I watched Saturday Night Live and they made a video on Dean Foods. Seems like even SNL understands the Dairy business better than the the geniuses they have at Dean foods. I bet the Human Resources department at Deans are all Astronauts also. What a disaster they turned this once decent company into.
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LeMars only paying $22 an hour? Man, I thought everyone at Dean Foods was making more than that.
Let's hope the country wakes up and comes to realize, that you can't turn a major food group item like - cows milk- into iMilk, then expect to trade that product/business model on the NYSE and enjoy unlimited rising returns. Deans proved it magnificently.
Since it is milk and not an ever evolving tech product, there is NO WAY to sustain growth at a point where an investor will be happy, while at the same time, maintaining your facilities and staffing them properly. Every 90 days Wall Street wants enhanced profits or they cut you off at the knees.
Probably, Engles, Tanner and their later cohorts knew it was not possible, but did not care. Instead, they saw a way for even inept fools to get rich, because they knew no matter how screwed up they made things, a certain percentage of folks would always buy milk. Allowing them years to fatten their bank accounts. All they had to do is come up with a corporate-speak dialog each earnings call that got them another 90 days. If you read the stock market analysts online, they would buy it hook line and sinker. It was always going to get better next quarter..
All the while, we knew - this was the Titanic and the captains had life boats.
As we have all observed first hand, this was never about running a great dairy company, or creating a product to be proud of, this was always about enriching a few club members at the top and their cronies. And we must admit....it worked!
George Carlin used to say that the people that really run the United States government has a club- and you ain't in it.
Well so did Dean Foods
Dean Foods LeMars pays guys $22.00 plus an hour just to watch jugs fill with milk or mold a jug. And you wonder why they went belly up?
Few years ago- hundreds- hell maybe even thousands- of hours were spent trying to come up with the ideal dairy structure- org charts showing many people each plant should have based on sales and plant specific equipment and layouts. New proposed org charts sent to each plant. Plants came back with number of people needed to implement plan and Dean Foods was going to have to hire a couple of thousand people to make the plan work. Plan sc-aped and plants told to cut 10% of existing workforce instead. As cuts at plant level were happening, string of announcements regarding new VPs being added in Dallas kept coming out.
Deans is top-heavy. they would save a lot of money getting rid of the top management that don't have a clue what's happening at dairy level. The dairies know what their customers want. They spend more time and money on programs that aren't worth c-ap. Talk to the people that do the real work. id–tS!
The TruMoo seasonals...sold well at first but upped customer complaints to all time highs first year as they were loaded with food coloring and vanilla flavor when customers were expecting orange to have some orange flavoring and green to be mint.
We were all told that Trumoo was a huge success. After all, kids in schools were drinking it. The fact that it tasted like sickly sweet brown milk with no discernable chocolate flavor was a feature. Yeah, sales dropped like a rock, but running ads on the Food Network late at night were going to turn that around. Or maybe we can sell it as a workout drink like Gatorade. Yeah, that'll work.
One example of not simply following trends is "full fat" cottage cheese still labelled 4% milkfat rather than high protein and 96% fat free. I never got that logic....
Having spent decades in dairy I was also really annoyed with the sophomoric other labeling idea, "Trumoo". This speaks to the ignorance, immaturity and lack of experience found in the top echelon. Boy did that c-ap flop. Not only is the name stupid, the new formula tasted bad compared to what was being manufactured prior to them messing with it.
I knew when the Yale bunch from ReddyIce came in cloaked under the name "Suiza Foods" and said that knowledge of the dairy business was a "liability" right to the faces of middle management, that the company was doomed. I am just shocked how long it took for them to run it into the ground, considering the rate they siphoned off money from the plants and let them deteriorate- heck THEY ARE STILL DOING IT!
I remember shaking my head and thinking: yeah, if I didn't know what I was doing and was pulling down millions a year, I would be threatened by seasoned staff and would say the same thing. It would be either that or learn the business I was running, but, if I am going to leave in 3 years anyway, why bother to learn? I'm just here to get rich off the backs of the workers and the once good name of a real dairy giant.
True the decline of milk consumption has been known to the company and industry for a long time and is being used as an excuse for the decline of the Company. But it's kind of like if Volkswagon had continued making nothing but the original VW Bug and then blamed consumers for no longer buying it.
50 years ago plants all made a diverse line of dairy products. 20 years ago Dean Foods owned businesses outside of dairy. Almost every move in last 20 years was the opposite of what they should have been doing- should have been getting more not less diverse in our product lines. Add in: all the Dairy Management System / all plants should operate exactly the same way c-ap ; daily decisions that should have been made locally all having to go through Dallas approval; savings by plant closings being offset by increases in distribution costs; refusing to consider changes to direct distribution model; having mentality that employees are all replaceable; basically telling customers F U, you'll pay what we tell you to pay and failure was inevitable.
A badly run company. Period. The lazy media will not report this but the decline of milk has been obvious, yet management have made bad decisions after bad decisions. Change of leadership has done nothing. The company runs the same way it did 50, 60 70 years ago. Still deliver to stores the same way, same size products (gallons etc). Any new products they have tried have been a disaster recently mix in cottage cheese and after dark milks. Both now dumped. What next? Nothing that will change the company for the better. Only a sale and a new look at how to sell milk will save jobs of this once great company.
Too bad they didn't include the 4.5 million bonus he gave himself. that's the real joke