Salient’s Margin Minder has helped us become much smarter manufacturers.
Golden Flake Snack Foods, Inc., based in Birmingham, Alabama, ranks among the largest snack food companies in the United States. The company has a 12-state service area with 1,000 employees spread throughout that area.
Golden Flake has more than 170 distinct SKUs. Managers at Golden Flake were faced with the cumbersome process of leveraging meaningful information to help them run the business and stay in tune with the constantly changing marketplace.
To harness the power of the transactional data available to the company, the snack food giant invested in Margin Minder by Salient Management Company. Margin Minder is designed to give businesses clarity among the data they retrieve, enabling leaders to assess and better understand how to improve performance at all levels.
“We always had that information somewhere, but we had no convenient way to retrieve it. With that many SKUs, we had to look at too many reports to get the data. We no longer select reports by the seat of our pants. In a single view, we now get exactly the information we ask for and that our customers need,” said Randy Bates, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Golden Flake.
Golden Flake’s customers often ask for individual unit movement data by specific account. Margin Minder gives the company’s field sales managers the capability to furnish customers with that detail weekly, as opposed to monthly, and in the format they need. “Some chains deal in units and some in gross revenues,” Bates added. “We now have the capability to give them sales information in any format they request. We just plug in the data parameters and the report is produced instantaneously.”
Field sales managers at Golden Flake also rely on Margin Minder to reveal the success of new product roll-outs. They use the system to determine the exact penetration level of the new item sold by route, chain or individual store. “We can tell how fast our route sales force is getting a new product into the market. We can also tell where the product is and in what quantities,” Bates said.
The business transparency that Margin Minder enables has been especially helpful. Bates and his sales team can identify problems quickly and have the time and knowledge needed to turn those problems into opportunities. “Now we are able to focus on specific parts of the business, whereas before we used a shotgun approach to the new product roll-outs,” he said.
In addition to helping sales teams with new product opportunities, Margin Minder allows executives at Golden Flake to track sales and measure the effectiveness of promotional activities to improve store planning and manufacturing efficiency. “We focus on our high opportunity/low sales areas and try to identify why we’re not hitting our potential. It could be a sales rep issue, low inventory levels, wrong pricing or lack of displays,” says Jim Ward, Golden Flake’s Managing Director.
“We can look at a detailed history of products or groups of products that were on promotion at the same time last year and, with extreme accuracy, project the production run needed,” said Randy Bates. “Margin Minder has helped us become much smarter manufacturers.”
Golden Flake extended its Margin Minder capabilities to include the ability to look at sales by time of day (e.g. – between 2 and 4 PM). Route efficiency management was also added to look at the average revenue, volume and margin per delivery and per ticket. Returns management was expanded upon to include stales, damaged, buy-back volume and cost tracking. Golden Flake now also uses Margin Minder to set goals and measure progress toward meeting those goals.
Margin Minder has enabled Golden Flake to improve profitability at all levels – from manufacturing right down to the individual sale. A Margin Minder user since 1995, Golden Flake understands the power of the solution and is focused on how it can be utilized in even more aspects of the business.