Supply Chain Blog

Supply Chain Performance: Budget Airlines and KPIs……

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jun 14, 2017

I have never been a fan of budget airlines and certainly not since one left me sleeping overnight in the back of beyond that is Luton Airport. That may be an exciting addition to a student’s back-pack holiday itinerary but when you have a glass back it is not so appealing.

Nevertheless, they do fly to or near to where I need to be and the prices are much cheaper if you book well in advance, don’t pay with a credit card, don’t carry any luggage, don’t eat or drink, wish to sit next to your wife or use the toilet (thank you Fascinating Aida).

So, once again I found myself on the busy Birmingham – Bucharest route after visiting the heiress and some things are inevitable on a no-frills airline. I know the dimensions of my carry-on bag but so many others either forget to check or think they will get away with a dayglo sausage the size of Sicily without paying the penalty fare. That’s how they make their money; last minute, extortion, take it or leave it.

My second frequent observation is that there is usually someone sitting in my seat when I board. Yes, they move when challenged but only to another seat which is not theirs either. I know some airlines do or did provide a free seating/chaos policy but when you have a seat allocated on the boarding pass, sit in it!

Finally, we are off the ground and ascending before soon the engines throttle back and this is when I want to shout out some helpful advice to the captain, “change gear now”. I know how planes work but that bit off take off always makes me uncomfortable. The beep of the seat belt sign going off leads to an immediate dash for the toilets (I hope they pre-paid) and a long line of shuffling bodies.

The line of casually shuffling bodies soon turns into a twitching queue of concern as the red toilet sign above the cabin remains illuminated. Phones are consulted to pass the time and refocus the mind; people even read the safety information booklet and the duty-free magazine which is anything but duty free, of course.

Finally, a Flight Attendant needs to transport a metal trolley on inedible stuff to the other end of the plane and realises she cannot possibly conquer the lavatory line and politely knocks on the toilet door. No answer. Another tap-tap-tap plus an enquiry if everything is OK also fails to change the indicator from no-go red to free flowing green. The red light seems to glow brighter as if to irritate those with crossed legs.

This is now serious as the inedible stuff is getting cold and more people are standing in the aisle than sitting in seats. The pilot is probably having to battle with the controls to keep the plane centrally balanced. Something must give and judging by the faces of the queuers, this will be very soon. The red light glows.

Then action; the queue is guided away from the toilet door and back behind the curtain. Male and female crew members are poised to open the door using the emergency switch and they don’t know what or whom they will find. The door is cracked open as male and female eyes strain to see which crew member will take the lead and help the possibly stricken passenger. The red light vanishes and the green for go appears above the curtain. Relief is at hand.

There’s nobody in the toilet. The grateful mass of people takes one step forwards as the end is finally near.

FMCG_SUPPLY_CHAIN_HUMOUR_KPI_ANALYTICS.jpgSo, what went wrong? Will the cleaning service at the destination find something a very unexpected item in the garbage area? Is someone hiding in the skin of the aeroplane plotting something nasty?

There was never anyone in the toilet in the first place and staff had forgotten to flick the switch to make it open for business. The red light stayed illuminated but it was not telling you what the real situation was with toilet occupancy and the impasse was allowed to go on for quite some time. The KPI (kay pee aye) was showing red but it was not telling you the reality and certainly not everything.

Don’t always believe your KPIs are telling you the whole story; challenge them routinely. They are frequently an indication of performance at a certain moment in time and a longer-term view is necessary as the business evolves. If your business is in trouble you may need a set of Recovery KPIs whereas a booming business on a roll may need a set which is far more forward thinking and aggressive. Supply Chain Analytics help you take the longer term view.

