leading the way to results for fresh food marketing

Stop discouraging produce creativity

by Ron Pelger

Without being creative and different, a company cannot compete and survive in the business world today.

What new product, service or merchandising method has your company introduced in the past year? Are you being creative enough to attract customers and retain them?
Whether you are a grower, packer, shipper, or retailer, you should always be different. Everyone is competing for a chunk of the consumers’ dollar and they are easily attracted to something unique.
What's new and unique about your company, its product or service? If nothing is different, you could be doomed sooner than can be imagined.
Did you ever have a good idea that your superior instantly and negatively shot down? Well, don’t feel bad. Many of us have gone through those experiences with “creativity killers” at one time or another. It’s discouraging and makes a person never want to present another idea ever again. This is dangerous for any company that needs to keep moving forward in a fierce competitive environment.
One of the excuses in shooting down new ideas is to blame it on the company budget. The ever-popular phrase, “It will cost too much and our budget won’t allow it” has probably killed more good innovative ideas than we could possibly imagine.
Squashing innovative ideas discourages people in making further suggestions to management. It gives a bad impression that the organization does not invite new concepts into the system. Employees may not want to come forward with a proposal for fear that it will be tagged as a “bad idea.” 

There is a particular word that is very dangerous. It can wipe out all enthusiasm and crush motivation of constructive ideas in people instantly. This dangerous word is “can’t.” You’ve heard it many times ––– “We can’t afford it”, “It can’t be done”, or “We can’t get approval for it.”

If the only word company executives know is “can’t”, they may as well close up shop and turn out the lights for good. The “can’t” will kill a business every time.
Management should take advantage of innovative ideas. There are many employees who have opinions from actual work experiences that can help companies but feel they will be ridiculed if they submit them. Therefore, all creative ideas become locked inside of them.
Creativity comes from people. Business doesn’t innovate ––– people do. Wherever creativity is encouraged, a company grows stronger.
Are you a “creativity killer?” If so, you should seriously rethink your procedures to encourage and welcome new ideas from your employees with an open mind. Who knows? It only takes one small suggestion to help improve the overall operation. You would be surprised at all the sales and cost-saving solutions employees have up their sleeves.
For the sake of your company, your people, and the industry, stop discouraging produce creativity!
For further assistance, consider FreshXperts for a wealth of unique concepts that can easily be applied to fit your company needs. Stay ahead of the industry. Be profitable by being different. Try a different approach ––– engage with FreshXperts.
SDR Ventures recently completed the fourth issue of our “Produce Industry Report” which provides an overview of the merger and acquisition activity in the Produce Industry. It includes a performance analysis of public companies and a data-driven analysis of M&A transactions and deal multiples over the past several years. You can read the full report here, however below are few highlights.
  • Ongoing trade issues continue to plague the North American Produce Industry creating uncertainty and valuation challenges for mergers and acquisitions 
  • Despite an uncertain business environment, we tracked 19 Produce Industry transactions since January 1, 2019 
  • Our compilation of disclosed deals stats over the last several years stands at 7.9x EBITDA while as of May 31st, our comparable publicly traded basket was at 8.1x EBITDA
Feel free to contact me directly at if you would like to discuss how this may relate to your business
~FreshXpert, Eric Bosveld, Director, Food and Agribusiness, SDR Ventures

In Season: Market Memo

Update 7-2-19
July is a month with strong fruit sales.  The California Central Valley has started their harvest of peaches, nectarines, grapes, apricots, plums, and other tree fruit commodities.  As we get through the 4th of July Holiday their volume ramps up and retailers start promoting these items.  We will see a truck shortage in California as there is more product to move than trucks to haul them.  We expect July rates to stay high and we will probably see better supplies of trucks in August, but we will have to wait and see.  This is normal in the month of July and it is recommended to pre-book your loads as early as possible.  For more information contact the Fresh Xperts.
~Paul Grothe, FreshXpert
DelSur Services

Truck Scheduling vs First come, first served

by Alan Podufaly

I have been a part of companies that have inbound trucks scheduled and those that do not, let’s look at these models closer. Most Facilities have a finite number of doors to operate out of and floor space is at a premium. Many warehouses have defined hours for shipping and receiving; other operations are blended.
Today we will look at the pros and cons of Scheduled Appointments.
Pros to a schedule:

  • Associate schedules are easier to manage. You can plan and schedule your workforce in order to be sized right for the entire inbound shift.
  • Minimize overtime.  Since you know your workload daily, you can stagger your Associates to cover the inbound shift.
  • ETA can be communicated. If you are holding outbound trucks waiting on product you have a very good idea when the inbound truck will arrive. You can inform your customer when the delivery will arrive at their dock. If you are not holding delivery trucks but are loading second-run trucks, you will know approximately when those truck will load.
  • Managing truck traffic at your Facility is easier.
Cons to a schedule:
  • Hiccups can disrupt. Since we are only looking at fresh produce receiving, it is inevitable there will be product that does not meet your expectations. When this occurs a process needs to be met. The procurement team is advised of the problem. They in turn have to reach out to the Vendor for the next step. Do they need a USDA or can the product be rejected? When this occurs, the truck is typically held or the product is held for disposition. Either way, the door is tied up and this sends your schedule in part into a tizzy.
  •  Penalty Fees. Since many Facilities do not hesitate to impose a late fee to trucks not meeting schedule appointment, it opens the real possibility for the Trucking Company to impose a demurrage fee as well.
  • Timing. Produce loads are not one size fits all. Some are straight pull offs and others breakdown for example from 22 pallets into 45 pallets depending on the mix. Many scheduling systems are manned during the day so there can be some logic to the schedule and unloading windows for the designated door expanded. After hours the automated system does not know what is on the truck so it schedules as it is programmed.

To sum it up, a Facility with ample doors and an efficient team can adhere to a schedule easily. The occasional truck with issues can be held and other doors can be placed into operation at least temporarily to maintain the on time flow.  The Facility that is tight with space and challenged with only a few doors may want to look at a split between first come first serve and a schedule.

My next article will go over first come, first serve model’s pros and cons.

Upcoming events

PMA Foodservice

July 26-27, Monterey
FreshXpert Anthony Totta will be attending

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
Alan Podufaly: Quality Control, Operations, FISMA
Ron Pelger: Retail Operations Specialist
Jennifer Lawson: Administration, Information Design
Paul Grothe: Foodservice Procurement Specialist
Nick Pasculli: PR & Marketing
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