Supply Chain Blog

Practical Questions FMCG Leaders Should Ask When Reviewing Route to Market Performance?

Posted by Ross Marie on Wed, Sep 26, 2018

Recently I shared my methodology for the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence at the beginning of this blog series.  You can read more about it here: The FMCG Leaders Guide to Route to Market Strategy & Execution in 20 Steps.  The first step, ‘Review Route to Market Performance’ sits in the ‘Assessment’ phase of this model.  This is where we will begin our journey, and I would like to start with sharing a lesson I learnt from my own career.

20 steps to route to market excellence

In March 1999 I started work as a Trade Marketing & Distribution Rep (aka Sales Rep) for P.J. Carroll & Co. Ltd., an Irish tobacco company owned by Rothmans International.  I had a territory in the south of the country.  The market at the time was Direct Store Delivery (DSD), meaning we delivered product from our warehouse to the individual stores.  Order capture was by Rep’s stock & order card or by telesales, with the main determining factors being volume and call frequency.  I had about 300 customers in my territory, we operated a 5 week cycle and my customers were divided into call frequencies of weekly, 2 weekly, 5 weekly and 10 weekly calls.  The target number of calls per day was 15.  All very logical and all very professionally managed.   

When I joined I was 21 years of age and I was very keen to please my boss and look to get promoted.  Once I figured out the geography of my territory, where each customer was located, I found out that I was finishing my 15 calls earlier and earlier each day.  In terms of numbers, I was overachieving on my sales volume, my brand distribution and on my new product introduction targets.  But by the end of month 3, I could do my required calls by lunchtime, most days, and still overachieve on my targets.  Nice if you want an easy life, or great if you want to use the extra time to impress the boss, but overall, not a very well set up RtM.  From the outside, everything looked like a well-oiled machine, but the devil was in the detail.  This is where the 20 Step model comes in.

rtm-performance-review-questionsThe first phase is Assessment, and Step 1 is Review RtM Performance.  In reviewing your current RtM performance, you need to look at all the 20 steps that are currently present within your RtM and get into the details to understand your current performance. Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 1 – Review RtM Performance:

  1. What does a detailed analysis of my ERP & RtM data reveal?
  2. Does available market data allow us to understand market realities & consumer buying trends, and what does this mean for our RtM?
  3. What is really going on in the marketplace & when did we last conduct systematic trade visits?
  4. What are the current levels of brand distribution and product display in retail? How do our internal reports compare to the actual reality in retail outlets when we visit? 
  5. Do we use planograms for our displays? Are they evident and being adhered to?  Do our competitors us them?
  6. What are the current levels of product understanding and brand dialogue within the trade?
  7. Are we leveraging digital effectively?
  8. How are the territories set up & how have they performed over the last number of years?
  9. What are the current call frequencies? What are the current outlet & channel classifications?  How have they been determined, and do they need to be reviewed?
  10. What is the current RtM structure and the trade tool kits? Are they fit for purpose?
  11. What is the current sales incentive program and what has it delivered?
  12. What data is available on your RtM performance? What’s being measured?  Is it enough?
  13. What are the levels of training now? Do we train on the ‘steps of the call’?
  14. How are we capturing and learning from success?
  15. How are the key accounts being managed? How are we generally engaging with the trade?
  16. What are the links to other functions across the organisation? How well are they working?

This step is detailed, it requires extensive experience and the right tools to ensure all the current performance is laid bare.  The more you do this, the more experience you have in FMCG operational execution, the more you will be able to interpret the details to reveal the true picture.  This will also uncover if there are underutilised resources allowing people to finish by lunchtime!

I hope you find this helpful, and I appreciate your views and comments below.   I will be continuing my series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence, I will be discussing step 2 in my next post.  Please subscribe to the blog, you can do so on this page, to ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates on RtM excellence in execution and the 20 Steps model.  If you would like to know more about the 20 Steps to RtM Excellence, please visit our website here.

