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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

FMCG, Drinks, Pharmaceuticals: Mind the performance gap

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, May 07, 2014

I have recently returned from three days in London attending the Integrated Business Planning (IBP) Summit – more on that event in another blog. Now, I am not a frequent traveller in London or the UK in general for that matter so getting around is always a challenge and particularly when travel by the underground or tube is required. All those people! In the rush hours at each end of the day there must be more people underground in London than those with sky visible above their heads.

Huge columns of people continuously pour in and out of tube stations. Endless streams of unsmiling people striding along clutching the Evening Standard, bags in hand and Star Trek equipment in one ear. If there were any wildebeest visiting London they would look on in awe and take photographs on their telephones. (Aside – funny how these hands-free ear piece sets allow you to talk to yourself without being considered a loony now.)

As the crow flies my personal journey was the relatively short trip from Hammersmith to Shepherds Bush and being a temporary London commuter I assumed the tube was the way to go. I duly checked my newly installed tube app, tapped in my location/target and waited for my underground journey to be revealed. In a flash the travel information appeared on the screen.

  From Ravenscourt Park take the District Line
  Change at Gloucester Road to the Circle Line
  Change at Notting Hill Gate to Central Line
  Leave the train at Shepherds Bush

FMCG_Route_Planning_Sales Wow, that was more complex than I expected. Three trains on three different tube lines? I tried the reverse journey just to test the routing and sure enough the journey back to the hotel required the same sub soil complexity. What is more, the journey time was an astonishing 39 minutes each way.

I looked at the map app and realised the distance on foot was just over a mile and at a leisurely pace I could arrive in 24 minutes. With good weather forecast for the duration of the trip – yes, I was in UK – I untethered Shanks’s pony and enjoyed a walk to and from my destination in far less time than I would have spent on a tube train.

No wildebeest watching me as I ambled along on a very stress-free journey and one where I did not have to avoid eye contact on a packed metal sausage. No pushing and shoving. No being forced to listen to the hiss of what someone thinks passes for music from ill fitting ear phones. No “mind the gap”…………

“Mind the gap”. “Mind the gap”? That gap could well be your FMCG or Pharmaceuticals company failing to reach monthly targets, again! You may have all the glitzy technology in the world but if your logistics and/or you distributor route planning sounds like my London Underground experience then you will continue to struggle. Step back and sense check the developing reality rather than always relying on technology, apps and gadgets as they can lull you into a false sense of security that you are doing what is best for the business.

Tunnel vision gets you nowhere near your destination and that light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, it’s a train.

Image courtesy of adamr at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Dave Jordan, Supply Chain, Traditional Trade

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