At last week's Food Marketing Institute's Midwinter Executive Conference in Boca Raton, Fla., a useful observation was made about outcomes being produced by Efficient Consumer Response activities. The commentary came from Robert E. Bartels, who told a conference audience that maybe ECR has ended up being a "weaker variant" of what it should have been. With that, he dubbed the initiative "Efficient Cost Reduction." Bob is president of Martin's Super Markets, South Bend, Ind., and FMI ...

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