Tags: RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence, Ross Marie, RTM, RTM Assessment Tool, Route to Market, Distribution

The FMCG Leaders Guide to Route to Market Strategy & Execution in 20 Steps

Posted by Ross Marie on Wed, Sep 19, 2018

Wouldn’t it be great if someone developed and shared a step by step model detailing how to build and improve route to market execution, sales execution and trade marketing strategic and operational plans? After 20 years in RtM and after working with Enchange and some of the biggest multinationals around the world, I have now developed just such a model.

First things first, where did it all start?

In the summer of 1998, I had just finished my Degree and Masters. Tom Hanks was searching for Private Ryan and I had yet to get my first mobile phone. The dot com bubble had yet to inflate and I was desperate to get my first ‘sales’ job with a company car. I really wanted to start my career, I wanted to begin my climb up the sale ladder, I wanted to follow in my father and brothers’ footsteps, but more than anything, I really wanted the independence of my own transport. It’s amazing how you view the world at 21!

As it turns out, I did start my sales career that summer. I joined an agency in Dublin, doing sales promotion and merchandising with Showerings (Allied Domecq) and Grants of Ireland. My focus was the spirits division in the grocery sector. I also finally got that company car (sort of). My red 1998 Diesel Ford Courier Van, it may not have been the sales man’s dream Beemer or Alfa, but I loved that little van. Most importantly, my career had started, and I was on my way.

Moving on into Diageo later that year and then entering the tobacco industry for 15 years, mainly British American Tobacco, allowed me to experience in detail the breath of roles across the sales, route to market and trade marketing and distribution functions. When you work in the tobacco industry, and you can’t communicate with consumers on billboards, or TV, or almost anywhere, you live and die by route to market (RtM) execution. I loved that challenge.

Following a successful and enjoyable career working for multinationals, I joined a specialist supply chain and RtM consultancy company, Enchange. Enchange shared my passion for RtM execution and has been delivering RtM improvement programs with amazing results for some of the world’s leading companies for the last 25 years.

Together, we have spent the last number of years refining our approach and building a model for RtM execution. I would now like to introduce you to the ’20 Steps to RtM Excellence’.

20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence

 

This methodology not only combines decades of RtM experience, it brings a strategic approach to delivering excellence in RtM execution. It gives you a systematic step by step approach to driving sales and share growth while meeting consumer’s needs.

The 20 Steps are split across four phases of Assessment, Strategy, Design and Implementation. Over the next weeks and months, I will be sharing more and more information on each of the 20 steps, how they work, how they build on each other and how they can transform an organisation to deliver sales growth.

I hope you will find this helpful and I would really appreciate your views and comments below. Please also sign up to our blog, you can do so on this page, to ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates on RtM excellence in execution and the 20 Steps model. If you would like to know more about the 20 Steps to RtM Excellence, please visit our website here.

Tags: RTM, RtM Strategy, RTM Assessment Tool, Distribution, Ross Marie, FMCG, Route to Market, Traditional Trade, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

FMCG Mergers & Acquisitions - Why acquired brands fail to deliver

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jul 18, 2018

Let me get straight to the point on this one. Why do so many FMCG mergers or acquisitions frequently result in the apparent death-knell of once proud and promising brands? I am not going to name any names but if you think about it there have been some real clangers dropped by blue-chip FMCG giants.

Purchased companies or individual brands are usually already reasonably successful in order to attract new owners. Yes, sometimes companies will divest weaker brands or brands no longer core to their portfolios but you will struggle to sell a clearly decaying brand name. A real hospital pass if ever there was a branded one.

I am studying such a case in Europe at the moment where the FMCG brand acquisition is about 12 months old so plenty of time for smooth integration or so you would think. Marketing activity has not changed and I am also assured above and below the line advertising spend has been maintained at pre-acquisition levels. That in itself is unusual as sellers usually spend big to make a brand more attractive at sale time.

So why does an apparently attractive acquisition fail so quickly? Nothing at all to do with marketing or finance but everything to do with the extended Supply Chain. Just to be clear here I do not consider the Supply Chain to end at the distributor’s warehouse in Traditional Trade markets you commonly find in CEE, Africa and the Middle East. You need Supply Chain skills to get products on to shop shelves and then keep them replenished. With due respect to salesman and women, they are trained to sell.

