Manager of the month

The Nestl eacute; Rowntree Manager of the Month for February is awarded to Craig O’Connor, managing director of Dee Bee Cash Carry.

A member of the Today’s Group, Dee Bee is based in Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire, and has been operating for 45 years. O’Connor has been recognised as manager of the month for February for his proactive and collaborative approach to working with suppliers to increase confectionery sales. The team at Dee Bee works particularly closely with Nestl eacute; Rowntree sales development executive David Wright to achieve this.

O’Connor recognises the importance of understanding the major influencing factors in the confectionery market, and is keen to share knowledge between Nestl eacute; Rowntree and Dee Bee. This includes understanding how the overall market and big brands are performing, what the major long-term consumer trends are for confectionery and which activities are coming up that will generate incremental sales and profits.

One of the biggest consumer trends impacting on confectionery is that of ‘permissibility’. Consumers are increasingly looking for more permissible treats and brands such as Rowntree’s, which moved to no artificial colours and flavours in 2005 and now uses 25% fruit juice.

The latest launch from KitKat, KitKat Senses, is a major new product from one of the UK’s biggest brands, and it’s important that the team at Dee Bee reflect the scale of this launch with their own customers. To do this, O’Connor was keen for Wright to present the activity face-to-face to the sales team, enabling them to ask any questions directly and also taste the product for themselves.

On the back of this they have taken 80 KitKat Senses hoodboxes, a display solution ideal for their customers. Plus they have created a communications plan to their customers to drive home the message to get stocked up right from the day of launch, and stay stocked up during the heavyweight pound;9m media spend for KitKat Senses.

O’Connor and his team’s proactive approach, their understanding of the confectionery market and desire to provide an excellent service for his customers resulted in them growing their total confectionery category in 2007 and Nestl eacute; Rowntree sales grew a fantastic 33%.

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