Supply Chain Blog

Demand a Culture of Route to Market Excellence Through Outstanding Leadership

Posted by Ross Marie on Tue, Mar 19, 2019

There are many things I have seen in over 20 years in the unbelievably exciting Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Business (FMCG). There are many things I can talk about and stories I can tell. But since I was first handed the keys to a van in 1998 to stock shelves in retail, right up until my most recent board presentation to the global CEO of a FTSE 100 FMCG company, one thing has always remained constant, Leadership drives Culture


culture-leadership-rtm-finalWhat FMCG Leaders say, what they do, how they do it, and how they live it, drives company culture. In other words, it drives what we do and how we do it around here. If we want to deliver real change and improvement in Route to Market (RtM) excellence, the senior management team, from the CEO down, must fully buy into and demonstrate that change.

Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. The 20 Steps are split into 4 phases, Assessment, Strategy, Design and Implementation. My goal in creating the 20 Steps, and in writing these supporting blogs, is to provide FMCG leaders with a methodology or framework that will allow them to review, transform or build their RtM capability is a structured manner, covering all elements of the RtM strategy.

Over the past number of months, we have gone through the first 19 steps of my model. The focus of this post is the final Step 20 – ‘Culture & Leadership’. When we review, transform or build RtM capability, the journey will not be linear. I say this because Step 20 will not be the last thing you do, but it will drive the entire process. For example, Step 1 Review RtM Performance, involves looking at all the current elements across your RtM, you might say it involves reviewing your existing 20 Steps, including Culture & Leadership.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 20 – Culture & Leadership:

  1. Before you start your RtM journey, what is the leadership platform that will drive success? Do we have the active support of the CEO, for example?
  2. To what extent are senior management at regional or global level supportive? Who will sponsor the changes that will be required? If we do not have senior management’s active support, to what extent will we be able to drive meaningful change?
  3. Based on the results of Step 19 Functional Integration, what are the functions and departments within the organisation that have been identified and mapped out as key elements of the RtM Strategy?
  4. Have these functions and departments been involved in the RtM strategy process thus far? For example, could we rank the department involvement from a level 10 (heavily involved) down to level zero (not yet engaged with)?
  5. Who are the key individual influencers within the organisation whose opinion carries weight across key departments or functions? Have these individuals been involved in the RtM process thus far? To what level has their involvement been?
  6. Who are the key external stakeholders, whether affected by the change or not, that need to be involved?
  7. Is there specific buy in or agreement that we need to get, in order to make and facilitate these changes? Will any of the changes have any political, legal or governmental consequences?
  8. What does our overall stakeholder map look like? Do we feel there are any gaps?
  9. What are the key messages that we need to deliver to the organisation? For example, why did we start this process? What was the need that drove the change? What changes have we made? Why did we make them?
  10. How will this new approach impact our employees, on their departments and on the company? How will this improve our current position? How will these improvements better equip us for the future?
  11. How will these changes help us to beat the competition? How will these changes better equip us to service our customers? How will these changes be seen by our other external stakeholders?
  12. How will these changes effect company departments traditionally not seen as sales or RtM focused? How do we engage and bring them along on our journey?
  13. How would we describe the current company culture? How do we do things around here?
  14. How big a cultural shift are we trying to make? Are we moving from an autocratic style of management where the “boss” tells people what to do, over to an empowerment centric culture where we want to see the RtM front line staff create and build new ideas? What does the size and nature of this shift mean?
  15. In what timescale are we looking to make these changes? Is this realistic?
  16. What are the essential behaviours we want to see in the organisation to make the new RtM approach successful?
  17. How do we ensure that we are getting the essential behaviours across the organisation to deliver on our RtM strategy?
  18. Does all of the company executive committee, management board, top team, management team, etc., understand the new RtM approach and the rational for change? In other words, has the Senior Management (CEO/Managing Director, and all direct reports) been brought through the entire process to ensure active advocacy?
  19. How will the Senior Management group show their support for the new RtM approach? Will there be a specific launch of the new approach? How will they be involved? What are follow up phases to this launch? How does the entire organisation see this advocacy and Leadership come to life?
  20. What is the overall change management plan to win the necessary stakeholder buy in to deliver RtM Excellence?

I would like to thank you very much for reading any or all of my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence. I hope you find this useful, and any views and comments are most welcome. Although this is the final step in the framework, we will continue to discuss key RtM issues over the coming weeks and months.

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, Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Performance Improvement, Traditional Trade, Cost Reduction, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Communication, Retail, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

Break Down Departmental Silos Through Functional Integration for Route to Market Success

Posted by Ross Marie on Fri, Feb 15, 2019

The FMCG business is like a team sport. There are sales people sent into the field, to sell more products and beat their targets. There are players put on the sports field, charged with scoring points and winning the game. In both scenarios, if the people behind the scenes don’t do their job, those on the front line can’t deliver. It’s that simple.

functional-integration-rtm

Route to Market (RtM) professionals need inventory to fulfill orders, budgets to execute Key Account agreements, Point of Sale (POS) material to help increase sales, devices to record information, take orders and communicate, vehicles to visit customers, etc. The RtM/Sales or TM&D (Trade Marketing & Distribution) function must have clear and open two-way communication with all the other business functions. Functional Integration is a cornerstone to any successful RtM strategy.

My first lesson in the need for Functional Integration came when I was a Sales Rep for an FMCG multinational in the late 1990’s. The Marketing Department was doing a big push for one specific brand. They sent every rep a large package of POS material with clear instructions to place it in retail. The main POS material was a cash mat. Cash mats are designed to be placed next to the till, on the counter between the retailer and the consumer, and are where the retailer can place notes and coins as part of the consumers change from their order. They protect the retailers counter, make it easier for the consumer to pick up their change and they can provide a great opportunity to communicate with the consumer at the actual point of purchase.

These particular cash mats were beautiful pieces of POS material. They were very high quality, the message they communicated was very clear and they were also very durable. But there was one big problem. They didn’t fit into the available space in the retail stores. There had been no interaction, consultation, or communication between the RtM function and the marketing function during their development. A lot of money could have been saved if there had been proper Functional Integration.

Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. Over the past number of months, we have gone through the first 18 steps of my model. The focus of this post is Step 19 – ‘Functional Integration’.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 19 – Functional Integration:

  1. Based on the RtM Review in Step 1, what are the other business functions that your RtM, Sales or TM&D department currently interacts with? Have you explicitly identified them?
  2. Are there currently ‘rules of engagement’ for the different interactions with the other functions, or has it just evolved?
  3. For each business function or department, to what extent have we identified the nature of the integration required? For example, what key processes are involved? What are the related process inputs and outputs? Have levels of inter-departmental performance been defined? Are these levels of performance explicit? If so, how has performance been defined? Do internal Service Level Agreements (SLAs) exist, for example?
  4. Based on the new RtM Strategy in Step 5, how will the functional interaction with the RtM department and other functions change? What new rules of engagement need to be established? How will this be measured?
  5. What is the nature of the integration with Supply Chain? How do we feed information into the Supply Chain Department? For example, who decides what the demand will be over the next few months? What are the implications for the Logistics Department? Has the RtM Department fed into these processes?
  6. Do we have an S&OP (Sales & Operational Planning) Process? Has the RtM Department fully bought into this process? Are we represented in it? Is it clear what information we should feed into this process? For example, what is the role of the RtM Department in the Demand Review Process?
  7. Who receives our information on Out of Stocks in the field? What actions are taken based on this? How do we prevent them? What help do we need to do this?
  8. Do we accept product returns from customers? If so, who manages this process and what departments interact with this?
  9. How does the RtM department interact with the Brand Marketing department? Has this process been formalised? How often do representatives from the marketing department attend trade field visits?
  10. Does the RtM Department feed into Point of Sale (POS) material development? If not, why not?
  11. Do we place any promotional trade assents in the field? Who manages this process? Who provides feedback on their applicability and usefulness? Who tracks and manages them as assets of the business? What is our process for this and which function is responsible?
  12. How does the RtM Department interact with the Finance Department? Who sets prices, margins, budgets and discounts within the RtM department? How does Finance fit in with this? How do we currently feed trade information into Finance? How will this change under any new RtM Strategy?
  13. How do we open new accounts with customers? Are any other departments involved? Who sets payments terms? Do we offer credit? Who then sets individual customer credit limits? How does the RtM department feed information into this?
  14. How do we collect payment from our customers? Is it all electronic? Do we accept any other forms of payment? Do we accept cash? What are the processes and procedures for this? Which departments are involved? Do we have a Security or Health & Safety Department or Function? Is this part of HR? How do we interact with them?
  15. How do we interact with the IT department? Do we have a CRM solution or hand-held device that is used to take orders and record market data? Who maintains this? Who feeds them information about its real-world application and actual issues?
  16. How does the RtM Department interact with the HR Department? For example, do we have a system for performance appraisals? Who is responsible for RtM Training & Development? Who manages performance appraisals? How do receive the company policies & procedures? How can or do we feedback on them?
  17. Who manages our company equipment, like cars, phones, tablets, laptops, uniforms, etc? How do we provide feedback on these? To whom?
  18. How does the RtM Department interact with the corporate/public affairs or PR department? For example, how often do they make trade visits? How do we feed information to them? How can they speak publicly or address key issues about our products or communications, without speaking to the department who deals with our customers?
  19. How open are we as a department? Do we have regular conferences and regular meetings? Do we invite other departments? Do we actively manage our relationship with other departments? Do we try to attend other departments key meetings?
  20. What is our plan to on board the other company functions to our new approach to RtM? Have we consulted them throughout the process to accelerate buy in? Have we looked at which specific areas within the 20 Steps to RtM Excellence will impact on which specific functions?
  21. What is the overall strategy to ensure the RtM Function is integrated with all necessary departments and functions across the organisation?

