Sunkist Realigns Sales Structure to Expand Business, Service

unkist Growers is realigning its sales operations by trading bricks and mortar offices for electronic technology, to better serve its customers, shippers, and growers. The changes arise from a comprehensive business evaluation undertaken by the cooperative citrus marketing organization, said Mark Tompkins, Sunkist's director of domestic fresh fruit sales.

The Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist's fresh fruit sales division crafted the restructuring in collaboration with global strategy and management firm The Monitor Group. "We consulted with Monitor to help us design a system that allows us to do the right things for the right mix of customers at the lowest cost to our grower-members," said Tompkins.

"As a result, Sunkist is moving to a more centralized model of sales operations that allows our key sales people to 'go virtual'," he said. Under the new structure, Sunkist's strategic accounts managers no longer manage offices, and have instead "been freed by technology to work from anywhere customers need them."

The strategic accounts managers are supported by three "operational hubs."

Four management changes with promotions and new positions are part of the realignment:
-- John Slagel, formerly the regional manager of Sunkist's Eastern Sales Division, is heading up an enlarged Pittsburgh office which combines Sunkist's former eastern and central regional offices. John, a 17-year Sunkist sales veteran, was most recently director of the Eastern regional sales office. He is the recipient of the Sunkist President's Award for Marketing Excellence.
-- Brian Slagel, who served as regional manger of the Central Division, assumes the newly created position of director of business development and will be based in Orlando, Fla. Having joined Sunkist in 1996, he was also President's Award winner. In his new position, he is responsible for developing strategic customer relationships with key accounts in North America, working closely with other sales department leaders to manage relationships and develop additional Sunkist business.
-- Bruce Simmons, who previously led the Western Sales Division, is the new Utah-based director of foodservice sales. The 18-year Sunkist veteran will develop relationships with key foodservice customers and coordinating Sunkist's sales efforts.
-- Lance McMillan, now manager of national sales accounts in charge of retail and wholesale accounts, will continue to work from the NASO in Visalia. He joined Sunkist in 2002 as senior account manager for national accounts and was previously a sales coordinator for Sunkist-affiliated packinghouses under the Pro-Ag, Inc., group.
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