Supply Chain Blog

FMCG: Driving success through Integrated Business Planning (IBP)

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Sep 30, 2015

The sun is shining high in the sky and you are driving your Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 2.0 TDi with the top down on a six lane highway. There is a long drive ahead for you and your three friends but with this car on this road things should turn out fine. The only emissions you are bothered about are coming from the quadrophonic surround-sound speaker system.You can see far ahead down the highway into the distance in the direction of your objective. You can see all the potential hazards in good time from your comfortable leather bucket seat. Traffic is starting to build up but you are ready and move down the gears gently before the road clears and you equally gently depress the accelerator and resume cruising. You can see a bumpy stretch of road ahead and position the car so the hazard disappears directly between the front wheels of the VW causing nil discomfort for those on board.You can see the policemen ahead with a radar gun and you diligently slow down and adopt a speed 1 click below the limit. You even give the officer a jaunty wave and onwards you drive. Ahead is a hazard caused by a broken down lorry so without any desperate braking you indicate early and move into the next lane to pass the vehicle that is not going anywhere soon.Your passengers are relaxed, comfortable and enjoying the ride. You are approaching your destination and looking forward to successful evening at the beach.That is how your FMCG S&OP or Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process should look. Planning and executing your actions in good time and well into the future. Perhaps this is how your process works?The same VW, same driver and passengers, sun, road and the same destination objective. Instead of relaxing back into the leather you are gripping the steering wheel like it was about to fall off. You are leaning forward in the seat looking at the road directly in front of the bonnet/hood (delete as geographically appropriate). Every single stone or bump or holes felt by the passengers as you try to avoid driving over hazards that present themselves at the very last second before they slip under the tyres.

Seeing everything so late you are lurching the car one way and then the other making the passengers uncomfortable and probably a little concerned. Clearly, you are not incontrol of the vehical or your destiny. Looking just over the bonnet at the road surface you also miss the broken down truck in the near distance and smash into the rear at speed. You and your company are having a terrible journey and you do not achieve your objective. You missed the radar gun earlier and now have a hefty fine and penalty points on your licence.Following a rigorous IBP process allows you to plan your innovation, promotional and routine and tactical sales activities in good time ensuring everyone is on board and knows what they have to do well in advance.

If you recognise your company in the chaotic driving example then you have quite an opportunity!Image courtesy of Bill Longshore at

Tags: FMCG, CEO, S&OP, Sales, Integrated Business Planning

FMCG: S&OP morphing into Integrated Business Planning (IBP)?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Sep 23, 2015

I speak to many FMCG companies who tell me they do not need Sales & Operational Planning in their businesses. As a formal process they may not be operating to S&OP norms but if they are getting their products onto shelves then some form of S&OP must be in place. This may not be optimum or efficient but at the end of the day their products are in front of consumers and ready for purchase or not, depending on how successfully your sales and marketing colleagues have stimulated the market.

This leads me to a frequent problem with S&OP – the name, not the process. Reluctantly sales people do get involved in S&OP process but in my experience they have rarely bought into the idea 100%. Nevertheless, they are there at the meetings and they are sharing data and information etc.

To everyone else in a company the “operational” term usually applies solely to those continually moaning Supply Chain types and sometimes in Finance. Colleagues in all other functions including marketing frequently do not see themselves as part of this process yet it is the lack of rigour and discipline in these sales supporting roles that undermines business performance.

This is why I increasingly prefer the term Integrated Business Planning (IBP) as it covers the whole company plus there is no “and” in the process name. The latter point may seem trivial but S and OP triggers a “them and us” mentality whereas there is no debate about the IBP process. We are in this together (not in the current UK government way) including HR who play the important role of providing the right people and the right training opportunities in order to support the overall business objectives.

The use of IBP does not change the objectives of the process significantly but perhaps the benefits are more clearly defined:

IBP helps to transform planning from a boring must-have into a decisive and continually improving competitive advantage by fostering one integrated planning platform across sales, marketing, supply chain and finance and yes, even HR:

  • A clear and unambiguous understanding of business performance drivers.

  • A dynamic understanding of the financial impact and interdependencies of different planning scenarios.

