business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB user Dale Tillotson had some ideas about the tomato crisis:

As the tomato situation worsens especially for those physically effected, it brought to mind a few thoughts.

Having been buying, and merchandising tomatoes for nearly 30 years I have developed a thought line thru the years called the tomato theory, that is now really starting to rear its ugly ripe head as the economy plummets.

My mentors thru the years told me about tomato shipments of hundreds of cases, where you built the display sold the product, made your profit then rebuilt the display.

All this with one variety of tomato that all bought and were happy.

As years have progressed we have moved forth with so many different varieties of tomatoes as well as most other items that we in fact as a nation have less idea today of where our food comes from than at any time in history, no matter how much money we invest into that research.

With that said, go into any grocery store, ask the clerk where the corn or green beans are from and most likely the answer will be Georgia. Why? the crate says Georgia crate company or something to that effect. Not where the product is from.

The more we invest in training the further we seem to get behind.

All in all what this means is what the hell do we need approximately 199,698 varieties of tomatoes for?

Because variety is what we got consumers hooked on. Not that this is a bad thing. But now we must deal with the consequences. And not that this is a bad thing. What is bad is when we deal with such situations with band-aids or through denial, as opposed to seriously considering the benefits of transparency.

MNB user Dan Brady wrote:

The technology to not only extend the shelf life of these tomatoes by several days, but more importantly KILL the bacteria economically exist – ozone spray treatment. Why do we continue to do the same old things and expect different results? Why do we continue to shut down an entire industry segment when the problem can be isolated through proper traceability?

It is time that industry takes a serious look at their internal food safety practices and responsibility!

On the subject of Supervalu’s outsourcing of certain financial functions, MNB user Tom Murphy wrote:

Over the years, Supervalu has publically and privately touted its strength in electronic vendor collaboration (e.g., vendor portals, EDI, etc.) that reduces cost and paperwork. Now, they are outsourcing much of this work to a third party. In fairness to Supervalu, compared to many other grocers who are wearing blinders, their systems and processes were okay relative to the rest of the industry. However, comparing their systems, processes and efficiency outside of the industry paints a different picture.

More grocers need to look at their backroom operations with an eye to learning how the best, not in the grocery industry, do it. Our industry is woefully underinvested in technology tools and enablers and in the disciplined processes and collaborative efforts to truly be efficient. Perhaps this is why our industry gets so excited when net profits approach 1.5 cents on the dollar!!

Another MNB user wrote:

I admire the way Jeff Noddle implements plans such as these.

His last paragraph, emphasis on last sentence, makes him a giant among company chiefs in my opinion.

“While we’re confident that this new partnership with the third-party service provider is the right thing to do for Supervalu, we understand that the decision to move forward with this initiative impacts our associates and as a result, it was not taken lightly. It is important to us that our associates are treated with dignity and respect throughout this process.”

Listen up all you chiefs reading this....a good lesson that will ultimately make your team stronger given thoughts like these from your leadership.

KC's View: