18 Jul Convention 2023 Reflection: Ups and Downs of Vertical Integration
Ups and Downs of Vertical Integration – Convention 2023
On Thursday, June 22, Convention 2023 brought together a panel of bakers to share their perspectives on how to keep pace and continue growth. The discussion included the many ups and downs of vertical integration including consumer interaction, innovation, industry changes, e-commerce, private label, speed to market and equipment needs.
The Break Down
Consumer Interaction – Shoppers continue to be vocal and new products are necessary to keep consumers shopping online and in-store. Bringing new products to consumers requires a cross-functional approach that stretches from ideation to the shelf. This includes looking at capital equipment investments to support the desire for products that are innovative and cost-effective.
Constant Change – Innovation never rests and in a world of constant mergers and acquisitions, it requires a steady commitment to stay relevant. Suppliers are instrumental in providing the information needed to move the creation of new products forward through the acquisition of new equipment and the modification of existing equipment. Continuing supply chain issues also make it necessary to have the ability to transition from one type of packaging to another.
E-Commerce – The pandemic brought to light the importance of quality relationships. As mobile platforms grow, relationships continue to be very important to the supply chain. Consumers have more choices than ever and it’s important to remember the needs of the traditional in-store shopper as the e-commerce landscape expands and the design of the store continues to change and grow.
Private Label – Inflation woes remain top of mind for both consumers and bakers. Companies that won loyalty with private label products during the pandemic are finding that the bar continues to rise. LTOs remain a great way to stoke interest and curiosity regarding what will be next. But products must remain cost-effective and great collaboration is needed to maintain pace and successfully bring products to market
Speed to Market – Consumers are constantly asking “what’s next?” and bakers are looking to their vendors for assistance and support. The relationship with packaging is integral to finding new ways to work with existing equipment and/or ways to fit new equipment into an existing footprint. Bakers also need assistance in making the case for new equipment and help in supporting these technologies.
Equipment – Bakers are not and cannot be subject matter experts in equipment, but they are in search of a diversity of equipment that can go faster and fit into a smaller footprint. Strong relationships with engineers, field support and R&D are necessary to leverage service and create timely solutions. Because staff are limited and are responsible for multiple areas, they will continue to rely heavily on suppliers to get the information they need to make smart and timely decisions.
We’d like to thank all of our speakers, as well as our moderator, Audrey St. Onge. And a big thank you to our session sponsor, Rademaker.