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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

FMCG Reaching the Consumer Shelf: 4 Frequent Flaws to Avoid

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Mar 23, 2022

Nearly there! The last step of the Enchange 6-part model when you finally get your product on the shelf. Actually, you do not do it yourself but you rely on Shane from the retailer back of store. How can you ensure Shane does an excellent job? We will find out below.

The Enchange 6-Part Model is a simplified view of the FMCG supply chain showing how to get your stuff in front of consumers. With so many hurdles and unknowns, this is not a slick and problem-free process despite Producers being in possession of a myriad of IT tools and techniques.

These are the 6 simple steps:

Step 1: Sourcing

Step 2: Demand PlanningSupply Planning

Step 3: Manufacturing

Step 4: Warehousing

Step 5: Transport

Step 6: The all-important Consumer Shelf

dj-rapid-change-consumer-in-post

Four Frequent Flaws – Consumer Shelf

Your arrival at Step 6 was probably not smooth and predictable but finally you close in on the end point. Having gone through much pain and expense to get this far you really do not want to mess up this crucial step. If your beer/detergent/chocolate is not on the shelf, consumers will pick up someone else’s.

This article considers the important final step and how you can make Shane (and the Store Manager) a happy chap by considering 4 actions you should take now.

Here are four frequent flaws you can avoid.

Your stock is on a truck at the retailer loading bay, what could possibly go wrong here?

1. You’ve got to pack a pallet or 2.

Is there anything more heart-breaking for a logistician to open a truck and find carefully prepared products damaged and in disarray? Bottles smashed, liquids spilt, boxes crushed and very little is going to find its way on to shelves. Nobody in the Producer-Retailer-Consumer triad is happy and all are losing something.

If you are delivering well-constructed, shrink-wrapped pallet loads and the truck is full you are unlikely to suffer transit damage unless you let Richard Hammond drive. The problems arise when you or a 3PLP pick and pack mixed pallet loads. Irregular and unstable collations of packs which are not used to being together must be very carefully assembled and shrink wrapped. Resist the temptation to go even 1 layer higher as instability increases and the risk of damage is increased.

2. You can count on it.

Sadly, the Retailer-Producer relationship is often tetchy and lacking in trust. Each party actively looking for fault in the other. I have lost count of how many times product and packaging has mysteriously evaporated inside a sealed truck or container. How does that happen? Missing and damaged goods cause more paperwork and inevitably lead to delays in cash collection. Of course, humans make mistakes and picking errors do occur but look out for routine shortage claims from the same retailer or location. Claiming shortages can become habit forming and a bit of a game for stock receivers.

The delivery driver has to check the seal and remain present until the receiving count is complete. No popping off for a coffee or a glowing death tube because that is the time when stock evaporates into thin air. This evaporation can be a few pieces, a couple of cases or even a full pallet. The latter I have personally experienced with a very famous retailer!

3. Share some skills.

Ok, the count is complete and anything that is not damaged or missing is ready for the all-important last 50 yards/metres - that relatively short journey from back of store warehouse to the shelf. Here is where producers can help Shane who may be a dab hand at Wordle but knows nothing about FMCG logistics.

Many producers have recognised this important last lunge to the shelf and have started coaching customer staff in managing these last 50 yards. Transferring some basic supply chain skills and procedures to retailers improves stock control and ease of movement in often space constrained conditions. Simple initiatives like arrows and pallet markings on floors, adherence to FEFO/FIFO and easy access to the faster moving SKUs will pay rapid dividends for both parties.

4. Time waits for no man/woman.

And certainly not for FMCG producers delivering to Key Accounts! Whether it is direct to a store or to a logistics platform, producers will be allocated a delivery slot. Take a look at the back of a large supermarket or cash & carry and you will see lines of trucks patiently waiting for their chance of offload and move on. Should you miss your slot it is highly likely the delivery will be rejected causing empty shelves for your products and disruption to your own logistics.

Your transport should benefit from carefully constructed route planning to provide the best chance of delivering to multiple KA’s on time and in full. Certainly, delays can occur on the road network and those are unavoidable but tardiness due to lack of attention to route planning is unforgiveable.

What next?

If you need to make supply chain change in the next 2/3 months, we are just a call away.

Feel free to use any of our contact routes including Live Chat, if you have any questions about how the Enchange Supply Chain House can assist your journey to supply chain excellence. 

Read more articles on Supply Chain Excellence and Route to Market on our website where you can also subscribe to our frequent updates.

 

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, RTM, supply chain excellence

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