RESTON, Va. -- With an eye on the growing trend toward outsourcing retail service to third parties, the National Food Brokers Association's Retail Merchandising Steering Committee has set its initial agenda.
The decision to create the group was made late last year after some months of discussion at NFBA here, and it has since held an initial meeting to outline its goals and objectives, said John Owens, president of Alpha One, Memphis, Tenn., who is committee chairman.
Owens, whose company is a division of the Sales Mark brokerage organization, said the committee plans to address three major areas at the outset.
"One, we will develop a retail merchandising survey to try to determine how big this industry is," he said. For the project, the group plans to survey NFBA broker members, both in the food and nonfood businesses.
Secondly, he said, "We're going to conduct a cost-of-doing-business-type merchandising survey." He added that NFBA has done extensive work on activity-based management, including the creation of models for food brokers.
"We will try to take the same approach to get a handle on what this costs in various parts of the country and in various parts of the store, to create an enabler to educate our principals as to what the costs truly are," Owens said.
Finally, he said, the committee will try to develop a more or less standardized retail merchandising contract. This may not be identical for every manufacturer or retailer, but the group has identified certain issues that must be addressed in every contract.
He said these include questions like, "When should we be paid? What constitutes completion of a project? Who is responsible for mailing costs? Who pays for liability insurance on employees?"
The balance of the steering committee members include Les Games, Resource Project Management division of Bromar Inc., Los Angeles; Ron Dresher, Think Retail, Irvine, Calif.; Gary Halls, Pinnacle Sales & Marketing, St. Louis; Bob Farland, ARMS division of Morris Alper, Boston; Bob Hudson, M&H Sales & Marketing, New York, and Walt Gallagher, Advantage Sales & Marketing, Irvine, Calif.