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Customer Service is Top Priority For Support-Oriented Sales Team.

Ocean Garden Products, Inc. (OGP) not only casts a wide net for sourcing choice seafood and fish the world over, it does so on the sales and service side as well. In one form or another, the company's finished products are readily available in all major markets.

Spearheading the well-coordinated international drive is John Filose, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Based at corporate headquarters in San Diego, California, USA, the 25-year veteran of inventive food market campaigning takes a pragmatic though prevailing approach to his job each day.

"Ours is a most competitive business, because we are really competing against other proteins like beef and chicken," he commented. "However, our seafood products have advantages in terms of overall health benefits that can expand our business in the years ahead."

Mr. Filose listed the leading seafood markets, in order of importance, as the USA, Japan, Spain, France and Asian locations where large populations of ethnic Chinese are present -- namely the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore). Ocean Garden Products is set up in different ways to serve customers in these very different marketplaces. However, in each country the commonalties of commerce are strikingly similar.

"The basic structure of markets worldwide is that importers sell to distributors, who, in turn, deliver small quantities of a wide range of food products to restaurants and supermarkets. Even those restaurant chains and major supermarket accounts who buy directly from importers have some type of an internal distribution division," explained Mr. Filose. "There are basically two types of distributors -- those that specialize in seafood and those that buy and sell all types of food and equipment products."

He continued: "For distributors worldwide, the current focus is on what is called `just-in-time inventory management.' This means that these distributors want to greatly reduce the amount of inventory that they carry and greatly increase the turnover or sales rate of these items."

Ocean Garden Products has direct regional sales offices in seven key metropolitan areas of the United States (see page 18). The network provides year-round representation of the company's full line of products.

OGP closely monitors supply and demand factors internationally. Market forecasting not left to chance, as the company matches its qualitative knowledge of the changing global business environment with an econometric pricing model based on factors such as shrimp and fish landings, aquaculture production, Ocean Garden receipts, weather conditions (which could affect harvesting) and key economic indicators such as money supply, currency fluctuations, interest rates and inflation.

Ocean Garden's sober, calculating approach to both buying and selling has resulted in an organized, consistent way of doing business that benefits all involved. The aim is always to minimize price swings and adverse market slides.

The company's sales offices work with computerized product allocation systems, which keep personnel constantly up to date with information on supply levels. Allocation to markets is based on historical data and real time market projections for each product line.

Independent broker organizations represent OGP in Hawaii (Pearl City, Oahu-based Rainbow, Inc.) and the Canadian provinces of Quebec (Montreal-based Bellemont Powell) and Ontario (Wayne Brousseau, Ltd., Toronto).

Approximately three quarters of Ocean Garden's sourcing occurs in Mexico. The OGP flag flies at 15 locations, while parent company Bancomext is present in over 40 offices.

While most frozen seafood production in Mexico has historically gone to export markets, there is reason to believe that Mexican domestic demand will rise in the future. John Filose explained why: "Mexico has a young population, which is increasingly more affluent each year. Additionally, tourism is continuing to grow and prosper. This will definitely mean higher consumption within Mexico."

In Europe, Ocean Garden is represented by Paris, France-based Interpral s.a., and Madrid, Spain-headquartered P.S.K. Oceanos. An arrangement with the latter company allows for processing of frozen shrimp aboard vessels in its fishing fleet.

Business in Japan is looked after by Ebisho Company Ltd. and Maruha Corp.

Two sales agents represent OGP in Hong Kong: Kwong Tai Hong Sealand Products Co. Ltd. and Dah Chong Hong, Ltd.

Doing the job on Taiwan is Taipei-headquartered Chi Sing Enterprise Co., Ltd., while in Singapore it's Harpers Trading Pte., Ltd.

Providing clients with what they want, when they want it, and at a fair price is only part of what Ocean Garden's sales team does. OGP works closely with customers to better market and merchandise seafood products. The company's San Diego, California-based marketing department, managed by Dixie Blake, makes available a wide variety of tools especially designed to sell more product. Some are specifically geared to help distributors, while others are tailored for chefs, restaurant purchasing agents, supermarket seafood buyers or seafood counter personnel.