Blindly believing long term over or under performance can see your company quickly performance go down the pan.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, Humour, Performance Improvement, Pharma, KPI, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Analytics

Supply Chains – Managing internal & external 3/4PLP expectations

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Feb 22, 2017

American sit-coms. With very few exceptions I personally do not find them at all funny. At times the funniest part is hearing the hilarious canned laughter when nothing in the least bit humorous occurs. MASH, Taxi and Cheers are the only sit-coms out of hundreds that managed to connect with my sense of humour. This is a personal thing of course but I do not like Raymond and I never got into Friends or what I consider its males deceased sequel, The Golden Girls.

Maintaining the comedic theme, not everyone likes Donald Trump either. The recently installed POTUS has certainly ruffled some feathers and while I am not going to dwell on the content of what he has done or said, the fact is that he is essentially doing what he said he was going to do. The Donald was voted in on certain promises and he appears to be trying to deliver. That ends my toe dipping into American comedy and politics (is there a difference anyway?) and now to Supply Chain stuff!

SUPPLY_CHAIN_3PLP_4PLP.jpgSo how is the above relevant to Supply Chains across the globe? In preparation to outsource or renew transport and/or warehousing contracts to 3PLPs or 4PLPs, an important part of the process is gathering the views and expectation of the key stakeholders. This will ensure the tender process and tender documentation are designed specifically for the company in question and also in good time.

Even within a small FMCG company board team the motivation for outsourcing will vary widely.This table shows where priority interests may lie across the management team and with customers. There is no guarantee any outsourcing arrangement will achieve one or more of these benefits but each is possible.

 4pl-3pl-expectations-supply-chain.jpg

As you can see, individual functions may have very different expectations from outsourcing the corporate logistics operations. Of course, everyone in the team should be working for the best all round company performance but these are the benefits at the core of their functional expertise and requirements. For example, lower working capital will excite the Finance Director but will be met with a blank stare from S&M colleagues.

A key step at the start of an outsourcing process is to find out what the internal and external stakeholders expect and equally importantly, tell them what they can expect in reality. Managing the various and often competing expectations will be an important task for the outsourcing team to avoid wasteful post project debate and mudslinging. Care though, benefits will not be delivered from day 1 so ensure the current and following annual plans reflect a sensible phasing.

If the project delivers broadly what was agreed after the stakeholder interviews there will be no place for any board room dramas or even alternative facts!

Image courtesy of vectorolie at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, Humour, 3PLP, 4PL

Supply Chain Analytics: Sprouts, Imodium & Harry Potter

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jan 18, 2017

Christmas and new year holidays seem a long way behind. The decorations have been squeezed back into their boxes for another year and Slade, Cliff, Bing, Bowie and others are safely back in their CD cases. Turkeys around the world are rejoicing as much as the children who do not have to tackle Brussels Spouts for another 12 months.

 

As ever, platform 9 at London’s Kings Cross station is a lonely place jam-packed full of people. Fellow commuters all with the same futile hope of securing a double seat with a table and a charging point nearby. A seat of any kind would be a bonus on your daily commute out of London to Cambridge on the 07.44 but at least this train will run and is on time. This must be the only form of transport globally where you can pay a premium seat price to stand next to a blocked toilet. Enjoy!

 

Blue Monday, even the odorous toilet spot has been taken so you are further relegated to the unheated bicycle area which must have been designed for Eskimos with unicycles. Settled as well as it is going to get, your thoughts turn to the new year ahead and the depressing expectation of the same old operational problems and challenges popping up. The slow chug-chug of the train brings the first lines of Bohemian Rhapsody to mind as an apt description of how you feel:

 

Is this the real life?SUPPLY_CHAIN_ANALYTICS_IT_FMCG.jpg
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

 

This sneaks into your head repeatedly even as the chugging slows and Cambridge eases into view. Time to snap out of it and get the business hat firmly on. At least the new ERP is in place and after a 3-month error-ridden ramp-up it should be ready to support the business a little better than the in-house, low cost, back of a fag packet version that lasted more than 10 years. There is a lot riding on this expensive ERP; this ERP will finally tell us what is really happening in our supply chain.

