NEW ORLEANS -- Food brokers are building specific business plans based heavily on technological tools to broaden the scope of their services.
ent $500,000 on average over the past five years, according to a survey conducted by the National Food Brokers Association, Reston, Va.
The report, presented here during the NFBA Technology Forum last month, was designed to determine the degree to which brokers were using technology to make their businesses grow. Among the 82 food brokers participating in the survey, 77% indicated they had a specific business plan for the use of technology.
Retail reporting systems are being used by more than three-quarters of respondents, who also indicated that electronic shelf management programs and syndicated data are essential tools for brokers looking to add value to their services. In addition, micro-marketing systems are being used by 54% of respondents.
Keeping current with hardware. Laptop and notebook computers are used by 87% of respondents; 97% use modems for transmitting and receiving data, and handheld terminals are used by 27%.
Integrated systems is viewed as important to brokers, 98% of whom use computers that incorporate several functions such as order management, commission reconciliation and promotion management.
Electronic data interchange is crucial. All broker respondents indicated they were capable of using EDI.
Syndicated data delivers. Ninety-three percent of brokers receive syndicated data in some form, with the majority of respondents accessing it via an on-line computer service.