Progressive grocery retailers require well-trained fresh produce managers capable of executing logical and compelling merchandising, which translates to profits. Unfortunately, many companies are limited by management skill sets or informational gaps within the organization, which prevent good business decisions.
Retailers lacking excellent produce managers or successful professional development programs may discover three helpful secrets in the “Classical” Greek & Roman Medieval educational method, the Trivium. Trivium means “three ways,” referring to its three components, grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The Trivium is an onion-like layered learning philosophy designed for results.
Grocery owners and directors will significantly benefit from more “classically” trained store, perishable, produce managers and clerks. Here’s how:
- Grammar: Before all else, Medieval students learned the unique “languages” and data sets necessary to communicate in an area of study. Fresh produce language includes abbreviations like DSD (Direct Store Delivery) or PLU (Produce Look-Up). We must comprehend terms like “Please cull the wet rack,” and “Break down this skid in dry dock bays.” Facts like 26 pallets fit on fifty-three foot trailers or sweet pineapples are 13.5 brix minimum are required. The most important retail facts include sales, shrink, and inventory reports. As one ascends the corporate ladder, the depth of facts and language required increases respectively. For instance, produce clerks must identify a mango, yet rarely understand gross profit calculations.
- Logic: Second, logic is the ability to reason correctly and also detect poor reasoning. Logic is based upon learned facts. A little more logic will benefit the fresh produce business a lot. Illogical business decisions limit sales, yet happen daily. For instance, red peppers may sell ten to one against yellow peppers, yet managers allocate shelf space evenly. Shrink accumulates when data indicates we sell 10 broccoli crown cases on Thursdays yet order 12 anyway. Or even more obvious, logic tells us to order more cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Sound logic translates sales, shrink, or inventory reports into actionable display and merchandising solutions to solve challenges and leverage-selling opportunities.
- Rhetoric: Finally, after years of facts and logic training medieval students began building rhetoric skills. Rhetoric is the ability to translate information and logical ideas into good use. Rhetoric in retail means translating facts and reason into strong merchandising and sales opportunities. Rhetoric converts weekly ad item lists, past experience, facts & sales reports, shrink knowledge, and innovation into a successful weekly display strategy with relevant messages to customers. Combining all learning stages managers can now order the right produce in appropriate quantities to execute well-designed massive displays built for shrink management with compelling custom signage. Logically, they’ll schedule a demo and shout the “Locally Grown Message” to customers. This display will be in the right place at the right time with proper lighting and strong merchandising techniques!