I hope you find this useful, and any views and comments are most welcome.

Next, I will cover the final step, Step 20 ‘Culture & Leadership’. 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: Customer service, SKU, Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Cost Reduction, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Inventory Management & Stock Control, Information, Retail, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

Improve Your Key Account Management Approach with these Vital Tips for Route to Market Success

Posted by Ross Marie on Thu, Jan 31, 2019

Key Account Management (KAM) is how Route to Market (RtM) leaders effectively and efficiently manage the relationship with specific and strategic customers, or customer groupings, to deliver on RtM targets.

 

key-account-management-rtm-3-webCustomers are classified as Key Accounts based on a variety of reasons. For example, it could be because they have a large numbers of retail outlets all branded under the one name. It could be that they operate several bars and restaurants, that are of key importance for delivering your RtM Targets. Your wider organisation may also mandate that specific global customers are treated in a certain way. There could also be dozens of market specific reasons why you might assign a customer(s) as a Key Account.

Regardless of why a customer is assigned to KAM, the important issue is, how they are managed, how the relationship is nourished, how their growth plans are implemented and how they are serviced across our organisation. The central element to KAM is relationship.

Success in KAM Management requires careful consideration, especially if you are either new to the concept of KAM, or if you feel your organisation is not doing it right.

Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. Over the past number of months, we have gone through the first 16 steps of my model. The focus of this post is Step 17 ‘Key Account Management (KAM)’.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask when reviewing, developing or building your Key Account Management (KAM) department or approach:

