Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

The Right Data and Metrics are Vital for FMCG Route to Market Success

Posted by Ross Marie on Thu, Nov 29, 2018

For a successful Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Route to Market (RtM) Strategy, we must be able to measure our performance across the market, internally within the company and externally against the competition and wider benchmarks. We must be able to measure the full spectrum of our RtM Targets, for example, our own sales performance, brand/SKU distribution, new product introductions, volume, revenue, mix, share, displays, in-store facings, pricing, promotion performance, payment terms, merchandising equipment & Point of Sale (POS) placement, visits, etc.

essential data and metrics for rtm strategy successWe must be able to do this by territory, by area/region, nationally, by channel, by sub-channel, by key account, by distributor, by retail group, etc. We then need the ability to easily compare these measured results against our targets, our competition and any other benchmarks. We must have the functionality to do this historically, against the current performance and against future targets.

The goal here from a RtM standpoint is to get as detailed, reliable and up to the minute information as possible, to allow us to take corrective action against problems or to recognise success as early as possible to spread it far and wide.

Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. Some of you reading this may have gone to ‘Mr Google’ for some help. What I am trying to do here is to point you in the right direction to create an amazing RtM strategy.

Over the past number of weeks, we have gone through the first 9 steps of my model. The focus of this post is Step 10, ‘Data & Metrics’.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 10 – Data & Metrics:

  1. Based on the RtM Review in Step 1, what is the data that is currently available to us?
  2. What are the performance measures that we are currently measuring against?
  3. What are our current data requirements, in absolute terms and in terms of data capture and maintenance?
  4. Based on the RtM strategy we have chosen what are the likely future data requirements?
  5. To what extent are there any specific areas we need to measure based on external factors (e.g. wider organisation requirements, legislation, regulations, brand launches, restructures, etc.)
  6. Do we currently receive data from our distributors, our retailers, our key accounts, any other customers or partners? What is the data – e.g. sales, stock, etc. If we do, what are we doing with it? If not, is this possible in the future? Have we tried to get it in the past?
  7. Is the data that we will look to measure currently available in the marketplace? Do we need to pay for it? Do we have it internally within our own systems?
  8. If we do not have the data available, will we be able to use a third party to provide it?
  9. Do we currently measure our levels of display, facings or adherence to planograms in the market? How do we do this? How effective it the measurement and our adherence?
  10. Do we have an existing Revenue Management Model? If so, what does it measure? Does our model capture the difference between pricing, mix and volume changes?
  11. Do you have volume that is moving from the traditional trade to the organised trade and eroding margins? Does our Revenue Management Model capture this?
  12. Are our Trade Discounts out-pacing our sales growth? To what extent are we capturing this?
  13. Do we have a cross functional approach to revenue management? Are sales, supply chain, marketing, trade marketing all involved in the process? Are we feeding this information into the correct departments for action?
  14. Which department controls pricing and promotions in our organisation? Is it part of the RtM function and how will it be measured, and the information captured?
  15. Is the current Revenue Management Model fit for purpose? If not, what might a new model look like?
  16. What systems are we using to measure all of this and keep track of performance? Do we have an infield CRM or hand held linked to a back-office system? Can we generate reports with ease or do we have information on spreadsheets? Do we have a system to consolidate this data and information? To what extent are we reliant on spreadsheets for this?
  17. What are the actions that need to take place to have these KPIs measured?
  18. Do we have access to external KPIs, either from the wider organisation or from our marketplace, so that we can benchmark our local activities?
  19. What are the agreed data requirements and set of KPIs that we will capture to measure the success of the RtM strategy going forward?
  20. What is our agreed Revenue Management Model?

I hope you find this useful, any views and comments are welcome. Next week I will cover Step 11 ‘Sales Incentive Program’. Please subscribe to the blog on this page, to ensure you don’t miss the latest updates on RtM excellence in execution and the 20 Steps model. If you would like to know more about the 20 Steps click here.

