Business analysts evaluate businesses to identify weaknesses and create plans for improvement. They work within a variety of business settings, including the food industry. Some are jacks of all trades, while others prefer to specialize in one business type. A bachelor's degree is the most common way of entering the field, though some business owners prefer to work with analysts who hold a master's. The exact field of study for this position is management consulting, but since few colleges offer courses in this field, comparable degrees in studies such as business, accounting and economics are acceptable alternatives.
Before an analyst can make any suggestions, he has to thoroughly evaluate the business in question. In the food industry, this could be a restaurant, a food distributor or a grocery store. He'll conduct interviews with the employees for an insider's view of what works and what doesn't and spend time on-site observing business operations. He'll go over financial records, examining revenue and expenses. He also examines food trends to see what's selling and what isn't. As of 2013, for example, frozen foods sales are declining as consumers look for fresher alternatives. An analyst will recognize this and steer companies away from frozen meals.
The next step for the analyst is to create a report of her findings, both good and bad. Then she sits down with the business owners, investors and managers to give them her evaluation of their food-industry business. She outlines the good but concentrates on describing the problems she has identified.
An analyst's education gives him the tools to create a strategy for fixing problems and implementing new ideas. The goal is to see the business run efficiently and effectively and become competitive with other food-industry businesses. He may make suggestions for employment restructuring, eradicating outdated equipment and reorganization. A business analyst's influence on the food industry can be massive; even fast-food giants rely on business analysts to choose optimum locations for new restaurants and when and how to remodel existing ones. Analysts remain in touch with business owners to ensure strategy success.
Life of an Analyst
Almost one-third of business analysts worked in excess of 40 hours a week in 2010, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's due in part to how much time they spend on the road visiting clients. Nearly a quarter of the 718,800 working that year were self-employed. They often work with tight deadlines and face pressure from expectant clients. The average salary for analysts in all fields was $78,600 in 2012, according to O*Net Online, but exact figures differ from company to company. Kraft, for example, pays its analysts an average of $76,000 as of 2013, while Sysco pays $53,000, reports Career Bliss. Pay can also vary depending on experience and education.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Management Analysts Do
- International Institute of Business Analysis: What Is Business Analysis?
- Esri: Restaurants Optimize Site Locations
- U.S. Foods: Category Business Analyst in Rosemont, Illinois
- O*Net Online: Summary Report for Management Analysts
- U.S. Foods: Job Description: Financial Analyst Supply Chain
- Food Business News: Frozen Entree Sales Continue to Cool
- Career Bliss: Average Kraft Foods Business Analyst Salaries
- Career Bliss: Average Sysco Food Service Business Analyst Salaries
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