United Fresh releases wholesaler-distributor reportProduce wholesalers and distributors have a new tool to show how they compare with their industry peers.

The Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association said it is making available a new 82-page benchmarking report that allows produce companies to measure their labor practices, sales practices, procurement, inventory management and other factors by ownership type, primary customer business segment, produce sales, case volume and other variables.

In the section on labor, the report reveals industry responses concerning the use of collective bargaining agreements and temporary employees. On sales practices metrics, the report quantifies the prevalence of online ordering compared with phone, fax and personal sales.

The paper also shows the average annual dollar value per case for wholesalers and distributors, by region and type of firm. It also true shrink as the percent of sales and the average fill rate. Other metrics on warehouse operations and outbound transportation practices are detailed in the report.

“The Wholesaler-Distributor board identified benchmarking data as a key resource needed for our industry,” Lisa Strube, director of finance for Chicago-based Strube Celery & Vegetable Company and chairman of the Wholesaler-Distributor board, said in the release. “This resource will help fellow produce wholesalers and distributors identify key operational areas that affect business performance and help these companies stay competitive in the marketplace.”

Ron Carkoski, chief executive officer of Four Seasons Family of Cos. and past chairman of the Wholesaler-Distributor board, plans to give an overview of the report at the Wholesaler-Distributor Super Session June 12 at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago.

The new report was prepared by research firm Industry Insights, according to the release, and United Fresh’s Wholesaler-Distributor board oversaw the development of the report.

“Their expertise was crucial to this project, and the board plans to explore additional benchmarking resources that can benefit the wholesale & distribution sectors,” Miriam Wolk, vice president of membership & marketing and staff liaison to the Wholesaler-Distributor board, said in the release.

The report is available for purchase via the United Fresh website. Companies that submitted data are eligible to receive a fully-customized report for their company for $95. Non-survey participants can order a copy for $195 for United Fresh members and $295 for non-members.