leading the way to results for fresh food marketing

Is Your Business Model Encouraging Innovation?

By Tim Vaux

My partners and I often encounter clients who need guidance on how to develop innovative product offerings. Sometimes it is difficult to change the way people have acted over their entire careers. Old business models are based on growth through customer retention. New models are based on a change to an innovative culture model.
So, the question becomes: How do you make an innovative focus work within an existing business model?
There are different rules for both models. The typical business model is how money gets made and what drives profitable execution of the business. The rules of the “culture of innovation model” depend on values that drive behavior and commitment. When the two are in conflict the business rules will always win out. That is because business measures are what gets rewarded. On the other hand, a culture of innovation encourages questions, challenges, and risk-taking. The challenge we have at FreshXperts is convincing clients that they don’t have to choose between the two models. Success can come in merging the two together.
Do these values and behaviors sound familiar?
  • Excel at your job
  • Be loyal to your company
  • Work with those you can depend on
  • Seek a competitive advantage
  • Do the job right the first time
  • Strive for perfection
Those are the values of a business-driven model.

Now consider these values and behaviors.
  •  Break rules and dream
  • Listen to your customers
  • Trust and be trusted
  • Seek fairness, not advantage
  • Experiment and iterate with others
  • Err, fail and persist (Ready, fire, aim)
The two lists seem to be nearly incompatible. The trick is to bring your business model requirements into an innovation framework rather than the other way around. Innovation rules become the driver of the business outcomes.
An innovative business culture is one that understands the risk of not taking a risk. Let me repeat…. understand the risk of not taking a risk. Constantly look for something beyond the status quo. Your leadership could very well be more powerful; your conversations more meaningful; and the pace of positive change could be radically accelerated. In this way, innovation drives better business outcomes.

In Season: Market Memo

December Update: 12-9-19

The markets are extremely active as we enter the month of December.  Weather has challenged growers from the east coast to the west coast and even in Mexico.  We are seeing early season rains and cooler than normal temperatures.  In the Culiacan area of Mexico, there has been extensive rain and wind.  This is causing lower yields thus there is very little supply of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and other warm vegetable commodities.  In the U.S. the Florida growing region is seeing yield challenges as their weather was also abnormal.  Out west, in the Yuma region and the Imperial Valley growers have seen early season rains. All commodities are priced higher than normal right now and don’t be surprised to see some contracts enable Act of God clauses. 

For challenges working through your contracts, FreshXperts can help.  Logistically we saw some challenges right around Thanksgiving, but we made it through that period, and it looks like capacity for truck equipment remains normal right now.  Drivers are being a little picky as to what routes they want to run.  Most drivers and teams are choosing to take loads that stay south with minimal weather challenges.  Getting loads in the northern parts of the country is a little more difficult and a little more expensive.

~Paul Grothe

Hiring a consultant is a wise and safe company investment

by Ron Pelger

Hiring a consultant is a wise and safe company investment

Is your company having a difficult time hiring good experienced talent? Does it place your operation behind in the process? Do you have the time and money to train new people? Are specific programs not working and budgeted targets failing to be achieved?
Those are quite important questions if a company wants to maintain steady sales and profit growth, especially with the higher cost that it takes to operate efficiently today. Companies today can ill-afford to be lax in controlling the cost of doing business.
It could be a very favorable time to invest in skilled consultants.
Here are some reasons to hire a professional produce consultant:

  1. Outside Viewpoint – Too often, companies become internalized and complacent. Everyone gathers in a meeting room spending hours hashing over the same difficulties only to depart with a partial plan that is seldom completed. These "patch jobs" are a waste of time and labor producing no results. A consultant brings outside ideas to the table and sees internal areas that can be enhanced immediately saving money for companies.
  2.  Experienced Skills – Produce consultants worked from the ground up within the industry they know best. Chances are they experienced similar situations and have the knowhow to get rapid results. 
  3. Temporary Expertise – Companies can save a lot of money by using consultants. A consultant is not a full-time employee, doesn’t drive a company car, isn’t on the expensive health insurance program, never goes off on a paid vacation, doesn’t occupy office space, and will not ask for specific days off. A consultant rolls up his or her sleeves, gets to work right away, completes the assignments and moves on.
  4.  Neutral Voice – Consultants act as a mediator between the “we agree” and “we don’t agree” people. They tell it like it is and take no political sides. Consultants are not afraid to say “No” to management on any subject that may sound good but is off the target of improvement. 
  5. Training – Consultants are teachers and trainers, not just problem solvers. Their skills learned from actual career activities are passed on to clients to educate them and enhance better operational functions for the company.
  6.  New Ideas – Many companies operate under the same old routines, which often become dated. A consultant brings new trending ideas and strategies into a company in order to build future growth. The internal management staff only views their operation from the inside. Consultants have an extreme amount of knowledge from multiple outside experienced assignments which makes them flexible in all areas of the industry. 
During good times, companies hire permanent workers while the business grows. But when the sales and profit dwindle, many of those workers begin to see job cuts. Good talented employees become lost to the company in the process.

Those same companies need to continue to increase business growth while still maintaining expensive overhead. That’s why it is a wise and safe reason to hire a consultant. These skilled experts have a wealth of knowledge and use it to get fast results on a temporary basis.

From: Tim Vaux

Article: Smithsonian Magazine, How the Invention of Scotch Tape Led to a Revolution in How Companies Managed Employees
Read: < 5 minutes
Click the button below or article title to read the article.

This month's suggested reading
Take Away: 3M's "15% Rule"

Through Drew, McKnight came to understand that letting researchers experiment freely could lead to innovation. 

“Encourage experimental doodling,” McKnight said.
“If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.”

To Article

Merry Christmas,

Happy Hanukkah,

& Happy New Year!

Wishing you a blessed December and a prosperous 2020!
Anthony, Tim, Ron, Jennifer, Eric, Paul, Nick, Phil, & Alan

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
Phil Pisciotta: Local and Wholesale Distribution Specialist
Ron Pelger: Retail Operations Specialist
Jennifer Lawson: Administration, Information Design
Paul Grothe: Foodservice Procurement Specialist
Nick Pasculli: PR & Marketing
Alan Podufaly: Operations; QC
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