  • Optimisation and balance of the monthly business plan with longer term strategic planning and identification an allocation of skilled resources.

  • Balancing planning for profitability or volume or growth as per the business need.

  • Unambiguous quantification of financial risk and opportunity of planning scenarios.

  • Continually increasing business flexibility and surety of success.

  • One company working as one team.

Of all these desirable benefits the last is the one you really need to pursue. If you get this working within the framework of an IBP you will be hard to stop in the FMCG marketplace.

Image courtesy of Sheelamohan at


Tags: FMCG, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning, Sales, Integrated Business Planning

FMCG: What does S&OP bring to the party? Sales success of course!

Posted by Dave Jordan on Thu, Sep 17, 2015

During my recent travels I met with two Sales (or Business Development Directors if you’re posh) from well known FMCG companies to discuss an assessment review of their Route To Market (RTM) networks. Surprisingly, neither was interested and gave a remarkably aligned reason for the rejection. “All this does is raise Sales In and we know how to do that already”. Oh dear!

No, Nein, La, Nu, He, Nem, Không có!!! Whatever language you choose to use, this understanding of an RTM assessment review is flawed. There is no doubt Sales Directors across the globe know how to increase Sales In and frankly it is not that hard is it? You can use promotions, discounts, extended credit, BOGOF, sale or return etc, etc. Unless you are regularly working on a knife edge with out of stocks (OOS) at the Distributor, pushing Sales In does not guarantee one single extra sale, not one single piece.

Without a focus on Sales Out any stock pushed into an RTM network is likely just to sit in Distributor warehouses as there is no obvious consumer pull or demand. The Distributor is sitting on plenty of valuable stock but without a pull from the trade all this extra pushed stock is wasted. One of the key drivers for a push strategy is the alignment of Sales In targets with Sales Team bonus payments. Once the stock has moved out of Producer hands it is considered a “sale” and this is simply not true in the cold light of day. Nothing is actually sold until a consumer has handed over their hard earned cash at the till.

FMCG_RTM_SALES_UPLIFTThe beauty of an RTM Assessment is that it addresses how to achieve a Sales Out uplift and every assessment with which I have been involved has achieved such an uplift! If you get close to your Distributors and develop a lasting relationship you will be able to get more out of the market – even in this recession which seems endless.

Partnership – treat Distributors as equals as they are an integral part of your Traditional Trade business whether you like it or not. Hold regular meetings at the right levels and ensure the discussion is a real two-way process.

Planning & Logistics – do not assume Distributors know how to aggregate demand by SKU to form a demand forecast. If their forecast is more accurate then this gently ripples right back to you own factory and procurement activities.

Sales/Order Management – provide training to ensure your face to the customer is professional and competent. Ensure orders are captured promptly AND that stock is available to promise.

Finance & Back Office – is the Distributor financially sound and capital efficient? Do they recruit and retain the right calibre of people and are they rewarded fairly and sensibly?

This is just a snapshot of a what a comprehensive RTM assessment review delivers and more can be found here.

If you are struggling to make your 2015 numbers you might find that Q1 2016 presents an extremely difficult start to the year. A thorough review of your RTM Distribution network could be just what you need to make up ground in the following months.

A real uplift in FMCG sales is there for the taking!

Image courtesy of samuiblue at

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

FMCG Supply Chain & the Rugby World Cup

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Sep 09, 2015

The Rugby World Cup is upon us once more and this time it is in the northern hemisphere and in UK. Therefore rain can be expected throughout the tournament.

Rugby is a strange sport in some ways. The forwards are the incredibly big blokes (yes, and girls too now) who seldom score and the backs are the more nimble bodied (but still relatively large) who carry out most of the scoring. In a majority of sports you score goals or points but in rugby you get rewarded for a “try” and a “conversion “which sounds a bit wishy-washy and indecisive if you are not a follower of the game. Do supporters shout “try” when one is scored? Not sure but I doubt they shout “conversion” even after disposing of a few pints.

You also have to pass the ball backwards in order to make progress and move forwards so that presents a challenge in rugby supply chain terms. In supply chains you are generally pushing (yes, in good times it is a pull) everything forward towards the consumer shelf, continually honing your route to market (RTM). Anything coming in the reverse direction is usually poorly planned, unwanted, expired or damaged goods and that easily sticks a spanner in an otherwise slick supply chain.