  1. Based on the RtM Strategy chosen on Step 5 and the Channel Classification in Step 7, what is our desired approach to Key Account Management?
  2. On what basis do we determine that a customer falls into the KAM arena? Is this based on size, current performance, volume, uniformity, number of outlets, ownership of outlets, location of outlets, strategic importance, etc.?
  3. If the customer has a KAM classification in other markets that we or our parent company operate in, does that have a bearing on our local classification?
  4. Will we have different levels of KAM classification? For example, should we assign the label of ‘National Accounts’ to our larger national hypermarket retailers, who have a presence across our market? Or might we assign the label of ‘Key Accounts’ to some regional larger retailers who have multiple stores in one area of our market?
  5. Where does Channel Management fit into KAM? Will we classify our business or customers into Modern Trade and Traditional or General Trade? Will KAM sit into one or both of these channels?
  6. What proportion of our overall business is Key Accounts (as opposed to the Traditional or General Trade)? How to we expect this proportion to develop in the coming years? How will this shape our approach to KAM?
  7. Will there be a RtM manager who has overall responsibility for Key Accounts regardless of which Channel, Area or Region the Key Account is in?
  8. What might this RtM manager have responsibility for? For example, would they manage and be responsible for volume, display, product range, training, strategic approach, relationship, negotiation, reporting, targeting, budgets, etc.)?
  9. Based on our Competitor Analysis in Step 4, how does our competition view KAM? Are there any learnings for us in their approach, or does their approach change our own?
  10. Do we treat all Channels and/or Key Accounts in the same way? For example, will the distributors and cash and carry’s or wholesalers in one region of the country be managed differently than in another? Will this be reflected in the structure? Would the distributors in the North of country be managed by a Key Account Manager who reports to a RtM Manager with responsibility for the North?
  11. Are we clear about the types of individuals who will manage or become Key Account Managers? Do we have specific criteria? What is it? Have we properly weighted the importance of relationship building in looking at individuals?
  12. Where does Key Account Management sit in the organisation structure? What is the relationship between KAM and the RtM field force who potentially manage and call on the individual outlets? How is communication managed between the two? In practice, do they really talk to each other or limit themselves to mandated reporting and communication?
  13. Are we clear about the levels of importance of each channel or Key Account? Have we taken into account all RtM Targets, including strategic importance to us? Have we looked at this importance/power angle from the side of the customer? How important or necessary are we to them? How does this feed into negotiation?
  14. Do we have detailed Key Account Plans for each account? Does this clearly detail what our objectives and targets are for each account? Have we worked with the account in developing these? Have we worked with the internal stakeholders who will and can influence these? Do we simply want engagement with the account, or partnership, or preferred partnership, or exclusivity? Have we looked at previous years plans and taken learnings from them? Do we include what our individual account’s future plans or aspirations are?
  15. Do our Key Account Plans cover all areas of engagement between our two organisations, for example top to top meetings, Key Account reviews, wider RtM team interaction at customer level (e.g. retail or distributor), corporate entertainment/relationship building, order placement, deliveries, feedback on promotions, information sharing (e.g. sales/EPOS data), authority/empowerment, invoicing, seasonality factors, etc.?
  16. What is our approach to negotiating Key Account Agreements? When will they be negotiated? Who will be in the room from our side? Who has the authority to negotiate and to agree?
  17. What happens in the event of a stalemate or breakdown during Key Account agreement negotiation? What will the layers of escalation be? What is our approach to negotiation training?
  18. Do we have a full negotiation strategy per Key Account covering all elements of the agreement and estimated potential scenarios? Has this been agreed and signed off by all stakeholders?
  19. How are we currently rewarding or incentivising Key Accounts? What is the current reward mechanism, e.g. rebate, discount, payment etc.? Is it based on volume or revenue or profit or other RtM targets? What is the potential role of Third Degree Partnerships (3DPs) here?
  20. What role does margin play in our relationship with our Key Accounts? Do we have the control to set it? What are the internal and/or external factors that may affect our ability to set our pricing and margins?
  21. How do we manage and control Key Account investment? Who manages this? How do we determine levels of investment per Key Account?
  22. What payment terms do we operate across our RtM? How do payment terms fit into KAM? Do we have specific payment term targets, by account, by region, by channel, by customer? Do we have the mechanisms in place to facilitate the different forms of electronic payment? Do we have minimum acceptable payment standards? What is our overall approach to payment terms in relation to KAM?
  23. Which of our Channels and Key Accounts are growing? Which are declining? How is this reflected in our overall strategic and individual approach to KAM?
  24. How do we capture learnings across KAM? Do we have a process for capturing success in one account and replicating it in another?
  25. What is our overall approach to KAM? What is our implementation plan for rolling this out?

I hope you find this useful, and any views and comments are most welcome.

Next, I will cover Step 18 ‘Training & Upgrading’. 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: Customer service, SKU, Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Performance Improvement, Traditional Trade, S&OP, Cost Reduction, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Compliance, Information, Retail, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

Beat the FMCG Competition with an Outstanding Distributor Partnership Programme

Posted by Ross Marie on Fri, Jan 18, 2019

A Distributor Partnership Programme, if designed and implemented correctly, can be one of the most powerful tools in the Route to Market (RtM) armory for delivering sales growth.

distributor-partnership-programme-webA Distributor Partnership Programme sets out which individual distributors or distribution network(s) you will work with. It details, ideally within individual simple Distributor Development Plans, how you will work with them, what specific areas they need to improve on, exactly what they need to deliver and what is in it for them. All of this will be done with the back drop of the specific market you operate in, set against agreed timelines, and the programme must map out a win/win for all sides.

The Distributor Partnership Programme works best as part of an overall RtM improvement plan, but at the very least needs to be coupled with Distributor Assessments, which I covered in an earlier post. Once we have assessed what we already have/what is out there, we can then decide who, and on what basis, we want to partner.

Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. Over the past number of months, we have gone through the first 14 steps of my model. The focus of this post is Step 15 ‘Distributor Partnership Programme’.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 15 ‘Distributor Partnership Programme’:

  1. Based on the RtM Strategy & the 4D Approach chosen in Step 5, what is our DIME approach for our Route to Market?
  2. What is a reasonable expectation of our distributors? Have we defined exactly what this is in terms of process and performance? Have we included sales processes, logistics performance and back office performance? How do we measure this?
  3. Based on the Distributor Assessment in Step 3, how many of our current distributors do we want to continue to work with? What is the minimal size of a viable distributor, including the ability to fund any required investment? What is the optimum number of distributors? What is the current contractual arrangement with our current distributors?
  4. How many of our current distributors are we looking to end our relationship with? Upon what basis can we make such a judgement? What is the current contractual arrangement with them? What is our approach and plan for ending this relationship? Will there be financial or other implications to ending any relationships?
  5. Have we conducted a risk and continuity of supply assessment? Have we included factors such as resource (specifically cost), product supply, politics, competition, timing, future relationship, perception, etc.?
  6. Will we look to engage with any new distributors? What criteria will we use to make these decisions? Who are these new distributors? What is our engagement plan with them?
  7. Are we currently operating on an exclusive distribution system? If not, is that something we have identified as a priority going forward? If not, how will we manage potential conflicts that could arise?
  8. Have we considered the output of our Competitor Analysis in Step 4? What impact will this have on, for example, looking at distributor exclusivity, starting and ending relationships, distributor development plans, etc.?
  9. Based on the Distributor Assessment in Step 3, what does our ideal or model distributor look like? What criteria are we using to create this ideal distributor? Have we taken local geographic, technological, political and economic conditions and nuances into account? What does the Balance Sheet of a Model Distributor look like?
  10. Based our RtM targets identified in Step 5, and looking across all of our distributors, existing and new, what will the Distributor Development Plans of each distributor look like?
  11. Will the Distributor Development Plans include areas of, for example, geographic coverage, number of vehicles, availability of data, inventory levels, reporting, calls per day, steps of the call, route planning, flexibility (e.g. new brand launches), brand distribution criteria, point of sale material placement, planogramming, display, brand dialogue, promotions, pricing, product returns/complaints, retailer engagement, to name a few?
  12. Out of these Distributor Development Plans, do we have a simple specific strategy for each distributor – e.g. defend / increase market share, improve selling processes, develop or expand van selling etc.?
  13. What will our partnership programme look like? What criteria will we use and how will this be measured? Will we categorise distributors into different performance categories? If so, what will these categories look like, how many will we have and how will this be measured?
  14. What will the rewards in the partnership programme be? Will we use a discount system, a rebate system, a prize-based system, a combination of these, etc.?
  15. Have we considered budgetary factors? Will this be self-financing through volume gains? Have we mapped out the success of different scenarios to fully uncover maximum cost exposure?
  16. Will we differentiate distributors based on, for example, size, volume, market share, reach, coverage, reporting, data, access, etc.?
  17. Will this be a national programme? Will we need a pilot in one region for example? Will we allow geographic nuances and differences to be considered? Will here be any effect on headcount in the RtM team to support the programme? Will we need specific Distributor Development roles, or will these activities be accommodated in BAU?
  18. What will the training programme be for our key account and RtM team? What is our roll out plan for this?
  19. Have we developed new SLAs or key account agreements to take account of the above?
  20. All Distributor Programmes should increase sales and market sharer, so what expectations do we have for our programme?
  21. Based on all the above, what is the implementation & engagement plan for the Distributor Partnership Programme?

I hope you find this useful, as always views and comments are welcome. Next, I will cover Step 16 ‘Third Degree Partnerships (3DPs)’. 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: Customer service, SKU, Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Traditional Trade, Logistics Management, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Inventory Management & Stock Control, Retail, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

How to Master Technology in Route to Market Strategy to Save Resources and Fuel Sales

Posted by Ross Marie on Fri, Jan 11, 2019

When we discuss Technology in terms of Route to Market (RtM) Strategy we are looking at our overall approach to and use of Technology at every stage of our RtM Strategy and Execution.

rtm-technology-webThis includes, for example, the hand-held system we take orders on, the ERP system the company uses, the tracking method we have for targeting the RtM team, the way we measure and track our key account agreements, how we optimise our route planning, and everything else across the RtM space.

The key in many cases will be minimising the number of systems we use, facilitating their integration, ensuring their simplicity and allowing them to minimise human intervention.

Welcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. Over the past number of months, we have gone through the first 13 steps of my model. The purpose of my blog series is to stimulate your thought processes around RtM, and to allow a moment to think and to ask some key questions. The focus of this post is Step 14 ‘Technology’.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 14 ‘Technology’:

  1. Based on the RtM Review in Step 1, what is our current approach to and use of Technology across our Route to Market?
  2. What is the Systems Landscape operating across our RtM function? To what extent are the systems integrated?
  3. Do we use an ERP system? Is this linked to any other RtM systems? How does this integration work? Have we adopted systems that are no longer fit for purpose?
  4. Do we get distributor, customer or third-party sales data? If so, what do we do with this? Is this fed into our own RtM system? Can we measure and report on this? What manual intervention is involved?
  5. What is our use of spreadsheets across the RtM function, including strategy, execution, monitoring and reporting? How many different departments are using them? Have we looked at this aspect in the past and what view did we take at the time? To what extent are we managing the risks associated with spreadsheet usage?
  6. What is the current order capture method? Do we use a CRM? Do we use a hand held, tablet or phone? If so, what is their current ease of use and performance? How integrated is the order capture method into the overall company system(s)?
  7. What systems for we use to monitor the performance of our RtM representatives? For example, do we know how many calls they are doing per day, what their location is at any given time, what their stock levels are, etc.?
  8. Do we track our distribution and RtM vehicles electronically? If so, what do we do with the data?
  9. Do we have a solution for setting and monitoring our RtM targets? Is this automated and integrated into our overall RtM system?
  10. How do we measure product display across our retail, Horeca and customer network? Is there a technology solution for this?
  11. How do we track, monitor and report on compliance to customer agreements, whether they are national trading terms with key accounts, of single store contracts?
  12. Do we have any connectivity constraints in our marketplace? Does our RtM team have access to mobile/cellular data across the country or does connectivity wait until the end of the day? How does this impact on our approach to Technology?
  13. Do we use RtM data analytics across our RtM? If so, what do we do with the data? If not, have we looked at this in the past? What are our next steps for RtM data analytics?
  14. Do we have a solution for capturing cost to serve data across the RtM? Is this a simple automated process or does it require manual intervention? If so why? What are we doing with this information?
  15. To what extent do we use technology to set up sales territories and look at route planning? If not, why not? If we do use Technology here, what have the results been?
  16. What is the current amount of time our RtM team spends using technology? Is this what we want and expect? Is this the best use of the RtM team’s time or have we over complicated any process?
  17. Do we use social media and other form of digital marketing for RtM? Does it form an integrated part of our RtM strategy or has it been deployed in silo from other RtM initiatives? What have we used it for and what have the results been? Who in the organisation uses social media for RtM? Do we have a clear strategy and guidelines in place for the use of digital tools?
  18. Do we train our RtM team on all aspects of Technology that we use in RtM strategy and execution? Is it very clear which aspects of Technology are ‘in scope’ and ‘out of scope’ for certain roles/departments?
  19. Does our RtM team currently employ workarounds due to current system set up?
  20. What are the current technology gaps in our RtM? Where are the manual processes that need to be automated? On the other hand, are their examples where we are over complicating an area or issue for the sake of technology?
  21. Given all the above, what is our overall Technology plan across the RtM, Sales and/or Trade Marketing and Distribution function?

I hope you find this useful, as always views and comments are welcome. Next, I will cover Step 15 ‘Distributor Partnership Programme’. 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, Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Traditional Trade, Cost Reduction, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Information, Retail, RTM, Promotions, ERP, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

A Crystal-Clear Sales Incentive program is Fundamental to Route to Market Success

Posted by Ross Marie on Thu, Dec 06, 2018

When I say Sales Incentive Program (SIP) in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, I am referring to the internal company incentive program that is used to motivate and influence the behaviour of sales people and teams to deliver company specific results. This is not to be confused with a Trade Incentive Program, designed to motivate Retailers or Distributors or other Trade Partners.