For example, OGP circulates glossy four-color product fact sheets, as well as customized flyers. Recipe cards for both foodservice and supermarket applications are distributed. Tray pack stickers and special point of sale materials are also designed for customers.

On the public relations front, Ocean Garden profiles well known chefs in stories with shrimp recipes for trade publications. Advertising the company's product range in trade publications is ongoing, as is participation in major national and international seafood exhibitions. This combined effort enhances brand identity and generate a high level of awareness among clients.

Marketing support doesn't end with public relations programs and advertising campaigns. The company is committed to educating foodservice operators and retailers on ways to maximize profits through wise buying and flexible menuing.

And finally, in continuing its leadership role in the world of seafood, Ocean Garden Products has a comprehensive, informative web site (www.oceangarden.com), with sections for consumers, distributors, foodservice operators and retailers. It provides information about shrimp supplies, types of shrimp and how to make the best buy. Recipes are there for downloading.

The site is being publicized among culinary schools so students can learn how to buy shrimp (Ocean Garden, of course) in the future. Its feature "All You Need to Know to Profit from Shrimp" is worth a look-see, should you ever want to try your hand at becoming an expert like the folks at OGP.

Ocean Garden Products' Far-Reaching Global Sales Network
HEADQUARTERS

Ocean Garden
Products, Inc.
3585 Corporate Court
San Diego, CA 92123-2495
Tel 1-800-4SHRIMP
(1) 858- 571-5002
Fax (1) 858-277-6228

CONTINENTAL USA

Northwest Region
Redmond, Washington
Tel (1) 425-882-1747
Fax (1) 425-883-9455

North Central Region
Rosemont, Illinois
Tel (1) 800-323-5592
(1) 847-296-7111
Fax (1) 847-296-1495

Northeast Region
Upper Saddle River, NJ
Tel (1) 201-934-9191
Fax (1) 201-934-9001

Pacific Region
Walnut Creek, California
Tel (1) 925-974-1770
Fax (1) 925-974-1771

South Central Region
Arlington, Texas
Tel (1) 800-772-5364
(1) 817-274-4002
Fax (1) 817-274-4038

Southwest Region
Orange, California
Tel (1) 800-486-3055
(1) 714-456-0560
Fax (1) 714-456-0567

Southeast Region
Atlanta, Georgia
Tel (1) 800-241-6189
(1) 770-384-1117
Fax (1) 770-384-0607

HAWAII

Rainbow, Inc.
Pearl City, Hawaii
Tel (1) 808 487-6455
Fax (1) 808 487-0888

MEXICO

Ocean Garden Products
Mexico, DF
Tel (5) 687-9550
(5) 687-4816
Fax (5) 687-8507

CANADA

Bellemont Powell, Ltd.
Laval, Quebec, Canada
Tel (450) 663-6512
Fax (450) 663-0415

Wayne Brousseau, Ltd.
Ajax (Toronto),
Ontario, Canada
Tel (905) 427-3474
Fax (905) 427-0047

EUROPE

Interpral s.a.
Paris, France
Tel (33-1) 55 04 12 12
Fax (33-1) 55 04 12 00

PSK Oceanos
Madrid, Spain
Tel (34-1) 352 70 20
Fax (34-1) 715 75 14

ASIA/PACIFIC

Ebisho Co. Ltd.
Tokyo, Japan
Tel (81) 3-3-3371-7382
Fax (81) 3-3363-8711

Maruha Corp.
Tokyo, Japan
Tel (81) 3-3216-0852
Fax (81) 3-3216-0315

Dah Chong Hong Ltd.
Hong Kong
Tel (852) 2768 3388
Fax (852) 2953 0163

Kwong Tai Hong Sealand
Products Co., Ltd.
Hong Kong
Tel (852) 2544 6846
Fax (852) 2544 8875

Chi Sing Enterprise
Co., Ltd.
Taipei, Taiwan
Tel (886) 22 553 1776
Fax (886) 22 557 2090

Harpers Trading Pte.,
Ltd.
Singapore
Tel (65) 472 2888
Fax (65) 471 3335
COPYRIGHT 1999 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Comment:Customer Service is Top Priority For Support-Oriented Sales Team.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:1290
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