- Dixie: The Dixie Way to Profitability
When Dixie, North America’s largest and oldest manufacturer of cups and other disposable packaging for the food-service industry, wanted to both improve its profitability and create new product opportunities, the century-old company turned to Synecticsworld.
Under Synecticsworld’s direction, Dixie assembled a cross-functional team that included participants from marketing, sales, market research, promotion, and finance. Synecticsworld then trained the Dixie team members in novel approaches for understanding the unarticulated needs of their customers and, ultimately, the consumer. Synecticsworld knew that the all-important first step in this process was to tap the fertile imaginations of Dixie employees by giving them the tools for unearthing hard-to-discern but profound and untapped customer needs.
The Dixie team then conducted a series of one-on-one interviews with customers from the casual dining, lodging, hospital, convenience store, and quick service industries, as well as other users.
Using the information gleaned from those interviews, the Synecticsworld-led insight sessions with the Dixie team identified and developed a core set of fundamental customer needs, many of which they found were beyond price, convenience and simplicity. The sessions revealed needs that included the desire of restaurateurs to send customers home with take-out food that tastes and looks like it was presented in the restaurant. In all, the sessions led to the identification of eight new insights that became idea-guideposts for new products and marketing ideas.
“Perhaps the biggest payoff was the creation of the consumer insights. We have returned to these eight insights on almost every project since,” says Leone Stangle, a business communications manager at Dixie’s.
Of the nearly 40 concepts originally realized by the Dixie team, more than 30 have been fully developed. The products that were launched caught the industry’s attention and won six awards from the Food Service and Packaging Institute. But more importantly for Dixie’s shareholders, the new products’ combined performance exceeded forecasts and led to sustained revenue and the improved profitability that they had sought.