Musson: creating value through manufacturing and distribution
Deika Morrison, Guest Writer
In the 1960s, the late Desmond Blades led a management buyout of a very small operation that has today grown into one of the largest conglomerates in the Caribbean and Central America with more than 5,000 employees.
This is the Musson Jamaica Group, and here is one way to look at how this phenomenal evolution has happened.
Long-term sustainability requires what is called 'a foundation strategy'.
Effective marketing strategy is considered to be among the most critical of these and it is achieved through just the right mix of four key elements - product, placement, price and promotion - familiarly known as the 4Ps. It is all four, not one or the other that drives business.
To achieve just the right combination, a company must understand the environment, consumer needs and be able to marshal company resources in the most cost-effective manner to meet those consumer needs in the given environment.
This is challenging in a local context, even more so in a global environment. Yet, the Musson Group has not only met that challenge, it has mastered it.
First, let us look at product and price together.
Excellent products sell. Define excellent? Superior brand equity, while meeting quality and safety standards, as well as consumer needs whether functionality, or style or both.
In its six main lines of business - consumer distribution, telecommunications, business solutions, services, food manufacturing and non-food manufacturing - the Musson Group brings leading international brands to the local and international consumer, and creates and delivers its own extensive range of locally manufactured items.
The coexistence of the local and international brands within Musson has provided the group with a strategic advantage.
Indeed, Chairman Paul Scott, who succeeded his grandfather, does not hesitate to say that the group's experiences with leading international brands have raised the bar for its own manufactured products. Local processes have been made more efficient. Local packaging has been made more attractive. Local pricing has been made more competitive. The result? Musson's own manufactured products compete more effectively in international markets.
Second, let us look at placement, or distribution, which makes it possible to reach intended target markets where consumers are located and when they want to buy. This is what drives the Musson Group.
"Musson is a distribution platform," said Scott.
Not any distribution platform, but a world-class distribution platform operating in more than 30 countries in the Caribbean, Central America, Europe and the Pacific. Local brands are distributed within and outside of Jamaica. International brands are also distributed within and outside of Jamaica.
Through cultivating and sustaining excellent relationships with multinationals, and investing to meet those needs, Musson has deliberately built a distribution platform for delivering the very best products in the most effective manner.
Third, let us have a brief look at promotion. The many companies of the group are more well known than the name 'Musson' itself. In a deliberate strategy to be closer to the consumer, each company projects its own individual identity.
With a clearly defined and executed strategy, benefits accrue to Musson and Jamaica.
Through its distribution platform, Musson brings the Jamaican productive and service sectors many key inputs that are just not manufactured here - and can never be, since no country produces everything. Those goods enable other companies to be world-class producers and service providers.
Equally, that world-class distribution platform delivers Jamaica's products around the world, generating sales for locally made products.
Without question, Musson considers its food and non-food manufacturing entities critical to its business.
Indeed, more than half of the companies in the group are manufacturing entities. Scott makes it clear that with significant investments in this distribution platform - complete with warehousing and storage facilities in other jurisdictions - Musson is keen to provide some of those goods themselves and distribute for other local manufacturers.
With operations in so many countries, Musson has achieved a level of geographic diversification that allows it to meet any unforeseen challenge better than most.
Fully integrated from farming right through manufacturing, distribution and retail, with supporting services, Musson is poised to successfully undertake new challenges.
Musson Jamaica Limited and Associate Companies
Consumer Distribution: T. Geddes Grant, Facey Consumer Division, Musson Food and Drugs Division, Industrial Sales.
Caribbean Products, Jamaica Grains and Cereals, Serge Island Diaries,
Serge Island Farms, Musson Food Factory Division, Acme Spices Division,
International Biscuits, Belvedere, Golden Grove Sugar.
Non-Food Manufacturing: Cosmetics International, PC Vendreyes, Reliable Packaging
Telecom: Facey Telecom Division, Radius, GAP
Business Solutions: Productive Business Solutions.
Services: General Accident, Orrett and Musson, CD Alexander, Dorada Financial.
For each category, there is a range: beverages, canned foods,
condiments, corn products, cosmetics, dairy products, edible oils and
fats, household paper products, pasta, seasonings, snack foods, sugar
and many others.
Bursti, Butterkist, Cannon, Chef Oil, Chiffon Margarine, Dove, Eve,
Geddy's, Gold Seal Margarine, Gourmet Oil, Jammin Kidz, Lander, Lider,
Miracle, Monster, Morning Mist, 'Njoy, Nupak, Ovaltine, Paco, Pick Nix,
Pronto, Serge Island, Snackables, Snowflake Shortening, Swizzle, Vytex.
Other exports: Sugar and mangoes.
Deika Morrison is managing director of Mdk Advisory & Consulting Limited. She is compiling a catalogue of Jamaican-made products and support services. www.jamaicacatalogue.com.