In the U.S. food distribution industry, the key success criteria are operational efficiencies, consumer understanding to drive sales, breadth of product and speed-to-market. With that in mind, DPI Specialty Foods has made it its mission to deliver gourmet, specialty, natural/organic and ethnic products to clients throughout the United States as cost-efficiently as possible while making sure its customers are supported by a well trained salesforce.
“We’re in a better place by providing value-added services to the market through the commitments we have both in people and systems,” CEO John Jordan says.
DPI Specialty Foods supplies more than 55,000 SKUs comprised of perishable and non-perishable food items from five continents. The company brings national product scope and buying power to local, regional and national retailers and corporate outlets through a network of more than 43 million cubic feet of warehouse space in eight multi temperature facilities.
DPI Specialty Foods offers immediate product availability and pricing through advanced ordering and inventory systems that can be accessed remotely by the DPI teams and customers. Its product flow and quality are ensured by temperature-controlled trucking fleet, which logs more than 45,000 miles each day.
The company is headquartered in Ontario, Calif., and has regional warehouses and management offices throughout the country to facilitate its national distribution system. DPI is part of the worldwide holdings of the Irish Dairy Board Co-Op Ltd. based in Dublin, which gives it the resources of a European food company, as well.
A large portion of DPI Specialty Foods’ revenues stems from the deli service arena, so cheese plays a huge role in the company’s growth. An indication of the growing consumer trend in specialty cheese is the tremendous growth the American Cheese Society has experienced in the past 10 years. This, Jordan says, has been driven by a proliferation of specialty cheese production across the United States and backed by retailers and distributors.
Consumer Trends and IT Demands
Jordan says DPI Specialty Foods is focusing intensely on two areas to continue growing its U.S. operations: consumer demands and IT infrastructure. He admits that retailers are the company’s clients, but consumers shopping at retail locations ultimately drive the product choices made by retailers.
“The specialty foods consumer is extremely well educated with regard to their food purchases,” Jordan says. “Consumers want to know a lot more about the origin of the product, the ingredients that go into it and any specific product attributes. Distributors play a key role in providing support to the retailer to allow them to educate the consumer.”
With IT solutions, DPI Specialty Products works with partners on systems that will add value for retailers and vendors.
“Our vendors are looking to DPI to provide opportunities for sales growth, introduction of new items and joint planning sessions with retailers,” Jordan says. “Working with vendor partners allows us to invest new items and provide growth opportunities for both the vendor and retailer.”
DPI Specialty Foods uses IT to better monitor what its retailers need for their shelves, Jordan says. With that in mind, the company has developed systems where vendors can sign into a web portal to access sales information on their items. On the retail side, DPI Specialty Foods has integrated its own systems with its customers to eliminate the guessing for DPI and clients, as well.