 

Well no, it will not.

 

Don’t worry, you have not invested heavily in the wrong software. The ERP will do exactly what is says on the tin which is probably in the German language.

 

Thinking back to that train toilet, consider for a moment that your ERP is Imodium – a fantastic product which does exactly what it claims on the pack. You can trust Imodium to get you from A to B where B is not necessarily where you want to be but it is a place of distinct safety and comfort. Imodium does not tell you what went wrong inside nor does it tell you what to do differently to avoid the same effect at a later date. In short, Imodium slows down your business but doesn’t tell you what is wrong.

 

What you need is some form of Supply Chain Analytics to sit on top of your ERP/Imodium – not a substitute. Your new ERP will have automated your usual ways of working but this seldom leads to huge improvement and often, performance visibly worsens with the increased noise and operator nervousness in the planning processes. Inevitably, the forecast takes the blame. The issues lie within the supply chain processes, the set-up of the IT systems and how add-on tools are being used. To protect themselves, your supply chain managers are buffering supply chains with unnecessary inventory and backside-protecting lead-times.

 

Analytics uses your data to analyse and diagnose what is happening in your supply chain by providing a suite of tools and dashboards to model the implications of your decision making. Achieving extra visibility across the supply chain inevitably delivers better service, lower costs, happier people and a supply chain that is easier to manage.

Analytics is transforming the way organisations improve performance and gain competitive advantage, every day. Even on those cold, wet Mondays when you are at the station contemplating another standing commute. Take a look at Supply Chain Analytics and you will find yourself with exclusive access to Kings Cross Platform 9¾ and we all know what magic is possible there!

Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, CEO, Humour, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Analytics, IT

FMCG CEO 2016 Letter to Santa Claus (aka Father Christmas)

Posted by Dave Jordan on Tue, Dec 20, 2016

FMCG/Brewing/Pharma CEO Letter to Santa ClausDear Santa,

I have been a very good FMCG CEO this year, I promise. If you want, you can check with my shareholders. They know how good I have been this year. Apart from the out of stocks of course, oh and the little mistake when we had to write stock off and waste lots of our money. But that is not so bad is it? Other CEOs were naughty last year and they still got what they wanted from you.

I had better be honest because you will know if I am not telling the truth. We also had a problem starting S&OP and so our planning, forecast accuracy and sales were not very good. They were not really big problems so I hope you can forget about them this time, please. Next year I promise to do better, I do, honest.

I forgot about the Route To Market (RTM) mess we had in the peak sales months but that really was not my fault. I also promise to do something about RTM next year and make sure it works properly so people who buy our products are not disappointed again. I know it is bad when people come to buy our products and then spend their money on something else. I will talk to our distributors and Enchange and find out what we need to do.

I know, I know, when the new ERP computer system was switched on we were not really ready for the change but we did make it better as fast as possible. I did not think we needed any outside help for the new IT but I admit I was wrong. Next time I will get it right, hopefully without having any lost sales.

The factory thing was not my fault, I think. The factory man promised me lots of product but his machines kept breaking down at the wrong times and we had to wait for the fixing men to arrive. They took ages to get the machines working again and then they broke down again and again. No, it is not a very reliable factory, yet.

Does the warehouse problem count against me as well? We could not find our products when we wanted them and then when we did find them they were old and out of date and of no use. This was very sad but it will not happen again next year, I hope.

I have just read my message again to make sure I did not spell any words wrong and I see I was not as good as I thought. Actually, after reading this I am going to the chimney to take my stocking down and put it away in the Christmas storage box. I will try again next year, Santa.

Bye bye and Happy Christmas.

CEO FMCG

Image credit: HikingArtist.com

Tags: Route to Market, Christmas, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, CEO, Humour, Performance Improvement, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Sales, Inventory Management & Stock Control

The Twelve Days of Supply Chain 2016

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, Dec 19, 2016

On the first day of Christmas, 12 days of SC Xmas  Small2 copy resized 600
Enchange gave to me 
A robust S&OP. 

