Supplier Spotlights: Dover, Koupon Media & Zippo
NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.
Here are the latest supplier spotlights:
Dover completed its acquisition of Belanger Inc., which will become part of OPW, a business unit within Dover's Fluids segment. Belanger is a leading manufacturer of vehicle wash equipment and systems.
Valued by customers for its innovative designs and the durability, reliability and user-friendly functionality of its equipment, Belanger has served the industry for nearly 50 years, the company said.
DRB, a provider of technology-enabled devices and software solutions to the car wash industry, contributed $39,500 toward efforts to rectify recent actions by the Tennessee Department of Revenue (TDOR) that are presenting a significant financial threat to the state's car wash operators, the company said.
TDOR auditors are maintaining that providing assistance to vehicles entering a building, such as guiding vehicles onto conveyors, is subject to sales tax, which is not how most Tennessee car wash operators have interpreted the law, according to DRB.
A recent audit of one car wash within the state resulted in a tax assessment that could exceed $3.5 million by year-end 2018. The operator has filed an administrative appeal and if the TDOR decisions stands, all Tennessee car wash operators could be subject to similar assessments, potentially resulting in a domino effect in other states.
"We believe it is important to get out in front of this issue quickly to protect not only Tennessee operators, but the industry at-large," said Dan Pittman, CEO of DRB Systems. "We're proud to stand by our customers and fight for the best interests of the industry."
Inline Plastics Corp.
Inline Plastics completed the final phase of its corporate branding refresh campaign with the launch of a fully redesigned corporate website. The new site design features rich images and easy navigation, and is mobile-friendly.
"This site incorporates all the redesigned visual branding components we began rolling out last year," said Tom Orkisz, president and CEO of Inline Plastics. "Each of Inline's distinct brands — Safe-T-Fresh and Essentials — are easily identifiable and graphically show the respective family of products. But most importantly, it is extremely easy for our web visitors to find the resources and product information they need within a few clicks on the site."
The brand refresh campaign started in concert with the company's 50th anniversary in 2018.
JDA Software and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) formed a global partnership to build next-generation cognitive solutions and offer consulting and system integration services around digital technologies to optimize supply chains for customers worldwide.
The partnership will leverage the TCS Business 4.0 thought leadership framework and the JDA Luminate solutions portfolio, leveraging Blue Yonder's leading artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology to develop joint, interoperable technology solutions for supply chains of the future. These solutions will use TCS' machine-first delivery model to accelerate human-machine collaboration to solve complex business problems, faster and better, delivering multi-fold productivity improvements and transforming customer experience.
Through these solutions, enterprises can harness the power of cloud, AI and ML, allowing them to gain complete supply chain visibility and receive prescriptive recommendations to make accurate, profitable business decisions. Businesses will benefit from real-time predictive analytics and cloud-driven business models that help realize outcome-based supply chain transformations, JDA said.
"TCS' customer-centric approach, digital expertise and deep contextual knowledge aligns with our mission to optimize intelligent supply chains by bringing in predictive, prescriptive insights and recommendations that improve customer experience throughout our customer's end-to-end business," said Mark Morgan, chief revenue officer at JDA. "We look forward to leveraging TCS' expertise in the implementation of digital technology to further help our customers transform their supply chains and end-user journeys."
Koupon Media and NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, formed a new strategic partnership designed to accelerate the use of digital promotion technology within the convenience store industry, specifically related to mobile technology and couponing.
Through the partnership, NACS will leverage Koupon Media's leading promotion technology, CPG-funded offer content and promotion insights tools to further the success of digital offers in convenience stores. Koupon Media leverages the mobile commerce standards created within Conexxus, the c-store industry's standards and technology organization, to achieve revolutionary efficiencies in promotion distribution and management.
"Koupon Media is already considered the leading provider for the validation, redemption and reimbursement of digital promotions in the convenience retailing industry," said Brad Van Otterloo, CEO of Koupon Media. "Our team is proud to partner with NACS, the organization that has led the development of and ushered new technologies into the c-store industry for more than 60 years."
Drug delivery platform innovator Lexaria Bioscience, through its wholly owned subsidiary Lexaria Nicotine LLC, has teamed with Altria Group Inc. to pursue innovation in oral, reduced-risk nicotine consumer products using Lexaria's patented DehydraTECH technology. DehydraTECH enhances the performance of beneficial compounds in ingestible products across four categories: taste and smell, speed of action, bio-absorption and bio-availability, the companies said.
Altria is funding a milestone-based research and development (R&D) program in exchange for a minority equity interest in Lexaria Nicotine and certain DehydraTECH license rights. Altria will provide initial funding of $1 million, with the option for additional funding of up to $12 million through multiple, phased private financings.
"Lexaria Bioscience is proud that, after careful selection, Altria has chosen to fund research into DehydraTECH technology and potentially commercialize this technology for oral nicotine," said Chris Bunka, CEO of Lexaria Bioscience. "This partnership will provide significant benefits to Lexaria Bioscience and its shareholders with a world-class R&D program and regulatory compliance process. We believe Altria is the best corporate partner we could work with to truly make a difference in the lives of millions of consumers."
OPW Retail Fueling
OPW Retail Fueling launched a new website at opwglobal.com. Easy to navigate, mobile-responsive and elegantly designed, the new site embodies OPW Retail Fueling's commitment to defining what's next across the globe with fluid-handling solutions, the company said.
"We're extremely proud of the new OPW website. It was designed with our customers in mind first and foremost," stated Ed Kammerer, director of marketing and global product strategy. "The user-friendly layout allows customers to easily locate any product within just one or two clicks.
The enhanced design of the new website also introduces a series of helpful features and offers a superior experience for new and returning visitors, according to OPW. It includes a resource library complete with technical guides and training videos.
Zippo Manufacturing Co.
Zippo reached a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Northern Lights Enterprises Inc., a leading designer of luxury candles and artisan-made accessories across the United States.
The acquisition will add a diversified product line, new distribution channels, critical know-how and expertise in a fast-growing, on-trend category to the Zippo family of brands, according to the company.
"Northern Lights gives Zippo new capabilities and expertise in candles, and our system can create opportunities to grow the Northern Lights brand worldwide," said Zippo President and CEO Mark Paup. "Northern Lights is a great brand to add to the Zippo family, and we're looking forward to continuing Northern Lights' growth into an even stronger and widely recognized international brand. Northern Lights also gives us access to markets which pair well with Zippo products, and offers new segments and opportunities."
Zippo will leverage its existing international channels to begin globalizing the Northern Lights brand and product offerings, with the opportunity for additional expansion.