Tags: SKU, FMCG, Route to Market, ERP/SAP, Traditional Trade, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Information, Retail, RTM, Promotions, ERP, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

FMCG ERP and The Beatles.......? Spreadsheets cause damage.

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jul 04, 2018

Some time ago I wrote about the way spreadsheets were undermining expensively assembled ERP’s in FMCG, Brewing and Pharmaceutical companies. They still are, by the way.

Not too long ago a paper on Public Debt and Austerity published by 2 eminent Harvard Professors was found to contain errors in the Excel coding. Several significant countries were excluded from the data analysis and therefore the conclusions could not be accurate.

The glitch was spotted by a student who like everyone else, believed he and not the professors must be wrong. If you can make mistakes at this level then think what may be happening in your demand planning office. A decimal point in the wrong place or a misplaced cell could lead to market place challenges in stock availability or indeed, excess.Beatles_ERP_Spreadsheets

The bug in that Public Debt spreadsheet leads me to the Beatles – what a segue! Here is what Lennon & McCartney might have written about spreadsheets and ERPs.

Yesterday, an IT man took my Excel away
Now I have to plan a different way

How I wish it was yesterday

Certainly, I’m not as comfortable as I used to be
There's a new ERP in front of me.
How yesterday came shockingly

Why Excel had to go I don't know, IT wouldn’t say
Did I plan something wrong? How I long for the Excel way.

Yesterday, spreadsheet planning was the only way
Now I need to learn a different way
I need to believe in our ERP

Why Excel had to go I don't know, IT wouldn’t say
Did I plan something wrong? How I long for the Excel way.

Yesterday, poor planning was the only way
Error riddled spreadsheets everyday
Now I don’t believe in yesterday
Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

You can catch up with the classic Beatles track by clicking here.

If you do not run an ERP that relegates spreadsheets to useful and reliable supporting tools then you are risking poor planning in your business.  If you are running an ERP you might check exactly where the data comes from, where critical calculations are really made and how secure is the information.

Image courtesy of artur84 at


Tags: Dave Jordan, CEO, Pharma, ERP/SAP, Supply Chain, Forecasting & Demand Planning, ERP

How Spreadsheets Undermine Your FMCG ERP

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, Jun 11, 2018

Despite what you may wish to believe the answer is probably, yes. You have invested heavily in brand new ERP software and similarly heavily in some smart, young consultancy people to run the implementation. You will have spent some timing debating and making these choices as the change to an all encompassing and integrated ERP is a huge step and at the same time a huge risk for your company.

Suddenly the flexibility to back-date or correct entries is lost or at least there is a rigid and auditable procedure to follow in order to make any adjustments. Sudden uplifts in Sales cannot be slipped in unnoticed at month-end and neither can supply shortages or marketing tardiness with promotional activity. Everything you do in a good ERP is recorded and can be seen.

ERP System ImplementationIf your ERP really is the only software being used to run your business then a hearty well done to you. However, in a surprisingly large number of companies the all important role of change management has not received the required seniority or focus.  Staff who have been using spreadsheets for maybe 10 - 15 years (it was released in 1985!) cannot and will not stop using them just because they have been trained in a new ERP.  Spreadsheets are like a cuddly teddy at bedtime; they are familiar, comforting, not demanding and always there!

An element of your decision to implement a new ERP was probably a supplier guarantee that people productivity and data accuracy would be improved. In reality you will find staff operating a covert shadow ERP on the same old spreadsheets. Detailed planning, sales and allocation decisions are being made on spreadsheets and then manually inserted into ERPs. Commonly, decisions are taken in isolation of S&OP and lack the consistency that ERP master data brings plus the all important history development for the business baseline.

Staff efficiency and data accuracy have certainly not improved; they have worsened. The tedious “cut and paste” of data into the ERP is time consuming and fraught with error. Post ERP implementation is always a rough time for businesses  as they get to grips with a new way of working but is it any wonder some stay in a continual state of intensive care?

