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Ventura Foods Rolls Out Blacksmith TPO Solution


Ventura Foods, a leading manufacturer of branded and custom oils, dressings, sauces has used trade promotion management and optimization software to  efficiently analyze their spend and adjust future trade promotion investments with their retail trading partners. Ventura Foods has been using Blacksmith’s TPM application for its foodservice business and TPO application for its retail business for the last few years. This year, Ventura is looking to grow its efficiencies, and will add its Export, Deli, and Ingredient channels of business into Blacksmith’s application.

With foodservice TPM and retail TPO software, Ventura can manage every contract and track results. Plus, it’s simple to consolidate data — syndicated point of sales history, shipment, pricing, cost of goods, trade promotion spending — into one customer promotion and planning intelligence center.


Foodservice Figured Out

Jim Stolle, Director of Trade/Pricing Administration explains, “What once took days or weeks to gather information from multiple systems we now have available within the Blacksmith TPM Analytics tool. It helps us make better business decisions in a timelier manner.” Stolle oversees trade promotion management and has a great support team that manages the day-to-day requirements of the application.      

For Ventura’s foodservice team, the greatest TPM benefit is simple:

having all information in one place and available to anyone in the organization that needs it

It’s no longer necessary to reach out to multiple people to get a simple piece of data. In fact, Ventura has more than 100 users, and can still proactively track the deals with nearly 3,000 operators. Stolle adds, “Housing the information in one spot allows sales to make better business decisions with their customers in a timelier manner.”

Stolle, who has been with Ventura Foods for 14 years, says that the application helps the sales team make better decisions on what items to promote, specifically when it comes to food shows and special events. With TPM data, the salesforce can quickly see where they’re gaining penetration and think about how to sustain growth after an event. 

Still, challenges exist in the industry.Our biggest challenge are mergers and consolidations of distributors and operators.” The trade tools that Ventura use “have allowed us to quickly review and understand our business with each of these customers and helped us develop a better go-to- market strategy.” 


Right for Retail

Prior to using TPO, Ventura made business decisions based on cases moved. Without serious manual analysis, they had no visibility into ROI, competition or execution. That’s no longer the case.

Sarika Sadarangani, Senior Business Development Manager, leads the team that covers all pricing and trade aspects for Ventura’s retail branded business. She explains that today Ventura is “always reviewing and analyzing our trade plans and performance. We have been known to change our trade strategies and plans mid-year.”

“We’re excited to see Ventura Foods achieve its strategic objective of optimizing trade promotion investments. With optimization automation, Ventura will grow revenue and profit. TPO eliminates manual planning and analysis. It works hand in hand with their sales organization to help drive record results,” states Wayne Spencer, Blacksmith Applications retail trade expert.

For example, Sadarangani says they’ve altered the trade strategy across its two main retail brands after the revenue management team and salesforce joined forces to review and eliminate low performing promotions. Together, they came up with optimal trade plans and shared the information with the retailers. According to Sadarangani, this collaboration is Ventura’s greatest strength. “It’s never easy to have to change strategies, but our teams worked closely together to pivot how we were going to market. By optimizing our trade strategy, we were able to reduce our spend, grow our profit, and experience minimal volume declines.”

Using Blacksmith’s promotion optimization application supports Ventura’s quest to get the most impact from each dollar spent. Tools like the master calendar and the what-if event scenario report “help us be stronger business managers and partners,” Sadarangani adds.

Sadarangani says that the Master Calendar provides an, “easy-to-view snapshot of past promotions.” With the TPO’s master calendar, Ventura can not only see what worked or didn’t work, but also the causes behind it. Did they get the price point they paid for? Was a competitor on promotion at the same time as us or before us? Has the baseline been steadily declining (thus identifying a larger problem)?  Ventura’s sales team views the what-if event scenario report for its first round of validations prior to asking for an incremental promotion. 

“We are living in an information age where we get bombarded daily with so many things. Having a centralized location for all our information is beneficial. In addition, it’s very easy to get into analysis paralysis. By having a tool to take the heavy lifting off one’s desk, we can spend more time driving the business forward,” Sadarangani says.