FMCG_SUPPLY_CHAIN_RUGBY_TEAMThe rugby ball is not round; nowhere near a perfect sphere (but it s a spheroid) and when kicked it reminds me of an FMCG sales forecast – no, please stay with me. Have you ever seen a rugby ball bounce after being kicked forward and into the sky? If the ball is not caught cleanly the shape means it could actually bounce in any direction at any speed and change both at any time without any warning, i.e. impossible to predict. Sounds familiar?

You could also imagine the scrum being the supply chain team grunting and groaning and expending mammoth sweat and effort to prevent the competition from getting to the target, i.e. the ball. You then watch as the backs (a.k.a. FMCG salesmen) stride on and take all the credit and kudos for the entre process! Sounds familiar again? In rugby it is not quite like that as team spirit is very real and paramount but in FMCG life that is far too often the reality. In rugby your department or position does not matter and the whole team is focused on scoring points or tries and conversions.

The winners of the 2015 World Cup will probably be New Zealand but there is just a small chance, a very teeny-weeny chance that England could win. Such a result would mean the English rugby supply chain was slick and fast with customer service approaching 100%

I have not yet found a way to use cricket to illustrate supply chain excellence but I will keep thinking.

Image courtesy of Digitalart at

Tags: Customer service, FMCG, Supply Chain, Sales

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

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

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: Do S&M cause pain in your business?

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Jun 10, 2015

FMCG_SM_pain_in_businessNo, honestly this is a blog about FMCG Supply Chains! Those seeking advice on leather whips and chains should return to Google and search again now.

Within any FMCG business are there any people lacking more in structure, discipline and planning as Sales and Marketing colleagues?  A resounding and harmonious “no” is the answer from across the global Supply Chain community. When the chips are down and challenges arise it is the same S&M brigade aiming the first kick and usually in the direction of Supply Chain colleagues nether regions. These people must be covered in Teflon because you rarely see an S&M colleague admit to an error or a delay or a poor forecast.

Have they ever considered how the business could perform at a vastly superior level if they just turned up as team players for once? The “me, myself, I” attitude and wholly inappropriate superiority complex cause untold damage to the smooth running of growing operations. Total disregard for policies and procedures is the norm along with a seemingly deliberate desire to de-motivate others.

Innovation? Innovation is a pseudonym for “let’s cause maximum internal disruption”. Barely detectable tweaks to artwork or the incorporation of a low level of insignificant perfume or flavour is considered to be the highlight of the year. Extra security staff will be needed in supermarkets as consumers break down the doors to get to the latest version of Bloggo. Is it me or is innovation always late? Yes, no matter how late the innovation process, the rest of the company is expected to maintain the originally networked launch date.

If only they could drag themselves away from that agency business lunch to attend an S&OP meeting. Sales & Operational Planning? Oh, that Supply Chain thingy. No, no, no! The rest of the world seems to get the fact that S&OP is a business process and is not an evil being thrust on them by the darkest arts of Supply Chain.

They claim to have their fingers on the pulse of customers and consumers yet their demand forecasts are usually so far off mark you wonder if they actually benefit from a pulse of their own. A blindfolded man paying darts is likely to be equally accurate.

And why are Sales so secretive and evasive about their customers? They seem to deliberately avoid any contact between the customer and other members of the company who just might understand their supply needs a little better. Perhaps customers talk a strange language that only Sales people can understand?

Ok that is enough, I think; time for a glass of something and a lie down in a dark room.

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, Humour, S&OP, Sales

FMCG Distribution: Route Planning & IKEA Shopping Chaos

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Apr 29, 2015

Ok, I know I should not have gone there. It was Sunday and well before the live Premier League football on the TV. The weather was cold, the air was full of drizzle and as I turned off the overgrown roundabout the scale of my folly dawned; the IKEA car park was bursting at the seams. Every available legal and illegal space was taken.

