5 steps to partner pet food companies with universities

Pet food companies can form profitable relationships with universities by following a five-step procedure.

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Kent Glasscock, president of the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, during his presentation at Petfood R&D Showcase 2017 on October 11 in Manhattan, Kansas, USA. | Tim Wall
Kent Glasscock, president of the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, during his presentation at Petfood R&D Showcase 2017 on October 11 in Manhattan, Kansas, USA. | Tim Wall

Pet food companies can form profitable relationships with universities by following a five-step procedure, said Kent Glasscock, president of the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, during his presentation at Petfood R&D Showcase 2017 on October 11 in Manhattan, Kansas, USA.

"This is K-State's way, buts it’s also the way that you ought to work with any university in this country or around the world,” he said. “It's a process that makes sense, and it a process that we have used repeatedly with the private sector, small and large.”

1. Engage

The engagement step usually starts with faculty, he said. K-State’s academic and research enterprise teams form connections with pet food companies and look for ways to work together for their mutual benefit, and for the benefit of society at large.

"We want to understand individual company's needs, challenges and opportunities,” said Glasscock.

2. Align

In the alignment state, pet food companies and university researchers want to delineate the company's desired benefits, along with the academics’ goals from the partnership.

"Sometimes those things just don't match, but the good thing is you know that right up front,” Glasscock said.

3. Enable

Once universities and pet food companies find a common ground, they can examine strategies that will enable them to succeed. Developing this integrated strategy between university and partner usually means a GAP analysis, said Glasscock.

When considering resources needed to enable success, planners may realize K-State is missing talent needed to enable partnership to occur. 

"If so we need to address that, or if we can't, we need to find the best person on the planet and bring them into the partnership as well," he said.

4. Advance

Once a unified strategy is developed, but before implemented it, Glasscock recommended identifying metrics the partnership will use to gauge success.

"What are the milestones we have to reach in order to know if we are making progress?" he said.

5. Enrich

Eventually, the partners begin to realize their desired benefits. But the team shouldn’t disband once achieving their objectives. Instead, they should establish a decades-long relationship, Glasscock said.

"True partnerships are not transactional,” he said. “They are strategic. So, as the world evolves, so too will our strategies with that company evolve over time to create new solutions for new problems.

Petfood Forum 2018

Petfood Forum provides an opportunity for pet food professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas and do business with one another and with the industry's leading pet food manufacturers and suppliers. Petfood Forum 2018 will take place at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on April 23 -25, 2018.

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