Supply chain rtm m&a resized 600The newly acquired brand that was purchased with buoyant sales and a high profile has been dragged down to the level of the existing brands by inadequate Supply Chain and Route To Market (RTM) operations. Frankly, it did not stand a chance and it is no wonder the company wanted to buy a top selling brand when their own were performing so badly. However, the reasons for failure were all in-house as the once top selling brand plunged the depths.

There was no formal Supply Chain department with planning, logistics and customer service roles scattered around in Finance and Sales departments. There was no focus and no single person to co-ordinate and run a functioning Supply Chain. Forecasting accuracy; what’s that? Stock cover; no idea. S&OP; forget it Customer service; no!

Couple that level of disorganisation with a bonus-centric, forecast averse sales force trying to run the distribution chain through to the TT shop shelf and it is no wonder all the presentation arrows were red and pointing south.

When considering an acquisition to bolster sales and profit make sure your existing SKUs are not already blighted by lack of care an attention to your Supply Chain and RTM.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Route to Market, Mergers & Acquisitions, Dave Jordan, CEO, Traditional Trade, Forecasting & Demand Planning, Distribution

FMCG & Pharma: Top 10 Tips for a Tip Top Supply Chain

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, Jul 16, 2018

Only a few months into the year and I am hearing the same old complaints about the economy and business being in general ill health. However, there is a new recurring theme which popped up at various parties and gatherings over Easter; “my company doesn't seem to do anything different and just hopes business will improve”. Not going to happen, no way!

FMCG_PHARMA_SUPPLY_CHAIN_TIPSCertainly learning by your mistakes is a powerful message but banging your head against a brick wall for a number years is a rather pointless and painful experience and reflects dire leadership. Those companies that identify failings and shortcomings in their supply chain AND do something about them will be best prepared to beat the competition.

Based on client feedback and impact analysis of “before and after” performance I list our top 10 tips to tip top Supply Chain performance. 

  1. Route To Market – Has the march of the International Key Accounts stalled? Traditional Trade Distributors may still be a large chunk of your business and they are capable of scratching out growth but only if you support them. Give your RTM a thorough service and your Distributors will serve you better.
  2. Sales & Operational Planning - If this is in place and working well, great but there is no doubt you could improve it. If there is no S&OP you should use it! If you are not yet a believer of S&OP check out “What has S&OP ever done for us?".
  3. Reduced Inventory – Why not give your sales a boost with some unexpected and low cost support using stock that will be otherwise written off? I detect numerous companies “encouraged” stock into the trade for year end and only the residual stock disposal companies will benefit if stock gets too close to expiry.
  4. SKU Complexity – When did you last study your complexity? Do you have any idea what complexity is doing to your business? Understand your sku complexity and check if it appropriate for your business.
  5. Improved Customer Service – A number of major global companies still do not measure CS to any degree of accuracy or honesty.  Companies that fool themselves on Customer Service rarely succeed.
  6. Proactive 3PLP’s – Are they meeting the agreed KPI’s? If they are then perhaps you need to review them and revise targets upwards, again and again.
  7. Sales & Marketing Buy-in – This is still a problem, I fear. If only everyone in your company was aligned to the same volume/value plan and 100% mutually supportive. Think what sort of competitive edge that would provide.
  8. Use the ERP - Avoid uncontrolled spreadsheets like the plague! They undermine your business and waste time and effort. If you are considering a fresh implementation of an ERP then chose a partner with experience in the field. I mean real operational experience and not bought-in fresh out of university, suited “experts”.
  9. Continuously Improve – If you are in the same position in 12 months time then you will be dropping towards the back of the pack and will be ill equipped to compete. Keep innovating and improving your Supply Chain.
  10. Supply Chain Awareness – A very important tip top number 10. There is more to supply chain than trucks and sheds - for the uninitiated this is what Supply Chain is all about.

Check out the top 5 as a priority and then seek an expert partner to lead you through the process of change in the next 5. Don’t be in the same position this time next year; do something!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: FMCG, Route to Market, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, CEO, Performance Improvement, Pharma, KPI, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Cost Reduction

Manage Supply Chain Expectations with Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jul 11, 2018

If you do not specifically agree on what is expected between two parties before you start a relationship then anything and everything but success is likely.