On the second day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the third day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the fourth day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
Streamlined logistics,
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the fifth day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics,
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the sixth day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
A suite of KPI’s 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics,
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the seventh day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
SupplyVue Analytics
A suite of KPI’s,
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics, 
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the eighth day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
The RTM Tool, 
SupplyVue Analytics
A suite of KPI’s, 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics,
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the ninth day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
Return on investment 
The RTM Tool, 
SupplyVue Analytics
A suite of KPI’s, 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics,
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the tenth day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
Great Customer Service,
Return on investment 
The RTM Tool, 
SupplyVue Analytics
A suite of KPI’s 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics 
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, 
Enchange gave to me 
Integrated Supply Chain, 
Great Customer Service, 
Return on investment 
The RTM Tool, 
SupplyVue Analytics
A suite of KPI’s, 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics 
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,                                                                          Enchange gave to me
APO Implementation
Integrated Supply Chain, 
Great Customer Service, 
Return on investment 
The RTM Tool, 
SupplyVue Analytics
A suite of KPI’s, 
Better bottom line, 
Streamlined logistics 
An ERP go-live,
Two fine consultants, 
And a robust S&OP.

Have you got your breath back? Finally, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and an increasinly prosperous New Year!

Image courtesy of Nora Ashbee at Enchange.com

Other seasonal posts:

Tags: Christmas, Dave Jordan, CEO, Humour, Performance Improvement, Supply Chain, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning

FMCG CEO Christmas Gift: Implement S&OP – Slade style!

Posted by Dave Jordan on Fri, Dec 16, 2016

Christmas is coming around faster than ever and who better than Noddy Holder and Slade to give a Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) process to your business as a present. This song has been heard at Christmas every year since 1973! If you have been living in a cave on a remote island and don't know the tune you can click here for the original, boring non-S&OP version.

1 2 3 4.......

Are you looking at your sales chart on the wall? Sales and Operational Planning
Is it the time you have to stop the fall?
You’ve tried overpaying salesmen,
You’ve loaded up the trade
Do you need to find a better way?

Chorus:
So here it is S&OP
Everybody should run one
Look to the future; how?
Six months or even one.

Are you guessing how much you’re going to sell?
Are you suffering high out of stock as well?
Does supply chain always tell you, pre-SOP is best?
So why not work together for a test?

Chorus:
So here it is S&OP
Everybody should run one
Look to the future; how?
Six months or even one.

What will the salesmen do
When they see their targets being met?
Ah ah
They’ll be changing the chart gradient on the wall.
Not for them will sales fall and fall.
When you implement S&OP you make quite a change
Looking back the old way will feel so strange.

Chorus:
So here it is S&OP
Everybody should run one
Look to the future ;  how?
Six months or even one.

Noddy knows best so why not find out about S&OP now and give your business the perfect Christmas gift.

Image courtesy of Nora Ashbee at Enchange.com

 

Tags: FMCG, Christmas, Dave Jordan, CEO, Humour, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning

Santa & Opening Presents - S&OP is Invaluable at Christmas

Posted by Dave Jordan on Fri, Dec 09, 2016

“Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh…”

How many of you started to sing then? Yes, the festive period is fast approaching and the biggest and best Supply Chain in the world is almost ready to activate. This is always the most efficient Supply Chain whatever Gartner may say.

There is no way Santa Claus could achieve his annual success without sticking rigidly to an S&OP process, i.e. Santa & Opening Presents.

The process starts every year on the 26th December just as children start to play with the empty packaging instead of their much sought after gifts. Their engorged parents lounge sleepily in front of the television watching The Great Escape or Jason & the Argonauts – again! The loyal Elves are given their end of season bonus and packed off back to Eleveden Forest in Suffolk. Didn’t you know that is where they live for most of the year?

