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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

FMCG Route to Market – the Warehouse to Customer journey

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Sep 02, 2015

Your Supply Chain has been revised, optimised, transformed or even blue sky’d – yes, honestly have been present when this was used but managed to stifle a guffaw into a cup of hot chocolate. What a smooth running well oiled machine it has become. Processes and procedures have achieved ISO standards in all areas and KPIs shine like a halo above the Supply Chain Directors swelling head.

You source competitively and you have a robust Supplier Certification process in place. Raw and packaging materials arrive on time in full and the supplier relationships are good.

Manufacturing operates like a Rolls Royce with the full raft of certification and manufacturing excellence credits. You really are producing tomorrow demand today.

Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) is alive and kicking and has the full buy-in of all functions, even sales and marketing. The top team has a monthly love-in with the Board S&OP meeting.

A proactive 3PLP partner is in place and operates your logistics to best in class cost and standards. Stock shrinkage is minimal and even fuel and tyre consumption are routinely monitored to keen costs keen and service on track.

Your Route To market (RTM) distribution partner operates at a Customer Service Level higher than the completion with universe coverage approaching 100%. This RTM news sounds too good to be true and certainly if you are not careful it can suddenly go really bad. No, I mean really, really bad with all sorts of body parts going over each other. Let me tell you a short factual tale......

FMCG_RTM_TT_SALES_SUPPLY_CHAINThis week I joined an FMCG sales agent on his daily journey to deliver temperature controlled products to traditional trade customers. I did not know what to expect as Cecil (not his real name) chugged away from the chill of the warehouse and towards the steaming metropolis. While many tasks were completed well the overall experience was a disappointment. Here’s why.

1.The chiller unit was not working correctly so product integrity was immediately at risk

2.The van air conditioner was not working so quickly both Cecil and I looked like we had run a marathon.

3.Orders were picked in the rear of the van while the door was open for several minutes and no air curtains were present. (Picking on the move, beat that Amazon.)

4.There was space to pick in the van as space was only 20% utilised.

5.Cecil made “on the hoof” decisions on the route plan as we repeatedly passed the same landmarks including a bus stop packed with female students.....

6.The van remained unlocked while Cecil was inside the outlets making the deliveries and collecting cash.

OK, this was one spot check in a full year of RTM deployment but I am sure a majority of these observations will be present in other areas and with other sales agents. This is the sharp end where sales are made and cash collected so however impressive you Supply Chain may be it is imperative that FMCG producers regularly experience the final face to face customer experience. Far too many sales managers are sat in offices appearing to work hard while actually following the cricket/rugby/football on the internet*.

* Delete as appropriate for you.

Image courtesy of palZiyawit at freedigitalphotos.net

Tagss: FMCG, Route to Market, Supply Chain, Sales, RTM Assessment Tool