You buy a new car and you get a contract that tells you what is covered by the guarantee and for how long in time or in distance travelled. From your side you will be expected to pay the same people to periodically maintain the equipment at peak condition.

Travelling by air? You buy a ticket to Bucuresti and you know when and where it will take off and hopefully land you and how much baggage you can take. There are rules in place for delayed take off and excess and lost baggage. You might not like these rules but that is what you have agreed to by investing in the ticket. (Before you say it, I know certain airlines stretch the boundaries here yet people still fly on them!)

Service Level Agreement resized 600While it may not be as popular as it used to be, marriage is still perhaps the most widely used Service Level Agreement (SLA) in the world. The names of the two parties are made very clear to a number of witnesses and depending on your brand of religion there follows a list of statements you have to agree to or the marriage ceremony does not continue. You even get a certificate which is in effect a contract or your SLA. Of course, this does not go down the detail of who does the washing up or who gets up at 3am to feed the baby but it does set out clear expectations.

Should the husband run off with the woman for the chip shop then a divorce is highly likely. Think of the arguments about who gets to keep Eric the hamster if there is a parting of ways. Alternatively, you could use one of those “pre-nuptial” agreements favoured by plastic Hollywood-types who think a long relationship is several months in their world so far away from reality.

In all cases, it reflects “you scratch my back and I scratch yours” or sometimes “you stab me in the back and I take you to court”.

Despite SLAs being a vital part of daily lives why do FMCG. Brewing, Pharmaceutical companies fail to have the same in place for their suppliers, IKA/TT customers and internal departments within the S&OP framework? Such an approach holds people accountable for the service they provide and at the same time making the penalties clear in the event of failure.

SLAs do not have to be a lengthy tome of text but should contain enough information for both parties to be 100% clear about what is expected from the relationship. Include some relevant and why not stretching KPIs and you have the basis of a relationship that may flourish rather than end up in the divorce courts.

No relationship in business or in private life is perfect but why not start out by writing down what level of service you expect to provide to each other?

 

Tags: FMCG, Route to Market, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, Supply Chain, CEE, Traditional Trade, Logistics Management, Performance Improvement

Supply Chain: A top 10 Supply Chain faux pas!

Posted by Dave Jordan on Thu, Jun 28, 2018

I have just had one of those mornings. I missed the alarm and the 10-minute snooze and from then on everything went downhill. Jumped in the shower for a brief cleanse but then I realised there was no soap, not even a sliver. So, soaking wet I get out, but can I find anything remotely soapy? There was no time to waste so the Charles and Di souvenir tablet had to be sacrificed.

Obviously, it was quite a few years old and completely lacking in perfume but if I could generate a foam that would do the trick. I actually found myself apologising to the princess as I showered! Finally clean, I quickly sprayed shaving foam under my arms, brusupply chain exec tipical problemsshed my teeth with some really vile tasting skin cream and I was set to face the world. Well, I would have been if I hadn’t managed to put my Polo shirt on inside out.

I know students turn their underwear inside out to get a few days extra wear but I’ve started to put shirts on inside out. I was in a Birmingham Vodafone shop with the heiress when she leaned closer and told me what I had done. I just took the shirt off and put it back on again proving that you’re never too old to embarrass your daughter!

Only shoes left before a rushed mobile breakfast before finally getting on my way. How knotted can a shoelace get. There are only 2 ends about 40cm apart, yet they get into knots a Rubik’s Cube genius could not release within 48 hours.

Does that sound rather like your Supply Chain?  The 2 ends may well be continents apart but some of the supply knots companies get themselves into are incredible. Here is a list of top 10 totally terrible Supply Chain knots we have seen in the last 12 months alone. As ever, no names, no pack drill!

