J&J Snack Foods

Negotiating Success: A Journey into Procurement Transformation

The Situation

J&J Snack Foods Corp. (NASDAQ: JJSF) is a leader and innovator in the snack food industry, providing nutritional and affordable branded niche snack foods and beverages to food service and retail supermarket outlets. The US procurement team, comprised of skilled professionals, encountered a range of challenges. These encompassed the absence of a structured negotiation process, hesitation among some team members to engage in negotiations and resist vendor price hikes and terms while maintaining positive vendor relations, and a deficiency in formal expertise.

The SNI Solution

The procurement leadership recognized the critical need to invest in their team, focusing on providing formal training and equipping them with negotiation skills. To accomplish this, they sought a negotiation training partner who possessed not only extensive real-world industry experience but also the ability to tailor the program to their specific requirements. They aimed to collaborate with a partner who was not only versed in the subtleties of negotiations but could also guide the team in effectively dealing with both suppliers and internal stakeholders. Acknowledging these needs, the procurement leadership ultimately selected Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI) as their training partner. 

SNI collaborated closely with the leadership to comprehensively understand the team’s requirements, and subsequently developed an in-person training program. This program aimed not only to provide the team members with crucial negotiation tools and techniques, but also enhanced team cohesion and facilitated the sharing of knowledge. A vital component of their approach was establishing a strong rapport between the trainer and the team prior to the training, which cultivated a more engaged and collaborative learning environment.

The Impact

The negotiation training program had a substantial impact. Team members acquired not just theoretical knowledge, but also gleaned insights from real-life examples and practical scenarios presented during the training. Key focal points included fostering relationships, upholding the company’s interests, and overcoming apprehensions about asking questions and asserting positions. 

The team began integrating these newly acquired skills into their daily negotiations, as demonstrated by enhanced preparation, more effective pushbacks, and a noticeably more confident approach in their interactions with vendors / internal stakeholders.

The Result

The negotiation training notably influenced the team’s business outcomes. It highlighted the significance of preparation, enabling them to effectively manage expectations regarding price increases, negotiate more favorable terms, enhance lead times, and cultivate long-term relationships with vendors. The training provided team members with the skills to critically evaluate vendors’ arguments and find mutually beneficial solutions without sacrificing relationships. 

Overall, the procurement team is now well-positioned to positively impact the company’s bottom line through business outcomes achieved as a result of their enhanced negotiation skills.

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