SIPs in the FMCG sector are crucial in the delivery of Route to Market (RtM) goals. The old adage is true, what gets rewarded gets done. But is it that simple? Well, no. Putting a SIP together can be a minefield unless all the bases are covered. Let’s dig a little deeper.

sales-incentive-program-fmcg-rtm-webWelcome to my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. I am writing this blog to offer guidance on the things that should be considered when putting a RtM strategy together. Over the past number of weeks, we have gone through the first 10 steps of my model. The focus of this post is Step 11, ‘Sales Incentive Programme’.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 11 - Sales Incentive Programme (SIP):

  1. Based on the RtM Review in Step 1, is there a SIP in place? If yes, what is the current SIP? How is it performing? What were the key factors that led to any past successes?
  2. What does the current SIP measure? How is the performance of the sales people measured and what are their targets?
  3. To what extent are we targeting volume, revenue, profit, share, brand distribution, display, range, TM&D activities, point of sale material, promotions, new accounts, new brand introductions, out of stocks, cash in, etc.? What are the top 3 or 4 metrics that we currently measure? How would this be used in developing any new SIP?
  4. How do we currently assign targets between the different Regions, Areas, Channels, Territories, Key Accounts, etc.? How will this be done in the future?
  5. Is the current program complex and difficult to understand or administer? Or is it simple, easy to follow and understood by all?
  6. How attainable are the rewards in the current SIP and how will this inform any new programme?
  7. Is the current programme based on short terms incentives, e.g. monthly or quarterly, or is it based on longer term, annually or 3 yearly? How will this influence any revised programme?
  8. How achievable is the current SIP? To what extent are targets achievable? Does it favour a small group within the sale force? How will this knowledge be used to develop any new programme?
  9. Based on the new, revised or reviewed RtM approach, what measures will we use in future for our sales/RtM department?
  10. How will we report the new SIP? What method of reporting will we use and what will the frequency be?
  11. Will we operate a leader board system where every sales person knows where they rank? Will sales people have real time visibility of their and others performance?
  12. What are the primary motivating factors within our organisation, country, culture, etc? Are they financial, recognition, skill acquisition, team based, career progression, etc.? Are they a mix of them all?
  13. If we choose a financial route, will it be a percentage of the sale, their salary, the monthly revenue, a fixed amount? Have we considered using a physical item equal to the value of the financial reward as the incentive? Would a personal item that the sales person keeps in their home be more rewarding than cash?
  14. Will any targets and rewards be individual, or team based and how does this reflect how the sales people actually work in the real world?
  15. What will be the elapsed time between achievement of an incentive and the attainment of the reward? Could we lose motivated sales people through extended time lapses?
  16. Have we ever asked our sales people for feedback on the current SIP? Have they ever been asked how they would change or structure a programme? Do we know what motivates them? Have we directly asked them what they want as an incentive?
  17. Will managers have the ability to adjust sales targets or quotas based on specific factors? Will there be a need for a process for this? If so, what will the process look like?
  18. How will any new or revised programme be ‘sold’ into the organisation? How will we achieve, and measure buy-in?
  19. Has any new SIP been tested and modelled before rolling out?
  20. Based on the above, what will the new SIP look like?

I hope you find this useful, any views and comments are welcome. Next week I will cover Step 12 ‘Trade Tool Kit’. 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, Traditional Trade, Sales, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Retail, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

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

Retail Outlet Classification in RtM Strategy, an Essential Element or a Complete Waste of Time?

Posted by Ross Marie on Thu, Nov 01, 2018

Firstly, what is Outlet Classification? It is a process of segmenting every individual outlet, meaning every point of purchase, based on a set of company specific agreed criteria that you will design, e.g. volume, location, consumer profile, footfall, opening hours, engagement opportunity etc. This will then allow you to target specific activities, resources, brands, SKU’s, promotions, metrics, etc., at a specific outlet groupings level. The main benefit of Outlet Classification is the ability to target your product offerings at specific outlet groupings, regardless of who own them or what their retail format is.

fmcg-rtm-outlet-classification

Outlet Classification must not be confused with Channel Classification. Channel Classification, which will be covered in my next post, tends to group outlets together based on format. For example, an FMCG company may service the retail outlets across a country through 4 main channels, Grocery, Convenience, Horeca and Wholesale. These 4 channels may be further split into sub channels, Convenience could be further split into Organised, Mom & Pop, etc. This is mainly based on the format of the stores and who owns them. Outlet classification focuses on specific factors pertinent to your industry and company. It allows you to become much more targeted with your service model. A specific Outlet Classification grouping could contain retail outlets from all channel classifications, but grouped together based on specific consumer profile or location criteria set by you.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask under Step 6 – Outlet Classification:

