Food and Beverage Industry Ready Y2K

Ninety-percent say they are in final stages of preparedness

With just over three months remaining before the Year 2000 ,food, beverage and consumer product makers report significant progress in fixing problems associated with the Y2K computer glitch.

A new survey on Y2K Readiness and Contingency Plans by the Grocery Manufacturers of America and Ernst & Young, LLP shows almost 90 percent of respondents have completed the final stage in identifying, fixing and testing areas impacted by Y2K.

Companies report confidence in both their own company's readiness, as well as that of their customers and suppliers - 97percent of respondents say they are very confident or confident their supply chain will receive, fill, ship and invoice orders without disruption through New Year's Eve and beyond.

Almost 97 percent say they are very confident or confident their contingency plans will successfully prepare them to thwart any Y2K-related issues with minimal impact on their businesses.

"Consumers should feel at ease that the food industry will operate normally in the weeks before and after the Year 2000 conversion," GMA's C. Manly Molpus, CEO and President says in a press release.

"Our survey results confirm that food and beverage companies have gone beyond identifying and fixing Y2K problems. The vast majority have already tested their systems to look for glitches and are focusing efforts on contingency planning, one of the food industry's core strengths," says Molpus.

Other key findings from the survey:

-- More than 95 percent of respondents said they have a contingency planning program in place to help handle potential disruptions.

-- 94 percent are confident or very confident in the Y2K readiness of retailers.

-- 92 percent have completed the inventory and prioritization phases of contingency planning.

-- 89 percent have contingency plans for critical business processes, internal systems and trading partner failures.

-- 70 percent plan to modify production schedules at one or more manufacturing facilities (i.e. temporary plant shut-downs).

-- Telecommunications companies, direct materials suppliers, banks and electric utilities top the list of trading partners included in the food industry's Y2K assessment/review efforts.

-- Respondents report budgeting an average of approximately $34 million for their Y2K conversion efforts and have spent an average of $27.5 million to date.

The Y2K survey is GMA's second assessment of food, beverage and consumer product manufacturers' Y2K readiness - the first survey was conducted in December 1998. Information reported in the survey was collected in June 1999 from 77 of GMA's 128 member companies, which account for approximately 90 percent of the food, beverages and consumer products sold in U.S. supermarkets.

Source: Ernst & Young Press Release

DATE: 10/11/99

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