If you pay sufficient attention to change management you can lessen the impact. Should staff not see the medium terms benefits outweighing the short term inconvenience then they will operate the shadow ERP.  The change manager has to clearly show what the ERP brings to people first and subsequently the company – not the other way around.

Of course, one solution might be to deactivate the spread sheet program on the network until ERP discipline is second nature? Now, who is brave enough to do that?

Image courtesy of HikingArtist

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, Pharma, ERP/SAP, Supply Chain Analytics, Integrated Business Planning, ERP

Supply Chain – regular IT to Supply Chain Analytics

Posted by Dave Jordan on Thu, Aug 11, 2016

I am an App-free zone. I have to admit I am not a big App fan but at least I now know what an App is after a lengthy period of ignorant denial. Originally used only by cutting edge, bearded techies (sorry Steve), Apps have become a major part of routine as life seems to revolve around getting more out of mobile phones.

Some of these telephones are more powerful than desktop PC’s and the cameras are certainly as good as mid-range stand-alone versions. In fact, why is a mobile phone called a telephone anymore? The functionality is such a long way from the house brick sized “hand” sets you see on old shows like The Sweeney that another moniker seems appropriate.

Supply_Chain_Analytics_FMCG_PLANNING_PHARMA_IT.jpgWe do not call a modern car a wheel simply because that’s what started things rolling in that technology, do we? Nor do we call our curved, slimline HDTVs cathode ray tubes. Find a new name people!

Apps in industry and supply chain in particular tend to be rather larger in size and far more expensive but do they all do what it says on the tin? Largely, yes.

  • ERPs do bring a high degree of rigour, data collation and transactional integrity to complicated manufacturing and distributive supply chains.
  • WMS systems do provide you with inventory control, performance measurement and stock surety as a basis for excellent customer service.
  • DRP helps you plan the efficient distribution of your finished product.
  • TRP works to ensure your stock is on the move to clients in good time and with efficient fuel and time consumption.
  • APO can certainly help a company improve planning across the extended supply chain.

These and more apps or IT packages are certainly good news for people running complicated regional or global supply chains. While they all have a value and a role to play there is something they do not provide. 

Despite spending millions of Euros in sophisticated and not so sophisticated systems, are there any significant new opportunities to improve supply chain performance? Yes, and here is why:

  • All those increasingly complex IT-led projects have automated ways of working whether they are optimum or not. Generally, this provides incremental improvement at best and with significantly increased variability and caution in the planning processes.
  • The sales forecast is often blamed as the cause of whatever problem is current. In reality the issue lies within the supply chain processes, the set-up of the IT and/or how the various tools are being used in parallel and in tandem.
  • Managing this never ending supply chain complexity becomes the real challenge. Faced with this complexity and increasing uncertainty, planners buffer their supply chains with inventory and lead-times. Inventory becomes that large eared elephant in the room. Everyone knows it reduces free cash and adds unnecessary cost but nobody knows exactly what to do about it and even fewer are brave enough to propose anything.

There really is nothing positive about unnecessary inventory in the supply chain.

The answer? What is needed is better and more accessible data analysis to drive decision making across the supply chain and not in one stand-alone sub function. Decisions need to be taken based on facts and without the emotion or gut feel that is often the default motivation for immediate action.  This is where the App and half that is Supply Chain Analytics can contribute to your business success.

SC Analytics Apps or IT can sit above your existing transactional IT to overcome these challenges and help you ensure all the individual sub-functions are working seamlessly and synergistically. You do not write off your existing systems or put them in a box on a shelf; they all have a major part to play but they would benefit from supply chain analytics help.

Thinking about it, the term “supply chain” actually does reflect the reality for companies yet to operate with some sort of Supply Chain Analytics. Think of a heavy stainless steel chain draped across the desk. Yes, all the functions are indeed joined together but some links are not fully aligned, some lie at odd angles and overlap with others while others are stretched out and only just connect at the extremes. Doesn’t that sound like something that can be further improved?

