Facing Industry Challenges
September 1, 2006
Facing Industry Challenges
Pamela Accetta Smith
Whether it’s milk for your child’s breakfast, yogurt to help trim your waistline or ice cream to satisfy a sweet craving, dairy products are a staple of the American family, so says Prescient, a leading provider of supply chain and advanced commerce solutions for retailers and suppliers.
Now this company is forming the first-ever Dairy Supply Chain Practice Group to focus on our industry’s unique manufacturing and distribution challenges. “After consulting with our clients in the dairy industry on a day-to-day basis, we realized they face a very specific set of demands. Issues such as short shelf-life, quick turns, changing consumer preferences, regional preferences, seasonality and product safety really set them apart,” says Karen Sickles, Prescient’s director of sales operations and product management. “Prescient decided to unite this group to help dairy suppliers find innovative ways to overcome those challenges without sacrificing quality and safety.”
The group, which will be headed by Sickles (another leading lady in contributing to the world of dairy; hmm .... seems to be the running theme here — I love it!), will provide our industry suppliers with a new forum to share best practices and exchange ideas. It will also focus on several distribution issues substantially impacting the dairy industry today, most specifically the use of scan sales data for lowering out-of-stocks, demand-replenishing planning, reducing shrink, managing inventory, maintaining high service levels and scan-based trading.
“We are excited to be a part of this timely industry group,” says Scott Gift, regional sales coordinator for Ohio’s Smith Dairy. “Dairy is a category that sets the traffic pattern at most grocers. In fact, milk has become a staple of the American family. When consumers go to the store they expect to find it on the shelf. This practice group is going to help us use the most innovative practices to keep the shelves stocked and our customers happy.” According to Prescient, milk and dairy products are at the top of consumers’ grocery lists. Earlier this year, the company commissioned a survey of Beeline Products TM — items consumers rush to replenish the moment they run out. Milk was No. 1 (winning by a more than 100 percent margin). “Our Beeline Products survey reiterated how important the dairy industry is to consumers,” says Sickles. “Now we have a group of thought leaders who are in a position to really make a difference in the industry and blaze a new trail of innovation, quality and safety.”
Each year, the company says, the Prescient Dairy Practice Group will hold a member meeting at its Annual Client Exchange (PACE) in Philadelphia. The conference will also feature a dedicated dairy track. In addition to the members-only meeting, quarterly conference calls will be held throughout the year.
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