  1. A snacks company tried to sort out their Supply Chain challenges using internal resources and ended up disbanding the SC structure.
  2. A well-known DIY retailer “found” over 1000 pallets of product that were on the books but had expired.
  3. A regional Brewer boasted of a cutting-edge S&OP implementation when in reality staff were just going through the motions as Sales colleagues had become disengaged.
  4. An African FMCG business had over-stocked the distributor network so much that they could stop manufacturing for 4 months without any impact on sell-out.
  5. A global agri-business outsourced their logistics operations to the cheapest tender quote and quickly paid for this with severe out of stocks.
  6. A new ERP will solve all of our problems said a Printing CEO. After paying a huge price for a vanilla deployment they are now shelling out again to actually have an ERP that fits their needs.
  7. An Eastern European tobacco company opened more warehouses than were actually required and as is the rule, they were quickly filled with unnecessary working capital.
  8. A direct supplier to the motor industry was carrying Eur 2.5M of spare parts for vehicles that are no longer in production.
  9. A Brewer invested heavily in their RTM network with proven success only to mimic a later competitive move and see sales collapse during the peak season.
  10. A garage forecourt operator allocated Supply Chain activities to the Sales Department and soon realised very different skills were required for success.

All relatively easily avoidable if only some expert advice had been sought. Some of these problems make my disastrous morning seem like a walk in the park.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at freedigtalphotos.net

Tags: Spare Parts, FMCG, Supply Chain, Logistics Service Provider, Inventory Management & Stock Control, Dave Jordan, Route to Market

Supply Chains - Whats do all those initialisms mean?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jun 27, 2018

Like many business functions Supply Chains use multiple initials and/or acronyms to describe various tasks they manage on a daily basis. Those not familiar with SC-speak will often sit bemused in meetings as various initials are quoted and debated and then usually blamed for some tenuous lost sale claimed by Sales and Marketing. Here we take a look at just a small selection of those initials.

SC – Super Colleagues. Well, I may be biased but that is what you find is usually the case. Supply Chain people have to react to wildly varying demands and impossible timings but more often than not they succeed to get stock in the right place at the right time.

SOP - Secures Our Performance. If you do not follow an S&OP process and your business is doing well and is robust then a pat on the back is for you. If your business is struggling then you might consider the benefits of S&OP which can make all the difference.

SC Abbreviations resized 600

SAP - Spreadsheets Are Preferred. A common problem in many businesses and what is also common is the number of CEO’s who believe spreadsheets are not being used in their workplace! They probably are but what can you do about it?

IKA- Irritating, Keep Away. In Western Europe the big name Key Accounts may well be the future of retailing in the FMCG sector but in many other parts of the world the reality is quite the reverse. Traditional Trade is a very important part of many businesses yet most fail to pay sufficient attention to the continued development and growth of the TT channel.

SKU - Sales Keep Upping. Introducing new SKUs really should be a cross business decision taken within the context of S&OP and with sound financial analysis. Sadly, this does not happen very often as businesses rack up lengthy SKU lists where the tail items do not even pay for themselves in turnover and/or profit.

KPI - Keep People Interested. The old adage of “if you don’t measure it then you cannot improve it” is certainly true here. Be careful not to have too many KPI’s but make sure you have a small set which ensures everyone knows how they impact team performance and results. Reward against the relevant KPIs and your staff will target them keenly.

3PLP - 3 People Loading Products. Think long and had before outsourcing your logistics operations to a 3rd party. They may not be ready to take on your business seamlessly.  Prepare thoroughly and ensure you know exactly what you want from them and the relationship. A big step that is difficult to reverse so be very careful!

WMS - Where’s My Stock? Your 3PLP partner should be left to run their own business as that is what you pay them for. However, you need to be involved in the stock counting process or you will lose sales through out of stocks (OOS , there's another one) and experience costly year-end write offs.

4PLP - 4 People Loading Products ………..but perhaps slightly faster? If you have successfully used 3PLPs for some time you might wish to take a look at what a 4PLP can offer your business. This is not for everyone but can be very effective.

RTM - Retail Takes Money. Whether your focus is on IKA or TT how you manage your distribution network will be a key driver of your success in the market place. It is a fact that companies spending time and effort getting their TT distributor networks in good order are far more successful.

There are many, many more initials used in Supply Chain but this set will do for a kick off so TTFN!

Tags: SKU, FMCG, Route to Market, Dave Jordan, KPI, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Logistics Management, Distribution

FMCG Route To Market: Until debt do us part

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jun 20, 2018

What about your company? Do you have great brands and brand awareness, a fantastic extended supply chain, an analytics package, tight financial control, top class HR, the best sales force, innovative marketing? If you tick all these boxes then life must be good, yes? Sadly, not always and some big-name companies frequently get the important distributor relationship badly wrong.