Maybe the supply chain should actually be the “supply artery” without all the spatial confusion of a chain. The artery would continually supply the precise amount of product required at any time to any location as demand dictates and taking all environmental factors into account. Now, that is an App I would buy!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Tags: Performance Improvement, ERP/SAP, Forecasting & Demand Planning, Supply Chain Analytics

FMCG: ERP’s – how will you cope when yours fails?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jul 15, 2015

Yes I know, the recent blog posts have been a little Blog Gold meets Classic Blog with a touch of All Our Yesterdays and the History Channel but here is a fresh new offering.

The last few months have been very busy both on the business and domestic fronts. The heiress has completed her Honours Degree in Fine Art so perhaps the annual student house move is a thing of the past. Business has seen me helping to improve the logistics operations of 2 regional FMCG companies based in North Africa and the far, Far East of Europe, almost in Asia actually.

During one of my UK trips I had a bit of a melt-down on communications for a variety of reasons and I needed to send some information urgently. No PC, no smart phone and certainly no scanner forced me to ask a question that made me feel old and backward in equal measure. In the Post Office I asked if I could use their fax machine!

The lady looked at me as if I had asked her to do something horribly illegal and then asked her senior colleague if they actually had a fax machine. This reminded me of the Not The 9 o’clock News sketch where Mel Smiths’ character enters an electrical store and asks for a “gramophone”. Click here to see the late, great Mel and the future Mr. Bean in action.

The Post Office fax machine was not even plugged and was very dusty having clearly not been used for some time. Despite this, my handwritten notes were despatched along the wire accompanied by the noise only people of a certain age will recognise. The noise that sounds like a cat being squeezed through a mangle while singing Bohemian Rhapsody – go and look mangle up on Wiki if you don’t know.

ERP_Supply_Chain_FMCG_work_aroundSo, job done and quite cheaply too as I was charged the price from when the machine was last used. Four pages transmitted for 3 groats; not bad eh?

Why am I telling you this tale of technological woe? Recently a major multi-national FMCG company celebrated 10 years use of their globally harmonised ERP system. Despite the complexity and lack of real technical knowledge in the originally hired consultancy the implementation had proven successful. Management by spread sheet was a thing of the past, all transactions were diligently recorded and performance KPI’s produced on a weekly basis.

Excellent! Well, it was excellent until the ERP suddenly ground to a halt unexpectedly and just before the quarter-end. No ERP exists without glitches and downtime for necessary patches and fixes but this was complexly unplanned and at a commercially sensitive time. The usual rush to ship out the month-end peak of sales was in full flow when the ERP stopped issuing invoices. No invoice = no shipment = no sale (= no sales bonuses!).

The ERP was clearly not going to run again until well into the following month so what to do? No problem, just type out the invoices using a PC or even handwrite them. Ok, so this might take longer and there maybe some errors but at the very least invoices will be issued, goods despatched and sales value accrued.

Or not actually! Nobody knew how to issue invoices manually. All the old heads had shuffled off into retirement leaving the company without the basic but necessary experience. Slick ERP’s are wonderful but if you do not have routinely tested fall-back options you will find yourself in trouble one day. You almost certainly have dummy fire drills and dummy product recalls so why isn’t this case with your critical business system?

High quality ERP’s remove the need and ultimately the capability of people to think. ERP operators input data, produce reports and monitor rather than have to make decisions. In fact, they are not allowed to make decisions and that can expose your business when the IT fails and it will.

Image courtesy of PANPOTE at

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, ERP/SAP, Supply Chain, Sales

FMCG: New Top Ten Supply Chain Improvement Resolutions for 2015

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jan 07, 2015
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

How many of you will be reaching for an electric cigarette or giving up smoking altogether for the New Year?  How long will it be before visits to the gym trickle away? Will you get 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day or will that take-away, drive-thru dinner prove irresistible? All over the world people will be making promises to themselves they would like to keep but few have the staying power to make a difference. Is this possible in your FMCG Supply Chain in 2014?

How about this revised Top 10 List of resolutions to help your businesses improve in 2015?

