NEW ORLEANS -- The candy industry is about to merge onto the information superhighway with the American Wholesale Marketers' MarketPlus CD-ROM program.
The electronic data base program -- which condenses volumes of manufacturer product information onto a single computer disk -- was a topic of great interest at AWMA's annual winter convention here.
According to Gerald Abraham, senior executive vice president for S. Abraham & Sons, Grand Rapids, Mich, "Nothing exists like it in the industry today. This is extremely positive for our industry, and it benefits everybody."
If all goes according to plan, subscribing wholesalers and retailers will receive a disk once a month starting in September, he said. "And it will be current, consistent information because it comes straight from the manufacturer."
Abraham said the disk includes information about new products, pallet configurations, deals, line art, spec sheets, product lines and UPCs. He added that MarketPlus, with startup costs under $5,000, is a "major service for a minor investment."
Jim Gagliarducci, chief executive officer of Sunmark, St. Louis, agreed. In fact, he reported that Sunmark was the first manufacturer to participate in the program. "Nestle, our sister company, is also on board.
"It was a no-brainer for us to sign up. Our distributor customers wanted it. It's going to make everybody's job easier," Gagliarducci said. "We think MarketPlus is like having a salesperson in your office everyday."
Automated Catalogue Services, Wayne, Pa., is producing the disk. Company officials demonstrated the program's capabilities at the convention seminar.
In just seconds, MarketPlus produces manufacturer product photos and information on categories such as shipping, planograms, nutrition, point-of-purchase, promotions, base case prices and new items. MarketPlus was designed to function on any IBM-compatible personal computer or PC network with Windows and a CD-ROM drive.