PDA

View Full Version : Can I reach DPSG?



TACBOT
10-16-2009, 01:51 PM
Dear Friends:
I've tried the 1-800 numbers and have spoken to friendly receptionists with limited knowledge. I've sent emails only to receive canned replies time after time that don't even address my questions or observations. Is there any person/address you might suggest in Plano, TX at Dr Pepper Snapple Group that I could send a letter regarding product and distribution that just might actually read it and at least give it a thought? Presently, I feel as if DPSG really doesn't want any public/consumer input. THANK YOU. ;)

DrPepperYummy
10-16-2009, 02:07 PM
Dear Friends:
I've tried the 1-800 numbers and have spoken to friendly receptionists with limited knowledge. I've sent emails only to receive canned replies time after time that don't even address my questions or observations. Is there any person/address you might suggest in Plano, TX at Dr Pepper Snapple Group that I could send a letter regarding product and distribution that just might actually read it and at least give it a thought? Presently, I feel as if DPSG really doesn't want any public/consumer input. THANK YOU. ;)

What is your question/observation... I'm sure some of us might be able to answer it quickly or we might be able to pass it along to someone. I would think calling the 800 number listed on any product would be a good start but sometimes the people in forums have decades more experience than the new person answering phones.

fusion
10-16-2009, 04:35 PM
My suggestion would be to call your local bottler, not DPS. The bottler ultimately decides what to carry, not DPS, based on local demand, past history, etc.

People often seem to think that everything is available everywhere. Based on roadtrips myself and others have taken, there are a lot of differences out there. Sadly, many of them are falling by the wayside with bottler consolidation, but you can still find some pretty unique stuff if you look hard enough.

The big "problem" we have around here is that you've got six different companies distributing Dr Pepper in about a 30 mile radius or so from where I live, and they all do things a little differently. Abarta Coke to the northwest, Philadelphia Coke around here and to the north, CCE in a tiny 3-town territory to the south of me (used to be a Dr Pepper dead zone), Pepsi Bottling Ventures below them, an indie Pepsi distributor to the west, and further west and southwest is Pepsi Bottling Group. But I digress...

PBG distributes Dr Pepper in your area. Most of the other Pepsi bottlers in WA also have Dr Pepper (WA is quite fractured, I think there are 11 indies?).

Just over the WA 16 bridge should be Bremerton Pepsi territory - their website says they serve the Kitsap Peninsula. It also says they have Cherry Crush already. And they have Dr Pepper, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, and Crush. 360-377-6262 Bremerton Bottling Company, Inc. (http://www.bremertonpepsi.com/index_main.html)

Columbia Beverage is the main DPS distributor in WA, but they don't have the whole territory, or the whole line.

Columbia Distributing - Non-alcoholic (http://www.coldist.com/Products/Non-Alcoholic.aspx)

Their closest warehouse to you would be in Kent. 425-251-9300.

That's about the best I can do, I did a lot of searches, and came up empty.

TACBOT
10-18-2009, 04:38 PM
The base issue is that DPSG does not have a bottler in the Northwest after the loss of the Portland Bottling Company about ten years ago which manufactured and distrubuted most DPSU / TriARc / etc. brands. It has to this date ignored the NW by placing distribution into the hands of firms whose primary interest is beer and wine distribution - and soft drinks are an afterthought. You are so right in saying that in a small geographical area you can find multiple distributors of often the same brands, but when the big brands are not getting through or get through only when a shipment comes in from California (Sacramento or SF), I would think DPSG would take a small interest -or am I that naive as a store chain director? Also, DPSG has a consumer line. Their responses are canned and too often do not even discuss the subject. This is why I am trying to get past the 1-800 numbers and speak with someone who actually may address a question. At this point I don't believe DPSG has a genuine interest in any consumer input or relations.
In reference to Columbia, they are trying to do an adequate job, but they, also, distribute beer, wine, bottled water, and other soft drinks such as Jones which decreases any commitment to DPSG. Thanks for your insight. I do appreciate it.

CitrusCola
10-18-2009, 06:56 PM
Based on what I've found online, the person you need to talk to is Derry Hobson (he's the Exec. VP -- Supply Chain). You could try calling the DPSG HQ number, 972-673-7000, and tell them that you need to talk to him.

Good luck.

fusion
10-19-2009, 01:46 AM
Calling the consumer hotline isn't going to get you the results you seek, as you've found out. You're a customer, not a consumer, and you have different needs and issues.

Unfortunately, what you're experiencing is a way of life in many areas. Combo beer/soda distributors. Usually in less densely populated areas. Heck, even a few Coke and Pepsi distributors also have a beer/wine distribution company as well.

It is surprising that it is occurring in a major metropolitan area, though. You'd think the bottling arm of DPS would set up shop somewhere in the area. Unless their market share is so small, and they don't want to invest the time and money building it up.

It's also a result of the still somewhat fractured bottling system in this country. You're just not going to find the same things in every area, and market share and shelf space vary greatly. I live in an area with a DPS bottler that's a pretty major player, and he also owns Pepsi distribution and a co-packing facility as well.

You'd be surprised in some areas - Coke has barely a presence in a Wal-Mart, and Pepsi or a Sundrop and/or Cheerwine distributor is a major player. North Carolina is one unique market, that's for sure. I've even been in a Food Lion that had 8 feet of Sundrop. That's unheard of for any flavor in my experience in a Food Lion.

So, who do you contact? The supply chain VP that CitrusCola mentioned could be helpful with the out of stock issues you're experiencing, but as to the main nature of your problem, I doubt he could be that helpful.

I gave it some thought as to who you should contact. I'll admit up front that I don't know the whole business inside and out, but I have been in it for a while. When I worked in a Coke area where we had Dr Pepper, DPS had a Dr Pepper rep that was responsible for visiting headquarters locations, as well as sales centers. They'd offer incentives, prizes, show off new items, take sales/exec employees to dinner/drinks, etc. Same thing with Seagram's, before Coke signed the long term distribution rights to the name.

I am not 100% sure how the system is set up as far as a point of contact at DPS for the independent bottling/distribution companies. With the strength of Dr Pepper, they probably have their own dedicated reps throughout most of the country. But as to the rest of the brands? I really couldn't say. Maybe it's one person, maybe it's a team, maybe they have a much larger area of responsibility than the Dr Pepper reps. But my hunch is that maybe that is who you should start with. They're the "go to guy" that the bottler/distributor has at DPS - the front line. I'm not sure if you could get that info from Columbia without raising a few eyebrows (they could think that you have problems with them, etc). But calling the HQ number CitrusCola could yield some results.

I wish you the best of luck. I know we're all trying to satisfy our customers/consumers, but sometimes it's just out of our control. Brands and flavors are discontinued by the company that owns the brands, or dropped by a distributor. Local market conditions may result in a brand being so weak, that out of code issues and slow movement become a great concern, and valuable warehouse space is taken up by slow moving products. New products come out every year, but how many of them make it one year? two years? New owners take over a company and run it into the ground, and end up closing shop, and the brand disappears completely. People's tastes change, and what used to be king is now losing market share year over year. I am amazed by the changes in the water aisle alone, which was mostly gallon jugs and larger packages, to multipacks of single serve bottles -- convenience. And the amount of single serve water that is sold out of coolers - I wouldn't have believed it 10 years ago, but it's a reality today. And look at energy drinks - growth is slowing, but the amount of failed products alone (just read our Big Lots threads) shows me that everyone is trying to get a piece of that pie. Production costs are fairly low, and profit margins are high for both distributor and retailer. But the market is dominated by the big boys and the big distribution networks of Coke and Pepsi.

Brands like Sundrop are so strong, they outsell the two major colas in some areas, but you couldn't find the drink in most of the country, even if you wanted to. If you were looking for Cheerwine in a big portion of the country, people would think you were looking for an alcoholic beverage. In other markets, Dr Pepper is king. Old, nostalgic brands are making a comeback in glass bottles with real sugar. Boylan's is a great example of a company that started out really small, and has grown exponentially. They've moved their operations at least twice, from what I know (I used to live in the area they're in). Although the market is becoming more homogenized due to bottler and retailer consolidation, I think that both are beginning to see the possibilities in market segmentation and differing product mixes based on the demographics of the local population.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong (as Dennis Miller would say).

CitrusCola
10-19-2009, 06:00 AM
If you're able to get in touch with Mr. Hobson, just tell him what you've mentioned here. Tell him that you're a store chain director and that you really want to sell his company's products, but you can't find a reliable way of getting them.

While it's possible that there's nothing Mr. Hobson can do about the situation, it's also possible that he's totally unaware of the problem.

I do not work in the soda industry, but I have heard that the culture at DPSG has changed a great deal since they were split apart from Cadbury. Selling soft drinks is all they do now; they don't have candy sales to fall back on.

Again, good luck. Let us know what happens.