Tracking Trends and Improving Performance
Information solution helps Pepsi distributor manage
Salient Corp., Horseheads,
N.Y., shared a success story from The Gillette Group, La Crosse, Wis., and
its implementation of the company’s
Margin Minder Series business intelligence solution. Ten years ago,
Gillette Group, a Pepsi-Cola distributor serving western Wisconsin,
southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, used lengthy paper reports for weekly
and monthly statements. As part of an overall information system upgrade,
the company sought a reporting system to reduce the amount of paper used.
Upon recommendations from other area Pepsi
manufacturers and bottlers, the company opted for Salient Corp.’s
Margin Minder Series. The software enabled the sales department to analyze
specific markets and products, including sales, revenues, cost of goods
sold and margin contribution. From those four categories, updated versions
of the software have given the company access to 380 fields of information.
In addition, Margin Minder works with Microsoft Office applications and
information can be saved into Excel spreadsheet documents.
Sales, product insights
With Margin Minder installed, Gillette Group gained a
better understanding of its top customers and products.
“For example we would notice, ‘Wow, look
how many Pepsi 20-ounce cases this customer sells,’ and were able to
capitalize on this information,” said Cal Erickson, director of
marketing, in a statement provided by Salient Corp.
The sales data allowed Gillette Group to easily see
trends as well as eliminate poorly performing products and increase
marketing on successful ones.
“Margin Minder was the right tool for us at the
right time,” Erickson said. “As consumer trends were changing,
smart companies began to offer waters, new flavored drinks, etc. We were
able to take advantage of these trends using Margin Minder to track and
manage a vast array of new products.”
Not only has the company’s information system
changed in 10 years, so has its beverage business. The company, which has
facilities in Decorah, Iowa, as well as Rochester and Makato, Minn., has
gone from 128 to 500 SKUs, with new drinks adding to its existing soft
drink portfolio. New to the mix are brands such as Dole, Lipton, Starbucks,
Gatorade, bottled waters and flavored waters. Margin Minder helped the
company manage the new SKUs.
“If we hadn’t had Margin Minder, we would
have needed a larger IT staff to write specialty reporting, and certainly
wouldn’t have been able to get information instantaneously,”
said Patti Gillette-Ostrom, IT director.
Due to the upgraded Enterprise version, the company
can now track the velocity of SKUs, such as 50 new additions Gillette Group
recently added. New products include Aquafina Flavor Splash, SoBe No Fear
and Mountain Dew’s Amp Energy Drink, all of which were tracked for
Upgrade adds capabilities
Most recently, the company started to use the upgraded
Enterprise version of Margin Minder software. The upgrade allows access to
data for all employees, which now includes the operations and accounting
departments. This not only is consistent, but also allows a view into
activities in other departments.
Margin Minder’s projection capability also
helped its finance department. At any time of the month, the department can
have a strong projection of the company’s revenues. This can factor
into customer development agreements and rebates with the overall
profitability of a customer.
“In mid-month, I can now find out how non-carb
drinks are doing and can see our profitability in 24 hours,”
explained Curt Root, controller. “Now that I’m getting this
same information two to three months in a row, I can spot trends and get an idea of how we’re doing sooner than waiting
for accounting to close books.”
One new aspect provided in the upgrade is product
delivery information. Margin Minder also tracks the company’s
vending business with access to information on security, theft, commission
and marketing. Accounts also can be tracked by selling responsibility,
which is helpful in growing local accounts.
Overall, Margin Minder has allowed The Gillette Group,
the 10th largest Pepsi-Cola distributor in the United States, to make good
“Margin Minder lets us know how and where
we’re generating revenues,” Erickson said. “There is a
lot of intuition that goes on in customer relations, but Margin Minder
quantifies it for us. And we get surprised from time to time with what
Margin Minder reveals. It reinforces the rightness of our
For more information on
Margin Minder’s Enterprise Editio
more business solutions, contact Salient Corp., 203 Colonial Drive,
Horseheads, N.Y. 14845; 607/739-4511; salient.com