Blue chip companies with internal operational excellence continue to flounder when serving the Traditional Trade, particularly in D&E markets. Admittedly, this trade channel has reduced in importance over the past years but it still accounts for a sizeable portion of markets which are starting to return to growth. International Key Accounts and Local Key Accounts will continue to take share in urban areas but in a country as vast as Romania, for example they will not conquer the rural market in the medium term.

Producers need knowledgeable and reliable Route To Market partners to reach the smaller corner shop outlets and kiosks. There is no shortage of operators willing to be distributors for big name clients but how many of them are really equipped and ready to do the job properly? Producers are often guilty of placing their reputations and ultimately profits, in the hands of enthusiastic amateurs. In the sporting definition, true amateurs do not get paid for their work and distributors do not get paid by producers when they fail to meet targets.

Unfortunately, instead of doing something about the short-comings of distributors, producers proudly celebrate securing penalties or better terms through negotiating against poor performance. What is the point of doing that? Instead of carping on about how terrible are these "partners" why not get out there and help them?

You cannot build houses on sand yet producers expect distributors to swiftly dove-tail into their in-house processes, IT, style, ethics, reporting schedule etc. Yes, they probably exaggerated their capabilities and readiness during the selection pitch but you should be able to see through that or at least be ready to quickly assess capability.

Is it any wonder why so many distributors go under when they are not considered partners and in some cases, are believed to be a hindrance? Distributors do not deliberately make mistakes that lead to their own reduced income. They too are in business to make a few Euros to take home at the end of the month. However, when the penalties add up and the distributor gets into debt, that is when they need producer support and not a kick to the stomach.FMCG_RTM_DISTRIBUTORS_PARTNERSHIPS.jpgProducers need to look closely at the capability matrix offered by their distributors (or more importantly, potential distributors) and in most cases, this will not match up to requirements. Do something about this; build capability where it lacks and you will reap the benefits in having proactive partners going that extra kilometre to make a sale for you. 

Those FMCG producers who are in tune with distributors strengths and weaknesses AND do something about the latter will be in pole position with a Ferrari while less wise competitors are at the back of the grid with a horse and cart. The route to your market can be a lot easier than you are making it!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Tags: FMCG, Route to Market, Dave Jordan, Distribution

An FMCG Success Story; Focus on customers and enjoy the consumer benefits

Posted by Dave Jordan on Mon, May 28, 2018

Once upon a time there was an FMCG company that I will refer to as “Foresight”. “Foresight” had spent many years and many Euros creating a slick inbound Supply Chain.

  • Top class global, regional and collaborative buying
  • Flexible manufacturing network
  • A state of the art ERP
  • Rigorous S&OP as the key business process

Slick inbound Supply ChainWith all those important boxes ticked they must be successful.....but they were not; not even close. In their peer group they were not number 1, top and bottom line growth was getting harder and harder. Throw in difficult economic conditions and the consumption of their product offering plummeted – double digit style. A large FMCG business and quite a few personal reputations were not looking pretty.

The problem was a surprising lack of focus at the customer end of the Supply Chain. Both International Key Accounts(IKA) and the Traditional Trade (TT) were being poorly serviced.

A lot of hard work upstream was being wasted through inefficiency and actually, ignorance. The situation had existed for a number of years but as the same malaise was common in the industry nobody could see the benefit or indeed the need for “getting ones act together”. “Last amongst equals” was hardly a motivating and compelling business proposition for an international big name.

Seeking external expert assistance “Foresight” started out on an adventure that would change the way they approached business at the customer end of the chain.

Customer Service.   This was something “Foresight” thought it was already good at providing but critical aspects were lacking:

  1. Customer Service responsibilities were fragmented and lacked clear and unambiguous leadership.
  2. “Customer Service personnel” had received no training in the subject - nobody really wanted to take responsibility.
  3. “Customer Service” was actually limited to invoice preparation. Proactive interaction with customers and problem solution were not in job descriptions.

This hardly projected an image of a caring “Foresight” and this was a huge risk considering the increasing power of the retailers…. 

