So, we have reached April and Q1 is already done and dusted; how were your results? Be honest, did you push, push, push to make last year’s final number and shoot yourself in the foot for Q1? From what I understand very few companies will have had a comfortable end to the quarter. Whatever business you are in e.g. FMCG, drink, pharma, the markets remain very difficult.
Did you make any Supply Chain resolutions? If you did you may already have broken them but let us recap at those I suggested towards the end of last year. There might still be time to maximise the effectiveness of your extended supply chain and have a storming end to the year!
- Supply Chain Awareness – this one is not time dependent so do this at any time and you will achieve a greater SC understanding around the business.
- Sales &Operational Planning –the principles of S&OP are designed to prevent “offline” or stock-loading decisions and this may well be the process to avoid a repeat of the year-end push. If you do not operate a robust planning process then you might consider implementing S&OP. Sooner or later all your competitors will be operating at least something similar and you will be left behind with negative growth when the markets warm again.
- SKU Complexity – this really is a no brainer and again, not time dependant. If you have limited resources and financial budgets then you need to ensure you are backing the most profitable skus. Filter out those skus which really do not add any value – you will have some.
- Route To Market – if you are in a business heavily influenced by the weather , e.g, drinks, ice cream, DIY then now is the time to stand back and see exactly how well your network is equipped. Once the world’s greatest salesman is shining bright it is too late for the year. The summer period will make or break those weather sensitive businesses and there is simply no opportunity to play catch-up.
- Sales & Marketing Buy-in – in parallel with the SC Awareness resolution this could actually make difference. Once people understand how their decisions affect the rest of the company they may actually join the team rather than sit outside sniping!
- Proactive 3PLP’s – have you met them recently to review performance? Did you meet at the appropriate level in the organisation? 3PLPs require constant attention and monitoring. Failing to give your 3PLP sufficient surveillance will have a direct and immediate impact on your business performance.
- Reduced Stocks – unsuccessful promo packs still gathering dust? That blockbuster new product launch that did not meet aspirations is still in the racks? Look at your stock levels on a regular basis and keep your chain lean.
- Improved Customer Service – ultimately the measure by which you can gauge and improve your business performance. If you do not know your CS Level on a daily basis by sku then you are not in control of your destiny.
- Use the ERP – this one keeps coming back as an issue for major companies who have invested heavily in big-name ERPs. While they certainly have a role to play the use of a “shadow spreadsheet ERP” is damaging.
- Continuously Improve – keep innovating and improving your Supply Chain. Don’t be afraid of new initiatives like retailer platforms; work with retailers to erase the problems and produce big win-wins!
Yes, there really is still time to change your business performance by getting improved value from your Supply Chain and it is not rocket science.