With the help of a very capable and experienced staff (Jim Sutton, Ken Midtgaard, and Doug Eikenbary), the association has experienced this continual sales growth, despite a consolidating industry. Additionally, the association continues to add new supplier partners to their list of over 70 discounted offerings. Purchasing services now 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
Member 2 Member Services AddedWith a vast membership across 45 states, All Star is encouraging its members to support each other. "Many of our members produce specialty products that could be distributed by our member dairies in other parts of the country," says Jeff Sterne. Additionally, many plants would like to increase productivity by co-packing certain products for other members. By supporting each other, the dairies make themselves more profitable using All Star as a vehicle to accomplish this. A catalog has been published and distributed to the membership to highlight these opportunities. All Star is now using this same concept to coordinate product sales and delivery to national customer accounts.
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 their third year of "underwriting" the cost of training to its members. The association identifies, through its monthly newsletter, upcoming training events. Under this innovative program, the member companies are able to choose specific program(s) that fit their training needs in a variety of disciplines.
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 presents a great learning and networking advantage. Additionally, All Star has begun "special team" meetings as a part of their annual meeting. By grouping members that are very similar (family owned milk plants, ice cream plants, supermarket owned, C-store owned, resin, etc.) All Star is able to address a wide range of opportunities for each.
Enhancements to the QA ProgramEach year, the number of companies participating in the All Star Quality Assurance Program continues to grow. In 2004 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. Their firm has the approval to satisfy many required third party audits as well as have authorization to give HACCP certification.
$5,000 Annual ScholarshipIn honor of its founder, John D. Utterback, the association is in its third 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 2004-2005 school year.
Without the help of a much larger buying entity, dairies find themselves at a distinct disadvantage when they buy supplies using only their own purchasing power and scope of information. "All Star is not only able to keep its members competitive in today's environment, but we are also able to provide services such as those listed to help our members stay profitable." says Jeff Sterne.
For more information, call All Star at 800/930-3644 or visit www.allstardairy.com.