Before January is over those lovely people who design toys and games quickly introduce new and more exiting models which will become must-haves for countless girls and boys. Toy shops are visited and millions of children quietly note those presents they would like Santa to bring them this year. The demand slowly builds until it is time to bring the Elves back from Suffolk on the eleventh day of the eleventh month – no coincidence there! The first job for the Elves is to get the huge Christmas factory ready to run once again.

santas_sop_planning_cycle_small.jpg

In parallel with this, millions of children around the world unzip their pencil cases with a purpose. Using their best handwriting they tell Santa they have all been well behaved this year and then  list all the presents they would like to receive. This accumulated demand allows the Elf factory to start making production plans to meet a deadline that is set in stone. Is there a peakier peak period?

Money does not grow on trees so “Santa” must quickly check what can be afforded from the budget. Remember, the wish lists are always too long and you do not want 100% Customer Service  – keep “em hungry”, I say. The Pre-S&OP takes place with all stakeholders involved to ensure everything is ready to go. You want to avoid stock-outs just as much as you need to avoid expensive write-offs.

After necessary adjustments are made to the planned volumes by SKU the final S&OP takes place. Bearded Santa is fully dressed in his best red uniform and takes his seat. If Pre-S&OP actions have not been carried out, then there is unlikely to be much “Yo Ho Ho-ing”. Fortunately, everyone is in agreement and the final set of child and associated gift numbers is rubber-stamped. Everyone involved in the Christmas S&OP must operate on the same set of numbers or somebody will be disappointed.

The big day comes and Rudolph leads the reindeers in pulling the delivery sleigh across the world in a complex logistical challenge. Santa makes sure all the presents are delivered on time before little heads lift from pillows to wake parents at 4am! (Well, I did.)

 “Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight”

Before you know it, there we are again on 26th December and the same robust and reliable S&OP cycle starts once more. See you next year Sant

Image courtesy of Enchange Ltd at Enchange.com

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Christmas, Humour, Supply Chain, S&OP, Logistics Management

Case Study: FMCG (Friendly Man Carrying Gifts) RTM (Reindeer To Market)

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Dec 07, 2016

Client :         Santa Claus aka Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, St. Nick or simply Santa

Market:        A large part of the World

Scope:          FMCG Reindeer Route To Market Distribution

Deliverable: Evaluation of RTM against sector benchmarks

table xmas.png

In summary, this Enchange project delivered:

  • A detailed evaluation of the Christmas RTM deployment highlighting strengths and weaknesses.
  • A grading of each core element in terms of capability to deliver the presents in comparison to benchmarks.
  • A framework development plan for parents and Santa Claus.
  • A clear business case for the continuation of Christmas. 

We would like to thank Mr. S. Claus for allowing us the opportunity to evaluate this important Reindeer To Market network. The network is in very good condition and we wish him every success on the 25th December.

Give your FMCG business a Christmas present and evaluate your Friendly Man Carrying Gifts (FMCG) Reindeer To Market (RTM) network. Need help with your RTM deployment? Click here and we will give you a call.

Santa image courtesy of stock images at freeditialphotos.net

                                               Other seasonal Yo Ho Ho posts:

FMCG_RTM_SUPPLY_CHAIN_HUMOUR.jpg* Santa & Opening Presents - Why S&OP is Invaluable at Christmas
* The Twelve Days of Supply Chain

Tags: FMCG, Christmas, Humour, Supply Chain, RTM

FMCG & Shakespeare? Macbeth S&OP Soliloquy

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, Apr 25, 2016

As we one again celebrate St George's Day and the 400th birthday of William Shakespeare (also the date he died, coincidentally) what would the great bard think about Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) in FMCG businesses? Let us take a look......

