Center of Plate Procurement Specialist (COPPS)

There’s more to ordering boxed beef than simply picking up the phone and calling a packing plant. Market conditions and price variations all play a role in influencing what restaurants, wholesalers and supermarkets put on their plates and shelves. Understanding market reports and being able to secure the most competitive price can be an extremely time-consuming process, especially for buyers who need to purchase hundreds of items for their businesses, including perishables and other commodities.

Mechanicsville, Va.-based boxed beef buying group Center of Plate Procurement Specialist (COPPS) makes the process of buying meat and other proteins easy for its customers.

“There are several critical factors when deciding the appropriate time and amounts of boxed beef to purchase,” President John Fisher says. “Our ability to decipher daily market reports, along with our off-structure corporate pricing, will ensure that customers are buying at the most competitive pricing, and buying decisions are based on the most current information.

“Our ability to advise and help our customers can be attributed to 40 years of experience in various segments of the meat industry, including both retail and foodservice,” Fisher adds.

A One-Stop Shop
The company serves retailers and others in the western and eastern United States, and plans to increase its coverage in the Midwest and west-central portions of the country. Customers place their orders directly with COPPS, which confirms quantity, pricing and shipping information with each customer and places orders with the packer. COPPS combines customers’ volume for maximum savings, it says.

Most of COPPS’ meatpackers give the company access to their order mainframe, allowing it to track the status on all of its orders electronically. The company also maintains an internal software system that helps it capture, report and take advantage of customer rebate programs.

Customers receive orders directly from the packing plant within one week. Packers invoice COPPS directly, and COPPS in turn invoices the customer. The company prides itself on having a 98.9 percent customer fill rate.

“A lot of what I do is follow up with the meatpackers and provide customer service,” Fisher adds. “We’re not a big company, but we are looking to grow and hope to continue to pace down the road for our customers.”

COPPS works with major brands including National Beef, Cargill Meat Solutions, Tyson, Creekstone Farms, Hereford Beef, Greater Omaha and Meyer Natural Angus.

In addition to placing orders and invoicing, COPPS’s advisors compile and provide daily market reports to customers. These reports include buying recommendations, supply and demand information, and market history charts.

“We not only pride ourselves on product knowledge and competitive pricing, but also on the personal level of service our customers expect and receive before and after the sale,” Fisher says.

COPPS’s ability to serve as a one-stop shop for its customers when it comes to ordering, price negotiation and providing market information helps its clients focus on other tasks.

“I have customers who are buyers who are now, because of us, able to make visits to individual restaurants or call on new customers because they’re not tied to the desk every day,” he adds. “I feel our program creates efficiencies for our customers in terms of cost savings and the reduction of the paperwork involved in ordering.”