In my D&E career I have lived and worked in many different countries on all continents except the Australia/New Zealand bits. Oh, and the North/South Poles of course – not a lot of demand for FMCG there, yet. There is one recurring theme that seems to link D&E markets together and that is the standard of driving and this is directionally proportional to the standard of the road infrastructure.
Within this broad brush view on driving skills there is another even clearer relationship. In every country you will see people driving like complete lunatics to get to work as fast as possible. They will undertake, tail-gate, exercise the horn/lights and produce various arm, finger and hand movements all designed to get the “idiot” in front out of the way. This will almost certainly be while the driver is holding a mobile phone to his – and it usually is male – left ear with his right hand.
The relationship here is inversely proportional. After taking so many risks, upsetting other drivers and the inevitable onset of wrist arthritis, those who drive like Lewis Hamilton on drugs to get to the office invariably are the most unproductive and laziest employees. Ok, a bit of a generalsation but I have seen this so many times. Aggressive on the road yet ineffective at work. Travelling as fast as possible to do nothing!
Is your Route To Market (RTM) blighted by the same relationship? Do you have a distribution system that is rapid, slick and reliable? If you do, very well done but that is far from the end of the story. Getting your “stuff” into outlets is one matter but getting your “stuff” off the shelves particularly in Traditional Trade (TT) channels requires a little more thought and care.
Five frequent failing factors that undermine a well developed and supportive Supply Chain:
- OOS on shelf yet stock is in the outlet store.
- Dirty, dusty stock with quality defects.
- Coolers/display stands used by competitors and for general storage.
- Outdated POS materials on display – old logo, old positioning, old promotion etc.
- Close to or expired stock on shelf – no FIFO/FEFO stock rotation.
All of these and more, will trip up the logistical journey you have made from raw material to customer face. You may have sold stock to a customer but if you want success and growth you need a consumer to take your “stuff” home, use it and come back for more. This is where the sales force has to step up to the mark and be relentless and diligent in ensuring their “stuff” is present, presented well and continually re-stocked on shelves.
Getting sales staff to maintain vigilance and quality in store should be a major part of your reward and remuneration scheme – not just driving sales-in.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net