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Food, Wine and Beverage Industry Services

Ironwood ~ Transition Management

Ironwood Advisory is a transition management consulting firm that advises stakeholders and managements on issues of operations, finance, marketing, sales and strategy in a number of specific industries including the food, wine and beverage industries. We also have the capability through interim management to implement everything from recommended changes including efficiency and quality measures all the way to entire plant restructurings.

Food and Beverage Industry Situation

Food and Beverage processors face numerous challenges in their day-to-day operations in today's marketplace. These challenges often present themselves in the form of rapidly changing raw material prices, USDA restrictions & difficulties, health & contamination issues, distribution & volume deficiencies, lack of product diversification and operational inefficiencies. Often these challenges are imposed from outside the operation by third parties, such as employee strikes at the retail level, increased slotting charges and competition for shelf space.

Ironwood Advisory has a group of Senior Consultants devoted to the Food & Beverage Industry. These professionals have hands on experience with challenges that are facing Food and Beverage companies today. They have been in the trenches and have experienced the challenges you may now face.

Summary of Services

Ironwood provides turnaround, workout, crisis management and general management services for businesses in difficulty or experiencing flat-line performance. Ironwood has assembled a team to specifically service Food and Beverage companies experiencing difficulty.

To this task Ironwood brings experienced business executives and recognized food and beverage industry experts and operators.

Most basic business concerns are common across a spectrum of industries in which Ironwood professionals have deep experience. For those elements unique to the food and beverage industry, Ironwood has assembled a cadre with deep experience in:

The Ironwood Advisory Food & Beverage Team offers specialized assistance in seven major categories of services for food processing companies such as yours. These services include:

Distribution Enhancement

In the Ironwood Advisory Distribution Enhancement Program you will receive a comprehensive review of the Company's current distribution channels and a determination, made with management, of the best distribution channels to be used. With Ironwood Advisory's affiliations, we can assist management in developing or enhancing direct sales teams or selecting the food broker or brokers best equipped to increase sales volumes in the retail, food service or governmental customer base.

Diversification of Products and Customers

Often, a Company suffers from the lack of too few products or volume concentrated in a small number of customers. This concentration can pose extreme business risk to the Company's operations if product defects occur or a major customer is lost.

Ironwood Advisory offers expert help in reviewing a Company's current product offerings and the customer base distribution. These reviews result in the preparation of an extensive action program or programs to assist the Company in the development or offering of new products and the expansion of the Company's customer base.

Operational Efficiency Improvements

Your volume may be sufficient, your customer base may be diversified but you are not realizing the margins you should be making. If this defines your circumstances, Ironwood Advisory consultants can help. Our Operational Review package will highlight the areas where operational improvements can be realized and action plans developed to implement these improvements in a timely and efficient manner.

Cash Flow Improvements and Funding

A healthy cash flow is always welcome. Many companies suffer from inadequate cash flow. This limits growth, creates operational inefficiencies and increases the cost of borrowing.

Ironwood Advisory can help. Our Cash Flow Improvement Program offers insights as to how a Company's cash flow can be improved by using proven techniques to maximize asset utilization in Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable, by increasing control of procurement processes and by implementing cost control measures that will improve cash flow.

If additional funding is needed, Ironwood Advisory has experts in this area who maintain broad associations with leading lending institutions for debt or equity funding.

Strategic Planning & Operational Forecasting

If a Company hasn't planned where it is going, how does it know when it gets there? Strategic Planning and Operational Forecasting is essential for a company if it is to grow and meet planned goals and objectives.

Ironwood Advisory has experts in this field. Programs and financial models have been developed to assist Companies such as yours to develop, measure and modify Strategic and Operational Forecasting plans specifically designed to meet your company's needs. These models highlight and monitor the specific company and/or industry drivers that must be maximized if the company is to reach its ultimate goals in growth and profitability.

Expansion or Relocation of Operations

Many challenges of well-run companies arrive as the result of success itself. Due to growth and profitability a company may find itself in a position that requires expansion or relocation of its facilities.

Ironwood Advisory consultants often act in the role of project coordinator. We have successfully assisted management in companies such as yours to expand or relocate operations and maintain smooth operations throughout the transition period -- plus control costs! This assistance provide the opportunity for management to concentrate on further development of growth and profitability.

