Steve Cockram, General Manager
The project shifted our thinking from being opportunistic to being strategic. The analysis process gave us a framework for making operations and sales decisions with greater confidence in order to sustain our business for another 88 years.
In 1929, grape growers along the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, located in Chautauqua County, formed a cooperative called Growers’ Co-op, Inc. to crush their crop and sell the juice in order to pay for their growing costs and generate income. Over the years, the cooperative expanded its number of grower members, increased its operational capacity and capability for pressing grapes, and enhanced its ability to pasteurize, concentrate, store and sell juice.
Recent U.S. consumer trends to reduce sugar in diets have slowed demand for grape juice as a flavoring, coloring and sweetener in juices, jams and other foods. This has also created pressure on prices, thereby reducing the return on investment that covers the farmers’ growing costs. However, they felt that they had not yet defined a clear path for their long-term future. The Co-op’s board of directors and management, therefore, decided that they might benefit from an outsider’s perspective, and they contacted Insyte Consulting.
The approach used by the consultant and company team was to divide the customers and potential markets into very granular market categories to examine each category for long-term trends, profitability, competition and market size, and then to prioritize those market categories for long-term profitable growth. Next, an ideal future state of product mix was defined for full utilization of the Co-op’s production facility. That production future state was then overlaid onto the prioritized market opportunities and used to define an ideal mix of customers and products for long-term sustainability of the business. This resulted in greater returns for the members of the Growers’ Co-op. A plan to achieve that ideal mix of customers and products was then devised and approved by the board of directors.
Increased sales by over 32% in targeted markets.
New website launched to reflect strategy.
Highly targeted outreach program is showing positive results.