There were families pouring out of cars and into the store and equal numbers trying to squash brown flat-packs of “destroy it yourself” furniture and fittings called Grunt, Splat and Twong into impossibly small cars. What do these people do about their Sunday outing passengers after they have loaded up? Do they give Granny and Granddad a few coins to take the bus home? There is no way you can fit all the passengers and the flat-pack must-haves back into some of these cars.  Maybe that is why they provide rope at the IKEA loading bay; it is actually to tie Granny and Granddad onto the roof of the car.

Oh well, I am committed so might as well join the hoards of people unable to control shopping trolleys, with absolutely no sense of direction and with varying levels of short-term memory loss. I hooked a yellow bag over my shoulder and I too became an IKEA shopper!

I know there is a science in store layout design whether it is a supermarket, a DIY store or an M&S type outlet. The store wants everyone to see everything they have available and they want it to be just at the right time when for example, the shopper has been subliminally convinced that the bright pink Plobo stool would look really nice in their kitchen.

FMCG RTM ROUTE PLANNING resized 600Oh, but the chaos this causes in an IKEA store. Being a Supply Chain chap I would make the whole store strictly one-way with nobody allowed to double back to soft furnishings or for a forgotten low energy light bulb. In fact, if I had my way I would make the floors with a defined downhill gradient and ensure trolley wheels were oiled hourly to help people on their way, through the broken furniture bargain section, past the cheap but strangely filling fast food and out into the car park. What about a small battery pack on each trolley which delivered a persuasive tingle of current if you tried to push the trolley against the traffic? Too extreme, possibly!

Think of all the wasted hours and wasted effort of moving all the way through the store then insisting on reversing the route and getting in the way of everybody else. Then it struck me. I realised where I had seen this before and why I perversely enjoyed dodging the trolleys in the IKEA shopping maze. This is what many FMCG companies suffer in their distribution route planning in Romania every single day. Wasted miles, wasted fuel, wasted time and in all that time there are customers not being served.

If your FMCG sales are struggling along and the stream of excuses for monthly gaps appears endless you might take a close look at how much time your sales people spend selling to and guiding distributors in the Traditional Trade If they have adopted the IKEA system then you may just have spotted a huge opportunity to improve your Route To Market performance.

Go and have a closer look. Get some IKEA rope, tie yourself to the roof a salesman’s car and see what some simple thought and routing logic can add to your bottom line.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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

FMCG Distributors: 7 Ways to avoid inventory overstocking

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

If you still rely on Traditional Trade (TT) distribution for a significant part of your business then read on! Over-stocking Distributors happens by stealth and the consequences creep up on you until suddenly and without warning you hit a brick wall and sales figures fall off a cliff.

FMCG Traditional Trade Inventory Stocks resized 600Avoiding this career-limiting disaster requires vigilance and discipline plus top-down leadership ideally through a harmonious Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) process.

Month, quarter and year-end push. Run your business on one set of numbers agreed at Board level and ensure NOBODY (particularly Sales!) operates an alternative private agenda. If you follow a decent S&OP process such period end pushes can be avoided. Let's face it; period-end sales pushes place huge strain on everybody in the organisation yet only the Sales people receive a bonus for these efforts...........!

Failed launches. Get real with new launch innovation volume projections. Brand Managers will always, repeat always, overstate how successful their new brand/SKU is going to be. They do not want to appear unambitious, nor do they want to run out of stock but this is what happens when self-interest decisions are taken outside of a healthy S&OP process.

Old label/formulation stock. New launches should not a surprise and with decent planning you can avoid having old label/formulation stock in the Distributor warehouse. As soon as you start pumping in an SKU with a new label the Distributor will stop selling the old one. "Well that's his problem" - no it isn't as it blocks his warehouse, his cash flow and your customer service. If you plan your launch volume ramp-up well you can avoid this by simply running a sink-market region where all stocks of the old label SKU are sold out, possibly with a discount.

Old and expired promotions. If promotions have failed and do not move then take quick action and don’t let them sit gathering dust. Dismantle co-packs and put the valuable and original SKUs back into stock and/or re-label special offer packs.

Returns from customers. Producer sales forces struggle with this and particularly when it concerns Key Accounts. You need a cast iron agreement on responsibility AND authority for customer returns. If this is contractually agreed then fine, take the stock back and redirect it in your system. If there is no definite agreement then you leave the door open to individual sales people taking unilateral and comfortable decisions to accept returns to get clients off their back. Unexpected and unmanaged returns cause havoc in logistics, warehousing and in ERP's.