Supply Chain Improvement ListSupply Chain Awareness – As a start you might like to remind colleagues especially Sales & Marketing what Supply Chain is all about.

Sales &Operational Planning - If this is in place; improve! If there is no S&OP you should try it - it works! If you are agnostic about S&OP, take a look at how S&OP helped one FMCG company turn performance around.

SKU Complexity – Do you actually know how many SKUs you have and what is driving your sku complexity? Do you have amore now than when you started 2014 yet lower overall turnover? Check and take action on non-profitable SKUs and ensure resources are placed behind winners.

Route To Market – In developing markets Traditional Trade will still form a large chunk of your business. Give your RTM a thorough service and your Distributors will serve you better.

Sales & Marketing Buy-in – Wouldn’t it be powerful if everyone in your company was aligned to the same plan and 100% mutually supportive? Too much to hope for? If such a change happens you will rapidly feel the difference.

Proactive 3PLP’s – Are they meeting the agreed KPI’s? Do you have KPis as part of a Service Level Agreement (SLA)? If perfromance is not what you expect then perhaps you need to review them and revise upwards.

Reduced Stock/Inventory – The start of the year is a great time to remove that old stock. Why not give your sales a much needed post holiday sales boost with some unexpected and low cost support using stock that will be otherwise written off? Amd you know it will!

Improved Customer Service – Do you measure this and if you do is the measurement 100% honest and accurate? Companies that fool themselves on Customer Service may see short term benefits but do not succeed in the long run.

Use the ERP - Avoid spreadsheets like the plague as they undermine your business and waste time and effort. If you have invested in an ERP like SAP then ensure it is correctly implemented and apply relevant transactional discipline. Is you business running on raw data or actionable information? Think about that!

Continuously Improve – If you stand still as this awful recession slowly evaporraates it is highly likely you will be at the back of the pack. Keep innovating and improving your Supply Chain to maintain competiveness and freshness.

Naturally, you cannot do everything at the same time but if you choose to focus on a few of these areas you will discover you can significantly change your FMCG business success by getting improved and sustainable value from your Supply Chain.
Make a resolution and just do it! You don't need to be Einstein.........

Tags: Customer service, SKU, Route to Market, Dave Jordan, ERP/SAP, KPI, S&OP, Logistics Management, Distribution, Inventory Management & Stock Control

FMCG ERP Selection: Road to success or road to ruin?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jul 30, 2014

I know this will not impress Jeremy Clarkson – and why would I want to? - but my first car was a Renault 5. I realise this is possibly only 2 steps up from a classic Citroen 2CV which Jasper Carrott likened to an upturned corrugated crab on wheels. My beauty was in a very shiny bronze colour or polished brown if you are being unkind. Inevitably it was my pride and joy even though it was not very high up on the list of “chick-magnet” vehicles.

FMCG ERP SAP CHOICE resized 600The top speed was just over three figures but that was probably downhill and without anyone else or anything in the car. After some time I realised I could actually move the car without using the engine as the floor had corroded so you could see the road. Only a minor glitch however, but it made tight parking easier.

Many years and many cars later I was presented with a choice of two vehicles; a nearly new Volvo XC 90 – yes, JC has one - or a ten year old Toyota Land Cruiser. The Volvo was very sleek and swish with all sorts of standard and added extras but to be honest I did not need many of them. The Toyota had seen over 200,000km and looked a little tired inside but the engine was one of the best they ever made.

For normal road driving the Volvo won hands-down due to the fresh, soft suspension and automatic 4WD which coped with what passes for roads in parts of Voluntari – take note Dl Primaria. However, when the snow appeared in the expected large quantities the Volvo could not make it up the road to the house. Irrelevant in the UK but here in Romania this is a significant factor for as sure as it will rain in UK in summer it will snow heavily in these parts come winter time.

So, inevitably the Toyota won the contest and is now 14 years old and approaching 300,000km. In any event I was always rather embarrassed when the fleet controller loudly asked me to release the Volvo for a service as he insisted on mispronouncing the car brand by swapping an “a” for the “o” at the end of the word.

