CONDIMENTS DEMAND FLEXIBILITY – #88

My Father in Law’s profession was to be the “best” butcher in the business.  To the benefit of our entire family we constantly had the best choice of meats, but around this time of the year, we all looked forward to the “two” 20lb+ turkeys that would be selected by “Gramps” for the holidays.  We would start with keeping them fresh on the back-porch, getting the turkey ready for cooking, and using the parts of the turkey for gravy and stuffing, plus preparing other meals such as mashed potatoes, numerous vegetables, choice of pies -between pumpkin and cranberry.

“Gramps”, as the official cook, basted the turkey through the 6+ hours of cooking to keep the turkey moist throughout and to assure that proper heat was reaching all critical parts. I would never see the 100’s of condiments that were used for the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey dinners. “Gramps was primarily a Salt and Pepper man” most of the year. He simply never used condiments that provided flavor to the many excellent foods that were being prepared and introduced to Americans throughout every walk of life. In all fairness to him he has been gone since the turn of the century, and the expansion of condiment shelf space has taken over many other foods primarily during the last decade.

MANAGEMENT LESSON:

To constantly be observant of the changes taking place in your industry as well as allied or even non-related Industries.  Just look at the expansion of food products in the last decade with whole aisles dedicated to various ethnic food growth.  The question you should be asking how will on-going changes affect your markets, employees, customers, your business ,and most importantly you.

I point out condiments, because having worked for Stange in Chicago (which was sold to McCormick Spices), I had my first experience in change – #3 Red color was removed from Hot Dogs. Long before we got the legislators to make the color change the law – we had evaluated the hot dog industry in detail and knew the impact of revenue loss on our Company.  I was just a recent College graduate with a marketing degree who learned a very valuable lesson – that unless you anticipate change – the chances for a negative impact are great, LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT MY DATA CONTRIBUTED TO THE EVENTUAL SALE OF STANGE TO MCCORMICK SPICES.

No matter how I managed the numbers, #3 RED seemed to show that it was the largest contributor to revenue and profitability.  Now I know, that the urge to come-up with new condiments and other product uses with current products was late and directly aimed at replacing revenue and profitability which could not be accomplished in the time we had left – the sale of the company took place a few years after I resigned and joined Xerox Corporation.

GOING INTO THE NEW YRAR, WE WILL DEFINITELY FOCUS ON CHANGE & TRENDS WHICH SEEMS TO BE MOVING AT A MUCH FASTER RATE THEN EVER BEFORE. HAVE YOU IDENTIFIED THAT IT “STARTS AND ENDS WITH MANAGEMENT” AND YOU AS A MANAGER NEED AN AWESOME ACCOUNTABILITY TO ALL THE FOLKS WHO ARE DEPENDENT ON YOU.

I THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCDE MY FATHER-IN-LAW (WHO PASSED TWO DECADES AGO). IT WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW FAMILY TRADITIONS AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.