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PALM BEACH, Fla. - Greater collaboration and a more analytic approach to product customization will help maximize returns for retailers and manufacturers alike, concluded an industry panel who spoke here during the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association's Merchandising, Sales and Marketing Conference.While half of all customized products fail to meet objectives, requests for exclusive

PALM BEACH, Fla. - Greater collaboration and a more analytic approach to product customization will help maximize returns for retailers and manufacturers alike, concluded an industry panel who spoke here during the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association's Merchandising, Sales and Marketing Conference.

While half of all customized products fail to meet objectives, requests for exclusive products or new sizes and packaging options are projected to grow in the future, said Richard Kauffeld, vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va.

Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., improved the success of its customized product execution by dedicating resources to the task.

"We started a display excellence task force and now it's a permanent cross-function of our business," said Sandy Grimes, vice president of sales, consumer and personal care. "We rigorously review projects and change their course based on what we learned."

Postmortems also keep Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle from making the same mistakes twice.

"Seasonal displays like those executed for the cough-and-cold season or with sunscreen in the summertime deserve a post-execution analysis so that next year you can improve upon it," said Joseph Hurley, supply chain director.