General Management Support

On occasion, a company may find itself dealing with voids in management structure due to illness, sudden employee relocation or employee termination. If this happens, Ironwood Advisory can assist management by filling that void with one of its Senior Consultants as interim management until the void can be filled on a permanent basis

Senior Consultants can be made available to assist management in one-time projects that do not require on-going management once the project is complete

Ironwood ~ Transition Management

Ironwood Advisory is a transition management consulting firm that advises stakeholders and managements on issues of operations, finance, marketing + sales and strategic planning in a number of specific industries including Food and Beverage.

Ironwood Food and Beverage Company Revitalization Team

Ironwood's Food and Beverage business team includes expert operating executives of Ironwood, industry specialists and project operators, product and retailing experts, consumer products marketing and distribution experts, turnaround personnel and auditing services.

Ironwood also has corporate finance capacities enabling the restructuring of debt and equity for Balance Sheet Management.

Some of the members of this team are:

Jim Jacobs
Bill Sharp
Greg Rocque
Gene Siciliano
Edward Story

Call or Write Us

If you operate a Food and Beverage business with a challenge would like to have some professional assistance, we urge you to call us at 1-866-692-1600. Ask for Edward Story, Managing Partner, or for other Senior Consultants mentioned on our website.

Or write us at or .

Ironwood's consultants have successfully helped to transform Food & Beverage organizations like yours.

Waiting for problems to become more acute before calling in professional assistance simply makes the problems harder and more costly to solve. The available options to correct the root causes of deterioration in a company's operating drivers are more easily acted upon earlier rather than later. Give us a call. There is no charge - and no risk to you - for talking about the issues your company may have or for estimating what would be involved in dealing with them.

Food and Beverage Industry Successes

Some but not all of these successes are related to the food and beverage industry. All are related to issues likely to be encountered with distressed companies in the food and beverage business. This list is only partially representative of the experience in transition management, turnaround and in the food and beverage industry accumulated by Ironwood professionals.

Client: A $30M meat packaging company was taken over by third generation family members; losing money and tight cash flow. The management started a cost reduction program which cut advertising, reduced the sales force and shrink distribution channels. Sales fell further and the company was forced to file Chapter 11.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim General Manager in Chapter 11
  • Renegotiated raw material prices
  • Increased advertising,
  • Introduced new products for the Hispanic market.
  • Corrected several environmental issues
  • Positioned the Company for successful Sale

Outcome: Cash flow was improved to a positive position. Sales were increased by 20%. The company was successfully sold and the secure lender was paid in full.

Client: A fragmented distribution industry rollup required experienced management to raise capital and integrate acquisitions.

Major Initiatives:

  • Acted as Interim CFO
  • Secured $15 million in investment in three months
  • Raised a total of $41 million in equity over three years
  • Completed eleven acquisitions
  • Integrated accounting for subsidiaries

Outcome: Grew the startup from three employees to over 250 with $70M in revenue.

Client: The developer of a Web-based purchasing system had exhausted its initial funding and incurred massive debt before the product was completed.

Major Initiative:

  • Worked with creditors to quickly restructure the company's debts

Outcome: Investors funded the project through completion resulting in a $25 million capital infusion

Client: A $50 million multinational barter company was forced to liquidate.

Major Initiatives:

  • Sold inventory
  • Collected receivables
  • Wound down the business

Outcome: The Company's creditors considered the 35% payout to be much greater than anticipated.

Client: A $30M software provider to the grocery industry was challenged with needing to get better penetration into more strategic clients.

Major Initiatives:

  • Conducted a full sales effectiveness assessment to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the sales team and sales management team
  • Made 37 specific recommendations, with the top one being a major redesign of the compensation system to better align the goals and objectives of the company with the sales deployment
  • Implemented the new compensation system
  • Set up a new quota system for their sales people

Outcome: sales growth and the pursuit of a more consultative selling approach with larger customers.

Client: A major consumer brand in the beverage category that needed a significantly improved Internet/Web strategy and presence.

Major initiatives:

  • Recreated the company's website
  • Provided a strategy to use the Internet to increase awareness of the product line
  • Aligned the new Web site with the client's product management team, their objectives, target audience, and outbound marketing strategy
  • Ensured that the site is compelling to the brand's target demos by doing primary consumer research

Outcome: Generated an increase in visitors from 100K to 800K in 12 months, exceeding the client's goal of 500K users by 60%.

Client: A major apparel manufacturer defaulted on a $40 million loan and threatened to sue its lender.

Major Initiatives:

  • Installed in the company as interim COO
  • Implemented new controls
  • Lowered tension between lender and borrower

Outcome: Moved the company to a new asset based lender with better terms.


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