As part of the PE firm he started, Mike doubled a multi-million dollar logistics company, sold it to a competitor, and invested in a food startup as a minority owner. He has also led product development and pricing divisions for a major consumer goods company. Mike is currently a managing director with Newpoint Advisors, a Chicago-based turnaround consulting company that works with companies who have $10 million or less in senior debt.
Raised alternative financing for growing or undercapitalized companies.
Built financial models and set metrics for operational improvements.
Worked with department leads to execute on operational process optimization projects.
Project management lead with bankers and insolvency lawyers to have turnaround companies, successful exit lending arrangements that went into forbearance.
Acted as Interim CFO to several small companies, including an Illinois based farm equipment manufacturer who had a $5 million liability owed to the IRS and state. Successfully renegotiated a payment settlement that kept the business out of bankruptcy courts.
Built a team of three angel investors (including myself) to acquire an underperforming food logistics company. Led the acquisition team to initiate an LOI, negotiated the sale of purchase agreement, and ran the due diligence. The overall process took six months after signing the NDA.
Refocused the product mix from low margin dry baking goods (e.g., flour and sugar) to higher margin/less competitive frozen foods. Included building out larger industrial freezers, developing relationships with new suppliers, and finding new channels to sell products such as mass grocery.
Raised margins by +2% during a period wherein SYSCO/GFS was involved in a price war by applying for rebate programs not being taken advantage of, pursuing truck load buys, increasing prices while improving service levels (which we rigorously measured), changing the product mix, and negotiating better supplier terms.
Achieved $2+ million in sales by executing on a new sales strategy: (1) implemented a frozen food pivot; (2) personally cold called chefs, adding new clients like the CN Tower and Hilton Hotels; (3) hired a sales director to increase the client base; (4) promoted an office manager to inside sales manager with the goal to sell more products through existing customers. We focused on adding new customers located on our existing routes in order to increase capacity, thus maximizing return on assets.
Developed a strict 20-, 30-, and 40-day collection policy managed by the inside sales manager, who spoke to customers on a daily basis. Before, VanMar had a very lax A/R collection policy, putting strain on its day-to-day cash position and preventing the company from doing truck load buys.
Reduced overall expenses by 15% through lease contract renegotiation, preventative care on the truck/freezer, and upgraded inventory system, improving the efficiency of the warehouse. However, I did award all employees health benefits to increase morale and lower turnover.
Converted ConAgra from its "cost + margin" to a "Price to Value" pricing policy, bringing more data analysis in order to capture more consumer surplus being generated by marketing, in-store merchandising, and new products.
Led open communication with Walmart, Costco, Target, and other major retailers regarding ConAgra's pricing/promotion activities with theentire market. Proactively informing Target of what ConAgra was running in the future with Walmart allowed us to develop strong programs with Target (and vice versa), thus strengthening supplier/retailer relationships.
Built models and partnered with Neilsen to get real-time data on customer patterns when products were discounted at Walmart. The goal was to see what worked (e.g., 50% off, 2 for $3, in weekend flyers, buy space outside of aisle) and what retailers to invest in (Walmart growing quickly, Safeway declining market share).
Developed pricing ladders to see where market opportunities existed and to meet consumer demand (single beer cans to encourage sampling vs. 12 pack to reward loyal buyers with a price discount). For example, "to-go-snacks" in the $0.99 range were very popular at gas stations. ConAgra had no products to meet this consumer need, so we developed pack sizes to sell to this consumer/retail channel.
Led price increase inputs into the budget and had to develop new ideas when volume fell short or costs exceeded expectations. ConAgra would rely on pricing actions (price increase or better ROI for promotional activities) to meet shortfalls in actual vs. budget performance.
In the past five years, Blue Apron has brought meal kits to the masses and commands a 40% market share in the USA. Yet all is not rosy; its financial losses have continually accelerated and it has ceded 17% of its market share in the past year.
Amazon buying Whole Foods on the eve of its 2017 IPO could have just been bad luck, or prescient signs of what’s to come for Blue Apron. This article looks at ways that the business can get its house in order and win back the Millennial kitchen.