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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

Why does S&M cause so much pain in FMCG businesses?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, Nov 15, 2010

No, honestly this is a blog about Supply Chain! Those seeking advice on leather and chains should return to Google now.

Sales Forecast by MarketingWithin an 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 exist it is the same S&M brigade aiming the first kick and usually in the direction of Supply Chain colleagues. These people must be covered in Teflon because you never, ever see an S&M colleague admit to an error or a delay or a poor forecast.

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

Innovation? Innovation is a pseudonym for “let’s cause maximum internal disruption”. Barely detectable tweaks or the incorporation of a low level of insignificant perfume or flavour is considered to be the highlight of the year. Extra security 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 may be 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. S&OP? 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 dark arts of Supply Chain.

They claim to have their fingers on the pulse of customers and consumers yet their forecasts of demand are usually so far off mark you wonder if they 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 dialect that only Sales people can understand?

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

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning, Sales

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