Key development: Developed a proprietary data-mining software that allows the company to identify new business opportunities by analyzing performance of specific items at store level.
What's next: Working on Asian and Indian private-label foods, which Sender sees as major food trends, for clients around the world.
Daymon Worldwide had a busy year in 2004, signing eight new customers, including Safeway and Lianhau, China's largest retailer.
The Shanghai-based conglomerate, half owned by the Chinese government, includes supermarkets, convenience stores and hypermarkets. Daymon is tackling the whole empire, creating a comprehensive private-label program that will span from facial moisturizers to deli meats for the company's 6,000 units. It's enormous opportunities like this, said Milton Sender, chairman and co-founder, that keep him hooked on the industry. The Stamford, Conn.-based company generates 20% to 30% of its revenues outside the U.S. Sender believes this will increase to half of company revenues.
"Our lead time is an edge" in working globally, he noted. "We can formulate concepts very quickly, see where they are successful and transfer it to other countries. If it's working in England, we can bring it to China very rapidly."
This year, 25 associates attended Daymon University, the company's internal training program aimed at addressing what Sender sees as a critical industry weakness: attracting and retaining the best and the brightest.
Last year, Daymon also went looking for good ideas within the establishment, hosting a series of forums with vendor chief executives across the country to share feedback. Sender emerged from the process with a growing conviction that retailers and suppliers need to support global data synchronization.
"We need to go to the next level with a global data pool of shared, common attributes and a system that describes ingredients in a cohesive fashion," he said.
Rob Price, chief marketing officer for Wawa, the convenience chain in Wawa, Pa., said Sender "manages to maintain an abstract view on transforming the company, but he's a business person, and he's guided Daymon to a position of financial stability where they are able to innovate without putting themselves at risk."