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Call It Natural. Call It The Best. Just Call It Good Business.


Nature’s Best uses a voice distributed control system in warehouse management. via

Baby boomers remember natural food back in 1972.

It was what’s for dinner at the macrobiotic commune while the rest of us gorged on bags of burgers.

Or what the muscle guys ate to show how they developed without going on the juice, while taking the juice.

Most likely, natural food memories center on a home garden and store-bought bean sprouts.

Natural food didn’t make it to the table with parents who thought processed food was as nutritious as fresh.

Thank good science and time to make the distinction.

You can also thank Jim Beck.

This is a man who joined Nature’s Best in 1972. Today he is the President and CEO, but it’s not the same company. What’s changed in the past forty two years?


“The health food craze was quickly gaining steam and people were looking for natural and organic food, and food without genetically modified organisms wherever they could find it.”

Call it a health food craze, or a reading craze for people who started noticing ingredients labels, but why not call it what it is: a good sense craze.

Mr. Beck saw the good and the bad of natural food over the years. The good came from working with the right people and introducing better food to the marketplace; the bad came from delivering better food to the end consumer.

You’ve heard the saying about an army marching on its stomach? It’s true by my own marching experience. The U.S. Army moved food services out into the middle of nowhere on marches. Imagine rounding a corner at the thirteenth mile of a twenty miler and finding cooks and grills and the sweet aroma of warm food when least expected.

It’s the same thing Mr. Beck saw in an expanding natural food market. Since the shelf life for natural food is shorter, getting it to the store on time became a big priority.

This is where the issues of an effective supply chain touches all boomers.

As with the online experience where finding the right information on a website ought to be a click or two away, getting perishable goods loaded on the truck and on the road needed fewer ‘touches.’

Inside-the-box planning might say keep doing what you’re doing, just do it better. Outside-the-box thinking looks to the future and works back to the present. What it meant for Jim Beck and Nature’s Best was re-investing in storage and transportation.

Modern warehouse facilities, software tracking, and refrigerated trucking set the company on it’s long range plan. But something else pumps up the volume, the music, of successful re-imagining.

Mr. Beck said, “…at the end of the day the guys that made it happen are all the guys who run the place. The pride of ownership and the pride of success that came out of it for those people was probably the most rewarding thing for me because they did it.”

Does this sound like a coach giving his team credit for the win instead up jumping up to say he did it all? That’s what real leadership does.

For all boomers working on their next business, take note. Find the right people, those you can see motivate others instead of waiting for the next order to come down, and you’ll find gold at the end of your rainbow. Call it trust.

Will Nature’s Best cover the entire nation with their fleet of reefers? Will they reach foreign shores with the right shipping? You won’t need to consult the magic Eight Ball to think, “All Signs Point To Yes.”

The most rewarding part of the ups and downs of a business like Nature’s Best, and an executive like Jim Beck, is sharing the excitement at the grass roots level. Great warehousing and shipping might not sound sexy if you’ve never seen it in action, but it is a beautiful as any ballet.

Call it the Dance of the Lift Truck, or Dueling Pallet Jacks, just know that huge operations stay afloat with everyone’s dedication.

Jim Beck may not be a dance master, but he knows all the moves is this show.











About David Gillaspie
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