All the technical specification data was pushing me towards the Volvo but when push came to shove I chose the car I knew could do the job and not the one everyone else thought could do a similar job. Similar jobs by definition are not the same.

This brings me to the sight of an FMCG CEO sitting with head in hands wishing she still had her old ERP instead of the new software which everyone said was wonderful and if everyone was buying,  then this must be true. The new ERP may have had electrically heated seats or internal climate control or even a voice activated sound system but it simply did not do the job that was required.

When making an expensive ERP decision be cautious and ask lots of questions and then ask them again. Is the ERP what you need or is it what the guy in front of you wants to sell? If you are not thorough in your evaluation you will end up with something that hinders not helps your business and this can take years from which to recover.

Image courtesy of mapichai at

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, CEO, Performance Improvement, ERP/SAP, Supply Chain

FMCG/Pharmacuticals: Macbeth Supply Chain S&OP Soliloquy

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Apr 23, 2014

As we celebrate St George's Day and the birthday of William Shakespeare (also the date he died!) what would the great bard think about S&OP in FMCG and Pharmaceuticals?

Is this a plan which I see before me, S&OP ala Shakespeare
The numbers are as we planned? Come, let me see.
They are not, I see two numbers, still.
Art thou not following S&OP, incredible!
Your “gut feeling” could be right? or is this but
A plan of the sales mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the bonus-obsessed brain?
I see this yet, inform others
As this which you cannot ignore.
Thou shall assure me S&OP gets going;
And the S&OP instrument I want used!
Mine eyes see the foolish lack o' consensus,
Or else worthless at best; I see this ill,
And on thy supply plan remove doubts of “could”,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the demand plan which conforms
Thus to mine eyes. I must see minutes recorded
Pre S&OP must go ahead, and ERP is in use.
The gaps could be deep; discussion eliminates
Take extra offerings, and work even harder,
Align by this meeting, calm the sales wolf.
More minutes you attach, thus with stealthy pace
With colleagues at your sides, a single plan design
Move on to the Board. Ensure a firm-set plan,
Fear not our quips, the way we talk, no fear.
Some small adjustments we may talk about.
And take the present plan and deploy as,
This now suits the Board. S&OP is done, and leads
Towards defeat of those where S&OP lives not.

The original William Shakespeare work.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives


Learn more about S&OP

Tags: Dave Jordan, Humour, ERP/SAP, Supply Chain, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning, Sales

Leading Edge S&OP: Periodically check for relevance & compliance

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Feb 26, 2014

As a sign of how long we have spent living in Romania we have adopted the Domestos si harnici si darnici or spring cleaning routine. The first target of this spring was the kitchen. All cupboards and drawers were emptied including some for the first time in several years. Lo and behold we had forgotten we were the “proud” owners of an item recently voted the world’s worst labour saving device. Yes, we own a battery operated revolving ice cream cone. Add this to the ice cream scoop that announces “ice cream here” in a very American accent and you can perhaps appreciate the challenge ahead.

Everything came out this year including the built-in cooker and the fridge-freezer. Even when empty the fridge-freezer was difficult to move out of the kitchen but after much pushing and pulling it was reconnected to power in the temporary home in the living room. That is when we noticed that the tiles where the fridge-freezer had been were different to those in the rest of the kitchen. That was rather strange. Why would the builder put different tiles in only 1 very small area? Did he/she run out of tiles and put in what was available or was it simply a mistake spotted in time before the whole kitchen was tiled?

S&OP compliance kitchen resized 600Neither. Closer inspection revealed that the mystery tiles were in fact exactly the same design but significantly brighter! (I hope senor management does not follow this blog!) The tiles that had been hiding under the fridge-freezer for so long were bright and with a shine while those elsewhere looked rather tired. I am not suggesting the darker tiles were dirty but they had simply been exposed to so much traffic over the years that their sheen had faded and any gloss finish that was there originally had vanished.