Route To Market (RTM). “This is under control for TT and it seems to work”, however RTM was in the Sales black box and that box needed opening and shaking upside down vigorously!

  1. The Distributor RTM network had been in place for several years and was decaying. “Foresight” salesman interaction with Distributors was far from an open win-win relationship.
  2. Several Distributors were simply incapable and/or ill equipped to represent such a major company. Some actually did not wish to be involved.
  3. “Foresight” did not know on whom they could rely in their network or how large and obvious opportunities could be targeted.

In-house Sales bonuses were linked to sell-in and the remaining steps to the consumer were ignored at “Foresight” level and left in the hands of some indifferent distributors.

The cures were not simple or quick but they were effective and the payback was fast and sustained.

Customer Service Centre“Foresight” now operates a centralised Customer Service department looking after customer needs in a standardised and caring manner. Phone calls are answered by someone who wants to help and the customer is not passed from pillar to post trying to find someone interested in their problem. Retailers now see CS staff face to face as they proactively take steps to understand the needs of both sides of the partnership. The Retailer office was once “sales only” and off bounds to other departments but not now and the benefit is clear and significant.

In RTM, “Foresight” carried out a comprehensive assessment of their distributor network making evaluations of all aspects of each distributor’s organisation. The strengths and weaknesses of each partner are now known and understood. “Foresight” now knows where there is receiver capacity to take more responsibility and a leading role in market deployment. Similarly, they also know to tread carefully with a number of distributors who are struggling financially or simply not equipped to meet expectations. “Foresight's” efforts are now focused on those areas providing maximum opportunity and reward. The “one size fits all” approach has gone and distributors are managed as important partners.

In combination these changes have transformed the business and success has been quick to materialise.  “Foresight” enjoys a leading position in its sector while competitors scrap around trying to find growth that is clearly there but they cannot reach.

For “Foresight” at least, they really are able to live happily ever after!

 

Tags: Customer service, FMCG, Route to Market, Dave Jordan, Performance Improvement, Distribution, Brewing & Beverages

CEO FMCG Letter to Santa Claus (aka Father Christmas) 2017

Posted by Dave Jordan on Sun, Dec 17, 2017

FMCG/Brewing/Pharma CEO Letter to Santa ClausDear Father Christmas,,

I have been a very good FMCG CEO this year, I promise. If you want, you can check with my colleagues and shareholders. They know how good I have been this year. Apart from the out of stocks of course, oh and the little mistake when we had to write stock off and waste lots of our money. But that is not so bad is it? Other CEOs were naughty last year and they still got what they wanted from you.

I had better be honest because you will know if I am not telling the truth. We also had a problem starting S&OP and so our planning, forecast accuracy and therefore  sales were not very good. They were not really big problems so I hope you can forget about them this time, please. Next year I promise to do better, I do, honestly.

I forgot about the Route To Market (RTM) mess we had in the peak sales months but that really was not my fault. I also promise to do something about RTM next year and make sure it works properly so people who buy our products are not disappointed. I know it is bad when people come to buy our products and then spend their money on something else. I will talk to our distributors and find out what we need to do.

I know, I know, when the new ERP computer system was switched on we were not really ready for the change but we did make it better as fast as possible. I did not think we needed any outside help for the new IT but I admit I was wrong. Next time I will get it right, hopefully without having any lost sales.

The factory thing was not my fault, I think. The factory man promised me lots of product but his machines kept breaking down at the wrong times and we had to wait for the fixing men to arrive. They took ages to get the machines working and then they broke down again and again. No, it is not a very reliable factory, yet.

Does the warehouse problem count against me as well? We could not find our products when we wanted them and then when we did find them they were old and out of date and of no use. This was very sad but it will not happen again next year, I hope.

I have just read my message again to make sure I did not spell any words wrong and I see I was not as good as I thought. Actually, after reading this I am going to the chimney to take my stocking down and put it away in the Christmas storage box. I will try again next year, Santa.

Bye bye and Happy Christmas.

CEO FMCG

Image credit: HikingArtist.com

Tags: Route to Market, Christmas, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, CEO, Humour, Performance Improvement, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Sales, Inventory Management & Stock Control