News & Events
Virtual Business Interview – International Business Experience
- November 18, 2020
- Posted by: Aradhana Pandey
- Category: Education
For the virtual business interview I spoke to Kori Holmes, a business professional in the American food business, who is the Director of Sales and Operations for the Meat and Snack Division for Bridgford Foods. Bridgford Foods is a part of the food distributor sector that distributes meats as well as a dough sector of the company. What the job of a Director of Sales and Operations entails for Holmes is to oversee the daily operations of a distribution and sales region to increase productivity and profitability of the accounts they hold within the supermarkets they work with. Kori Holmes holds the position of taking care of the accounts within the west coast region, which includes the entire area of the state of Kansas to California.
When asked what the greatest obstacles the business faces on a day to day basis, Holmes stated that within her job, it would be the distribution of their products and making sure that the goods get to her accounts on time and when they were promised. Another topic that was brought up was the word “no” when it comes to sales. When trying to sell their products to their accounts, it is hard for the sales representatives to get used to hearing the word “no” from their accounts and not wanting to have the Bridgford Foods products in their stores and trying to overcome this obstacle and push their products in a way that their sales accounts want their products in their stores.
Some laws that affect the business are transportation laws that affect their everyday operations and following these to a T in order to get their products distributed to their sales accounts on time. Along with the transportation laws, Bridgford has to pay close attention to the trucking laws when moving their products from one distribution center to the next and then to the final destination of a supermarket. Other laws the company has to abide by are the USDA laws that regulate America’s agricultural exports and ensure that they are protected from unjustified trade restrictions. The USDA laws affect the ways that the products are stored and how the storage warehouses are overseen and make sure that they are functioning properly.
Kori Holmes works within the meat and snacks division compared to the bread division that does marketing of their products differently. For the meat and snacks division, marketing is kept simple with tactics such as wrapped vehicles that draws consumer’s attention when driving on the road and obtains the everyday exposure from consumers that gains familiarity in their mind. The meat and snack division utilizes marketing strategies such as being present at tradeshows with their products and sponsoring Professional Bass Angler teams that represent their products that fall within the meat and snack division. Compared to the meat and snack division of the company, the bread division utilizes much more marketing that is on the internet by sharing things on social media such as videos with recipes that use their products.
When it comes to labor issues, Holmes states that with her employees that she oversees in the sales sector of the company there is not much turnover within the job and the employees stay within the company for an extended time because “it is important to make your employees happy, as well as your consumers.” One issue that she sees within the sales side of the business and the employees she oversees is how to correctly motivate the sales representatives when told “no” by their sales accounts and keep going after being shut down by supermarkets who say they do not want to hold their products.
Some political issues that have affected the way Bridgford Foods does business, in particular the meat and snack division, is the fact that many Americans do not always agree on how animals should be treated and the environmental impact of cattle farming. Bridgford food only buys cattle from farms in The United States and there is no outsourcing for beef from any international farms. Due to the fact that the company does not outsource their cattle from other countries besides The United States, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, the four companies that the cattle are purchased from were affected. As a result, Bridgford Foods was given lower amounts of beef products on a weekly basis compared to before the virus and every week the amount of products received was decreasing significantly. On the other hand, Bridgford Foods has the largest pepperoni drying room in the world, which made up for the loss in beef products. The large supply of pepperoni products made it possible for Bridgford Foods to supply their sales accounts with pork products to make up for the lack of beef products due to the pandemic slowing the cattle farm’s supply.
The current economy has built business up tremendously within Bridgford Foods, specifically in the region that Holmes manages. The region that consists of Kansas-West has seen an increase in sales of 20% from this year alone due to accounts gained because of the large supply of pepperoni that Bridgford Foods was able to provide compared to their competitors. This growth also has to do with the growth of the region, by hiring more employees and increasing the number of sales accounts in the West the company is growing by developing their sales division effectively.
COVID-19 has affected many businesses in many different ways and many companies have seen a complete halt in their everyday procedures, but this is not the case for Bridgford Foods. The food distributor businesses were considered an essential business from the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and remained working through all the chaos to make sure food was being provided to Americans throughout the crisis. Holmes and her team were still travelling and distributing their products to stores everyday, but abided by the new precautions of social distancing and cleanliness in order to keep the country safe during the pandemic. At the beginning of the virus, Bridgford Foods saw an increase in sales for their products due to the fact that consumers wanted more non-perishable foods, and that is just what the company produces. The company could not keep up with the demand for non-perishable beef products due to the issues that occurred with the cattle farm’s where they got their cattle products from, but their pepperoni division alone saw an increase of sales of 87% since March 2020 because of the demand for non-perishable goods from consumers in the United States.
Darby is an International Business major with an emphasis in Spanish and Western Europe.