S&OP ala Shakespeare

Is this a plan which I see before me, 
The numbers are as we planned? Come, let me see.
They are not, I see two numbers, still.
Art thou not following S&OP, incredible!
Your “gut feeling” could be right? or is this but
A plan of the sales mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the bonus-obsessed brain?
I see this yet, inform others
As this which you cannot ignore.
Thou shall assure me S&OP gets going;
And the S&OP instrument I want used!
Mine eyes see the foolish lack o' consensus,
Or else worthless at best; I see this ill,
And on thy supply plan remove doubts of “could”,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the demand plan which conforms
Thus to mine eyes. I must see minutes recorded
Pre-SOP must go ahead, and ERP is in use.
The gaps could be deep; discussion eliminates
Take extra offerings, and work even harder,
Align by this meeting, calm the sales wolf.
More minutes you attach, thus with stealthy pace
With colleagues at your sides, a single plan design
Move on to the Board. Ensure a firm-set plan,
Fear not our quips, the way we talk, no fear.
Some small adjustments we may talk about.
And take the present plan and deploy as,
This now suits the Board. S&OP is done, and leads
Towards defeat of those where S&OP lives not.

For fans of the man himself, here is the original William Shakespeare work.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

For a view of the lighter side of all things supply chain please click here.

 

Tags: FMCG, CEO, Humour, Performance Improvement, S&OP, Sales

FMCG Foods: Hugh F-W and UK Retailer & Producer Waste

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Nov 04, 2015

Good to see chefy type and anagramists dream Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall speaking out about the continuing food waste in UK. After the faceless, expenses-hungry suits in Brussels relaxed the laws some years ago retailers have been allowed to vary their acceptance standards for misshapen fruit and vegetables. This has resulted in horrific food waste as shown by the non-pretty parsnip mountain in Hugh’s link above.

I don’t know about you but if I see a potato that looks like a Telly Tubby or a carrot that looks like a pair of knobbly legs with a fake tan or an onion that looks like a light bulb I buy them straight away; no hesitation. My favourite “ugly food” purchase was a spud (aka potato) that looked like Tony Blair. You could tell by the eyes he was lying, again. How I enjoyed making mashed potatoes that day.

Obviously, if your potato or carrot is so misshapen that there is going to be excessive waste involved in peeling the thing then this is far from cost effective. However, the vast majority of misshapen or “ugly” produce is perfectly fit for cooking and eating and surely having a culinary guffaw at the same time is healthy. Cosmetically defect but nutritionally perfect.

In these difficult economic times are we being too rigorous on FMCG/Drinks product quality? Ok, I accept you cannot take any risks with pharma or perishable food quality but in these difficult economic times are companies being unnecessarily rigorous, particularly with packaging defects? There is no debate necessary concerning usage instructions or safety advice but small blemishes would not be noticed by the vast majority of loyal consumers.

I can hear the QA purists angrily stamping their feet and making comments like "over my dead body". They will argue that brand image is paramount and any packaging defects must be wholly funded by the suppling company. Gaining a refund on any particular faulty batch of packaging materials is not really relevant as the supplier will recover the cost from you one way or another. What is worse? Having a product on the shelf with a minor, insignificant defect or no product on the shelf at all?

What about the contents of the packaging; is there any leeway there? Drinks manufacturers cannot possibly QA each unit of sale and in fact wine producers assume a reject rate of 8% due to ‘corking’ – prior to the introduction of plastic corks and screw caps of course. Yes, I questioned that defect rate too but it is correct so your seasonal celebration case of 12 southern hemisphere bottles has an even chance of one with a foul, musty taste.

I just wonder how much money is being unnecessarily wasted at a time when nobody – private or corporate – can afford to lose a penny. No doubt at quarter and year-ends travel restrictions and the freezing of discretionary spend budgets will be rolled again out as FMCG producers try to meet the numbers they “agreed”.

The hot and possibly ugly potato is that they may be missing easier opportunities to achieve their tough targets.

Image courtesy of feelart at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Dave Jordan, Humour, Performance Improvement