Supply Chain Blog

FMCG: Do S&M cause pain in your business?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jun 10, 2015

FMCG_SM_pain_in_businessNo, honestly this is a blog about FMCG Supply Chains! Those seeking advice on leather whips and chains should return to Google and search again now.

Within any FMCG business are there any people lacking more in structure, discipline and planning as Sales and Marketing colleagues?  A resounding and harmonious “no” is the answer from across the global Supply Chain community. When the chips are down and challenges arise it is the same S&M brigade aiming the first kick and usually in the direction of Supply Chain colleagues nether regions. These people must be covered in Teflon because you rarely see an S&M colleague admit to an error or a delay or a poor forecast.

Have they ever considered how the business could perform at a vastly superior level if they just turned up as team players for once? The “me, myself, I” attitude and wholly inappropriate superiority complex cause untold damage to the smooth running of growing operations. Total disregard for policies and procedures is the norm along with a seemingly deliberate desire to de-motivate others.

Innovation? Innovation is a pseudonym for “let’s cause maximum internal disruption”. Barely detectable tweaks to artwork or the incorporation of a low level of insignificant perfume or flavour is considered to be the highlight of the year. Extra security staff will be needed in supermarkets as consumers break down the doors to get to the latest version of Bloggo. Is it me or is innovation always late? Yes, no matter how late the innovation process, the rest of the company is expected to maintain the originally networked launch date.

If only they could drag themselves away from that agency business lunch to attend an S&OP meeting. Sales & Operational Planning? Oh, that Supply Chain thingy. No, no, no! The rest of the world seems to get the fact that S&OP is a business process and is not an evil being thrust on them by the darkest arts of Supply Chain.

They claim to have their fingers on the pulse of customers and consumers yet their demand forecasts are usually so far off mark you wonder if they actually benefit from a pulse of their own. A blindfolded man paying darts is likely to be equally accurate.

And why are Sales so secretive and evasive about their customers? They seem to deliberately avoid any contact between the customer and other members of the company who just might understand their supply needs a little better. Perhaps customers talk a strange language that only Sales people can understand?

Ok that is enough, I think; time for a glass of something and a lie down in a dark room.

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, Humour, S&OP, Sales

FMCG Supply Chain: Famous Last Words

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jun 03, 2015

Speach_bubbleThe “Famous Last words” of people can be intriguing, rude and frequently very, very funny yet equally they can be complete nonsense. In the context of the FMCG Supply Chain, “Famous Last Words” are usually uttered just before something disastrous or unexpected happens. Rarely is the term used with the expectation of good news to follow.......

Here are some “Famous Last Words” you may hear in your FMCG, Brewing or Pharma business meetings:

  • CEO/Chairman: “This S&OP process works extremely well. I knew it would.”
  • Marketing Manager: “The new artwork will definitely be here in time for print production.”
  • Brand Manager: “Don’t worry there will only be three colours on the label artwork.
  • Finance Manager: “Working capital continues to reduce and will soon be negative.”
  • Sales Manager: “This month our forecast will be extremely accurate.”
  • RTM Manager: “The Distributor network runs like clock-work for us in Traditional Trade.”
  • Planning Manager: “All SKU on the price list are available for sale.”
  • Factory Manager: “We are reliable here; we do not have breakdowns or losses.”
  • Procurement Manager: “All RM/PM supply contracts are guaranteed up to year-end.”
  • Safety Manager: “Our last Lost Time Accident was well over a year ago.”
  • Logistics Manager: “No problem, plenty of space in the warehouse at month ends.”      
  • IT Manager: “Crash? Don’t be daft this software is bomb-proof.”
  • HR Manager: “We run a happy ship, people are content and nobody useful ever leaves.

Nothing is ever as simple as it looks and sometimes commitments and promises fail to materialise but why always just at the wrong time?

There are many more examples from real life so please feel free to leave yours in the comments section. Why not give us a call if you hear far too many of these statements in your business.

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Tags: FMCG, Route to Market, Dave Jordan, Supply Chain, S&OP