Can you see where I am going yet? That Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) process you implemented in 2005 may not be in the same condition as it was when Enchange left the building. Furthermore, that original design may not be wholly fit for purpose!

To ensure your S&OP still fits the bill take a look at our top 5 questions on ensuring continued relevance and compliance:

1.      1. Do the meetings still take place and are they minuted and with clearly defined actions?

2.      2. Are the correct people at the appropriate seniority level involved in the preparatory meetings and the Board S&OP meetings?

3.      3. Are the KPI’s still relevant for the stage and state of the current business? Perhaps stock levels are not now the key issue but it may now be customer service.

4.      4. Are the KPI targets stretching enough? Is your business actually cruising while measuring yourself against soft targets?

5.      5. Is S&OP the ONLY process used across the company for defining sales and operations capabilities on a monthly basis? Have underground spreadsheets emerged to undermine the ERP?

Have you tried to play a 7 inch vinyl record on a CD player? Do you still wear that day glow pink teeny-weeny bikini you bought at college? (I am thinking of the ladies here but you never know!) Is your mobile phone still the size of a house brick?

With the exception of any cross-dressers out there the answer will be “no”. Everything and everyone changes with time and so do supply chains and S&OP processes. From time to time you need to stand back and check if the tools you are using are still the best for the job. You would expect me to say this but that relevance and compliance check is best done by an external body which by the nature of their own business is up to date with S&OP/IBP development and innovations.

Take a look underneath the veneer of your S&OP process and assess if non-compliance is the cause of your stale sales.

Image courtesy of artur84 at

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, CEO, ERP/SAP, Supply Chain, S&OP

FMCG Supply Chain IT : ERP and WMS – use it or lose it Mr CEO!

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Feb 19, 2014

In a development similar to buying your first colour TV (yes my dear daughter, we watched black & white telly) or the first microwave cooker, I have finally bought a Smartphone. This is a significant step as my previous sets have all been robust, no nonsense sensible equipment which could probably survive a nuclear attack. The new telephone has a huge screen and the sales lady in the Vodafone shop told me it had the latest hemorrhoid operating system and piles of apps, or something like that anyway.

CEO Supply Chain IT resized 600Now I can access the internet, use Skype, check my email, see where I am on a map, store files in the cloud and even call people. Tapping numbers on a screen rather than depressing buttons is very new to me and this is providing an unexpected hazard. After ending a call I find that I inadvertently activate call-back dialing when I place the telephone in my pocket. While I am blissfully unaware other people and children in particular can hear my wife shouting “Dave, Dave you’ve done it again, stop calling me back”. The innocent and confused children ask “Mummy, why is there a girly voice coming from that man’s trousers?”

While I have so much extra functionality at my fingertips I doubt I will progress much past looking at the football scores on the internet. To be honest this is likely to be the situation until our daughter returns from university and shows me what to do.

All that technology, functionality and connectivity simply wasted. No, not me and the new Smartphone but you Mr. CEO; you and your Supply Chain IT purchases. In global companies there is usually a corporate IT buying strategy that all units have to adopt without argument and without the ability to “localise” the offering. Smaller companies can have more flexibility in their choice of IT supplier and they could and should certainly receive a bespoke solution tailored to their specific needs.

Yet last week I was surprised to see FMCG company XYZ had purchased various SAP modules including APO but had failed to install the software. Similarly, a new WMS was sitting in a virtual shiny box on the bookshelf. When you think about it, that is quite an investment which has not returned even 0.01% of the purchase price.  Why would you do this? Your employees are struggling along with an ERP that Noah rejected for its lack of numeracy power and Excel files the size of a small village. And guess what? Your in-market performance is continuing to slide down into an abyss from where even Bear Grylls could not escape.

Take the cellophane off the boxes and get your software installed before both your career and the IT become obsolete. Call me if you need any help.

By the way, I have purchased the same Smartphone for my wife. Be afraid children, be very afraid!

Image courtesy of anankkml at



Tags: Dave Jordan, CEO, Telecoms, WMS, ERP/SAP