Then re-train them regularly to keep up with a constant changing produce industry.

Discover additional FreshXpertise articles on our website.
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Market Memo

As we move through the first month of 2019 and into February and March weather remains in a factor in most growing regions.  California, Mexico, and Florida have received more rain than normal and some cooler temperatures.  We expect the rains to continue well into February thus challenging most growers.  For the most part market prices have remained steady.  Look for strawberries in California to be a major challenge.
February is a great time of year for promoting strawberries as Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of the month.  However, supplies are short this year due to rain in Southern California.  There is supply from Mexico and Florida but the fruit from these growing regions has also had some weather challenges.  After Valentine’s Day we have President’s weekend so expect any resort customers to see an increase in demand on all produce items.  St. Patrick’s Day in March is a great time to promote cabbage and potatoes.  Also, don’t forget we will be in transition from winter growing regions back to summer regions at the end of March.

~Paul Grothe

Upcoming events

FreshXperts Anthony Totta and Nick Pasculli will in Portland, Oregon, at Organicology, February 14-16.

Contact Anthony or Nick to schedule a time to meet up or email and they will contact you.

FreshXperts is a consortium of consultants in the fresh industry. 
Experts in all aspects of the fresh industry–from Farm to Fork
Growers - Retailers - Distributors
Logistics - Foodservice -
Start Ups & New Ventures

For more information about our member FreshXperts, visit our team page
Anthony Totta: CEO; Business and Brand Development Specialist
Tim Vaux: Executive Leadership Specialist
Eric Bosveld: M&A; Agro-Economics Specialist
Ron Pelger: Retail Operations Specialist
Jennifer Lawson: Administration, Information Design
Paul Grothe: Logistics Specialist; Foodservice Procurement Specialist
Nick Pasculli: PR & Marketing

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