INDUSTRY SEES TECHNOLOGY AS KEY IN STRATEGY: SURVEY

CHICAGO -- The strategic importance of new technology initiatives in the supermarket industry was made strikingly clear in a recent survey of chain and wholesaler executives.Three quarters of respondents rated exploration and implementation of new technology initiatives as "extremely important" to their organizational plans.The survey was conducted by the market research department of Fairchild Publications,

CHICAGO -- The strategic importance of new technology initiatives in the supermarket industry was made strikingly clear in a recent survey of chain and wholesaler executives.

Three quarters of respondents rated exploration and implementation of new technology initiatives as "extremely important" to their organizational plans.

The survey was conducted by the market research department of Fairchild Publications, publisher of SN, at the Food Marketing Institute's annual convention here last month. Executives were queried on a wide range of issues.

When it came to the area of technology, the importance of new programs was backed up by expected hikes in budget allocations, according to the survey. About three-quarters of respondents, for instance, said that their budget allocations for computer applications rose this year. Of that group, 45% cited a jump of more than 10% over a year ago, and 17% said technology investment increased more than 25% compared with last year.

When queried on Efficient Consumer Response initiatives, 39% of retail executives termed company initiatives in this area as "extremely important," while 51% said ECR is only "somewhat important." Just under 10% discounted the importance of ECR altogether.

The survey also revealed that 42% of respondents said that relationships with manufacturers were improving, and 36% said relationships were the same. Just over 14%, on the other hand, said relations were "a bit worse," and 8% said relationships with manufacturers were "much worse."