Producer forecasting errors. No forecast is ever 100% perfect and nor should it be, by definition. However, if you measure your forecast accuracy BY SKU and take actions to improve accuracy then this source of overstock can be significantly reduced. Ignore calls to measure accuracy by brand or by category as the data is useless to the people supplying the products.

Damaged and expired. This is really an accumulation of items 1-6. Damaged and expired products will be present in any business. To ensure they do not appear in the ERP as good stock available for sale it is important to write off and dispose of them as soon as possible.

In order to prevent re-occurrence there needs to be a change in company behaviour coupled with a living S&OP process led by the most senior person in the organisation.

            Want to know more about getting your inventory level right in FMCG?

Contact Dave with your questions!

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles at

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, CEO, Supply Chain, CEE, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Sales, Inventory Management & Stock Control

FMCG Supply Chain: The Top 10 Smash Hits (with a twist)

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Mar 25, 2015

The worlds of Supply Chain and popular music may be strange bed fellows but if you look closely you will see many a smash hit have a supply chain theme. Let us take a tongue-in-cheek look at the latest Supply Chain charts.

I Want My ERP – Sting is at number 10 with his classic need for a decent ERP system to support your business. Avoid off the shelf solutions as they rarely work in the long run. Yes, you usually get what you pay for so evaluate carefully.

S.O.P  from Abba is at number 9 this week. You can almost hear the cry for your business to implement a fully functioning and inclusive Sales & Operational Planning process. Why don’t you hear what your staff are saying about S&OP because “when you’re gone, how can I even try to go on?”

FMCG SUPPLY CHAIN CHARTS  resized 600Suzi Quatro sits at number 8 with Can The Plan, i.e. exactly what you should not do. When you generate an agreed plan from the S&OP meeting and receive top management buy-in then stick with it! Multi- functional co-operation in planning to one set of numbers ensures you get the best chance of success.

Rightly ahead of Suzi at number 7 is Stand By Your Plan from Tammy Wynette.  For all the reasons above you should stick to your collective best estimate of what the business will achieve in the month. If any department starts to work to another plan you have simply lost control.

Hope Of Delivering by Paul McCartney is at 6 this week – yes, Macca is still hovering around in the charts. Take the “hope” out of your service proposition by choosing your 3PLP wisely or by investing in skilled in-house capability. At the end of the day your delivery company is the final contact with customers before a sale is secured and payment activated.

Little Eva is at 5 with the classic The Distri-bution. Everybody probably is “doin’ it” now but those that manage Distributors well will be topping the sales charts. Get close to your Distributors and integrate them into your business as far as possible. They are after all responsible for a major part of FMCG businesses operating in D&E markets.

It’s A Forecast – Bonny Tyler is at number 4. A forecast is just that, a forecast. While yours will never be 100% correct you should be constantly aiming to improve accuracy on an SKU basis. Forget forecasting by brand or category as this does not provide the detail required to allow the Supply Chain to make adjustments in the future. The forecast should be collaborative taking all aspects of supply, marketing, finance and demand into account.

Into the top 3 and at three is Barry Manilow with Co-packabana (At The).  Promotional complexity can be both a USP and a millstone. You may believe you operate with a small number of SKUs but this number balloons when you take into account all the promotional co-packing and re-packing that takes place. Take a long hard look at your level of sku complexity and consider delisting those that do not add value.

Dolly Parton sits at 2 with The Best Little Warehouse in Texas – Dolly certainly has a couple of big hits and this is one of them.  Organise your stock so you know where to find it and don’t’ forget to count it and count it regularly. You best laid plans can come unstuck if you cannot find your stock when trying to order pick.

I am Sale-ing – Rod Stewart is this weeks’ number one! Old croaky throat is still at the top with a song that sums up what your whole organisation should be aligned to achieve. Following the messages in the top 10 can help you secure sales success even under difficult economic conditions.

Tune in again soon for another look at the Supply Chain charts.

Image courtesy of James Barker at

Tags: FMCG, Dave Jordan, Humour, Supply Chain, S&OP, Sales