As a member-owned corporation led by Executive Director Jeff Sterne, the All Star Dairy Association continues to grow and prosper. While closing in on a total membership of nearly 200 individual companies representing over 260 plants, All Star continues to add an average of 20 new members per year.
With the help of a very capable and experienced staff (Jim Sutton, Ken Midtgaard, and Doug Eikenbary), the association has experienced continual sales growth, despite a consolidating industry. Additionally, the association has recently "updated" its logo, moved the headquarters office to a new location, and added several new suppliers to its list of over 70 discounted offerings. Purchasing services cover the following categories:
- Packaging (resin, caps, cartons, bottles, labels, bulk cans, etc.)
- Ingredients (flavorings, juices, sweeteners, nuts, confections, powders, vitamins, drink bases, fruits, etc.)
- Cleaning / Sanitizing / Water Treatment / Lubricants
- Coolers / Freezers / Dispensers, Lab Supplies / Uniforms
- Plastic Cases / Ink Jet Coders
- Tires / Trucks / Fuel
New Supplier DiscountsAs a result of a new relationship with CPG Pepsi (the buying association for independent Pepsi bottlers), All Star has offered discounted prices to its members for major suppliers of Fructose (3 national brands), Tires (6 national brands), Diesel and Gasoline Fuel (3 national brands), and Trucks (5 national brands). The savings have been huge for its members on these frequently purchased items.
A New Training DirectionAll Star feels that well trained employees make their members stronger. Stronger members thus make the association stronger. Because of this feeling, All Star is entering its second year of "underwriting" the cost of training to its members. The association identifies, through its monthly newsletter, upcoming events sponsored by IDFA, Tharp & Young, Randolph Associates, Penn State University, IBWA, In-plant Trainers, and others. Under this innovative program, the member companies are able to choose specific program(s) that fit their training needs in a variety of disciplines.
Additionally, All Star considers its annual convention to be a major training opportunity in itself. Over a dozen speakers covering up-to-date information about a variety of subjects directed specifically toward the industry present a great learning and networking advantage.
Enhancements to the QA ProgramEach year, the number of companies participating in the All Star Quality Assurance Program continues to grow. In 2003 the program coordinator, Randolph Associates, will continue to perform the plant audits, micro and chemical testing, and sensory evaluations. All Star has found that the extensive expertise, talent, and experience that the Randolph people bring to the program is partially the reason for its growth and success. They not only give you an "unbiased" opinion on all phases of the program, but they also suggest ways that the members can correct their problems or make their operations more efficient. Their firm has the approval to satisfy many required third party audits as well as have authorization to give HACCP certification.
The association has made available (to program participants) its trademarked Medallion Quality symbol, which will allow qualifying participants to tell their quality story to the customer and consumers. Amanda Thompson, honor graduate of Mississippi State University, runs the entire QA program.
$5,000 Annual ScholarshipIn honor of its founder, John D. Utterback, the association is in its second year of an annual $5,000 college scholarship fund, which will be awarded to member company employees or their dependants. A panel of academia recommends to the All Star board of directors a list of eligible candidates who are working towards a food science/dairy degree. The winner(s) will receive their award for the upcoming 2003-2004 school year.
"In today's competitive environment and the influence of consolidation (both in the dairy and supply segments), we find that many of our members and prospects throughout the country are searching for a way to stay profitable. An association such as All Star helps them accomplish this due to its significant volume and leverage with the suppliers" says Sterne.