All too often we get stuck in a rut. How frequently have you heard someone say “that’s the way we have always done it?” Opening your mind up to innovation can help change your operation in many ways. If you stay stagnant you are really moving backwards. Spend some time giving some thought as to how you can be innovative. Areas you might be innovative in include; plant appearance, updated packaging, new products, new marketing techniques and employee policies and practices.
Perhaps there are things you can do to freshen up the outside of your plant. Maybe your retail store needs an updated, modern look. It can be as simple as fresh paint and/or new posters or pictures on the walls. Your retail store should have an inviting appearance that is fresh and modern. If you cannot do everything you want or need at the same time, set up a schedule and do it in stages.
Take a hard look at your labels and packaging. Do they say “buy me – I am good” or are they rather blah, giving just the product name and ingredient statement? Don’t forget the old adage, “you have to please the eyes first.” Think of the effort restaurants go thru to enhance the presentation of a meal. In many cases you start to decide whether or not you like an entrée based on its presentation. The same is true of your packaged meat products. An attractive package creates a positive image for your product before the package is even opened. In reality it may influence a first-time buyer in deciding whether or not they purchase your product.
The introduction of new products is a key to success. It gives things to talk about and new items for your customers to try. However, you cannot expand your product line to an unlimited number of items. When you add new items consider discontinuing some of your low-volume or low-profit products. If your product list is getting too large, consider offering some products for a limited time. You might offer some products only for certain holidays or different seasons of the year.
Marketing is critical to the success of your operation. I know of many markets where excellent products do not enjoy the success they should; the reason – poor marketing. Consider periodically sampling products in your retail area. Think of innovative ways you can use to market your products such as targeted emails or mailings. You might also consider totally new ways of marketing your products such as partnering with fund raising groups.
Employee Policies and Procedures.
Employees are one of the most valuable assets you have. There may be some things you can do to increase job satisfaction that are not overly expensive. Most employees are proud of where they work and enjoy wearing apparel with a company name on it. Often you can achieve job enrichment through job rotation. Most people enjoy doing different things rather than the same thing all the time. A benefit to you of job rotation is that you end up with a better trained work force. Do something extra for your employees. Maybe one day a week you can furnish them a meal or one week a month furnish drinks and snacks for their breaks. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.
Make 2015 a year of innovation. It is sure to reward you with many successes. Remember: the only constant in life is change.
The April 2019 issue of The National Provisioner features our 2018 Sourcebook. Other features include automated slicing machines, the role of education and training in sanitizing meat and poultry plants, and much more.