Mr. Fields: don’t run out of cookies
Randall Fields is probably best known in Park City as the co-founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies. He may not have been a wiz in the kitchen himself, but his business savvy helped grow the company. Now that same savvy is allowing his new company to boast third-quarter gains.
The Park City Group helps "supermarkets and their suppliers be more efficient in their management of inventory," he explained last week.
When he and Debbi Fields started over 30 years ago the shelf life of a cookie was two hours, he said. It took very sophisticated organization to guarantee store staff had all the supplies they needed to make as many cookies as they could sell, but no more.
The strategies developed by the company were featured in a Harvard Business School case study in 1994 about the management of information technology. Fields has offered his inventory management services to clients through Park City Group since 2001, he said.
Last year, the company acquired Prescient Applied Intelligence, Inc. to round out the company’s offerings and provide a "complete supply-chain solution" from end to end, he said.
One might expect any business tied to retail to be struggling in the recession, but Fields said his strategies increase sales and reduce labor costs.
"The largest problem today for markets and suppliers is being out of stock. We help them focus on how to eliminate that," he explained.
Once all the product someone might buy is available, his system makes tracking inventory easier, and thereby eases the lives of people in the retail industry.
That pitch has been a successful one in the recession, he said.
"We have a company now that is growing rapidly and is quite profitable. Most importantly, the products we’ve brought to market are gaining a great deal of traction," Fields said. "For the Park City audience, it means there’s another successful software company in town."
Fields said he’s proud that a large majority of his clients come from outside Utah, so bringing them to his office for meetings supports the community’s tourism industry.
Also, the success of IT companies in Summit County help diversity the local economy and shelter it from swings in the tourism industry, Fields added.
"We’ve been lucky. For us, this is a good economic environment," he said. "When the economy is sluggish, the need for what we do is accelerated."
In today’s retail business, the supply chain is terribly broken, he said. One reason Walmart has had such good success is its relationship to suppliers and its ability to hold them accountable for keeping them in stock. Park City Group can help every company achieve that kind of relationship, Fields added.
For the fiscal year third quarter ending March 31, the company boasted $3 million in revenue a 20 percent increase over the previous period.
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