  1. Do we know all of the outlets in our geography – including name, address, etc? If not, do we have plans to reach the total target universe?
  2. Will we call on the points of sale ourselves?
  3. Will our distributors call on them or will the outlets collect the product?
  4. What percentage of outlets will we cover either directly or indirectly?
  5. What are the criteria that we could classify our outlets under?
  6. On which criteria can we classify using existing data we or our distributors have, and what criteria requires an outlet visit?
  7. Should we classify and visit all outlets, or should we focus on a subset based on a certain criteria?
  8. Do we have the skill set, coverage and resource to do this ourselves?
  9. If not, then is the service available in my market and what are the resource requirements?
  10. Are there options to do a phased on the job classification or is a specific focus and resource required?
  11. Will we have a different approach to dealing with the outlets based on size, total volume, our volume, category volume, share, display, location, accessibility, consumer profile, footfall, opening hours, engagement opportunity, owner vs staff operated, shopper entry, time spent in outlet, potential growth, TM&D opportunities, credit risk, etc?
  12. What will those different approaches be?
  13. Do current key account agreements effect how we may classify/treat/service specific outlets?
  14. What is the timing required to finish the classification?
  15. What are the criteria for assigning call frequencies and resources (people, money, time) based on the classifications?
  16. What are the training needs arising out of outlet classification?

Arguments can be made against Outlet Classification. If you are in a market entry scenario, with limited resources, with established distribution channels, you may decide that Outlet Classification at this stage would be a drain on resources. But if you are a national player looking for country wide distribution, effective Outlet Classification as part of an overall Route to Market strategy could be the difference between winning and losing in that market.

This post is part of my blog series on the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence model. One of the main goals of this blog series is to demystify RtM strategy and to provide FMCG leaders with a step by step guide to follow when reviewing or building their RtM plans.

The overall 20 Steps are split into 4 phases, Assessment, Strategy, Design and Implementation. This post focuses on Step 6 ‘Outlet Classification’. This is the first step in the Design phase and would be undertaken after a full review of your current RtM (Assessment phase), and the development of your new RtM Strategy (Strategy phase). You can read about the steps under the previous phases here.

I hope you find this useful, and I welcome any views and comments below. Next week I will cover Step 7 ‘Channel Classification’. 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, Brewing & Beverages, FMCG, Route to Market, Traditional Trade, RTM Assessment Tool, Retail, RTM, Promotions, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

Distributor Assessment Essentials to Deliver Sales Growth and Improve RtM Strategy

Posted by Ross Marie on Fri, Oct 12, 2018

Welcome to Step 3 of the 20 Steps to Route to Market Excellence. You can read more about the overall model and the steps I have already discussed here.

fmcg-distributotor-assessmentThe third step is ‘Distributor Assessment’. Whether you are looking to build a RtM strategy from scratch or review your existing sales and trade marketing execution, assessing the current and/or available methods of distribution is crucial. Distribution in FMCG is typically complex, with many layers, levels and combinations. There may also be local geographic nuances, and/or historical challenges to deal with. You may own and control every element of the distribution network, known as Direct Distribution. You might contract out the distribution to 3rd parties who then distribute on your behalf, also falling into the Direct Distribution category. You may sell to distributors who then distribute on to retailers themselves (or via other intermediary wholesalers or cash & carry’s), known as Indirect Distribution. You may have a mix of any of these methods which effects both the level of control, and the complexity involved.

No matter what is in place now, you must evaluate every step in the current method of distribution, from an independent point of view, and consider the possible alternative methods for getting your products to retail.

Here are just some examples of questions you can ask under Step 3 – Distributor Assessment:

  1. What is my current method of distribution?
  2. Is my distribution all ‘direct’ to my customers via my own owned or contracted distribution network?
  3. Is my distribution all ‘indirect’ to my customers through distributors that work either exclusively or non-exclusively for me? What are the layers of distributors, sub-distributors, wholesalers, cash & carry's, etc.?
  4. Is my distribution a mix of the above?
  5. Is this the way it has always been for us or did we change and if so why?
  6. Is my current point of sale coverage a function of my distribution model, or of my route to market strategy?
  7. What are the total number of distributors in my market?
  8. What is their coverage map? How many, if any, am I using? Why is this?
  9. How are my direct and indirect competitors servicing the marketplace? What is their distribution model? How do we feel is it performing for them? Is there anything we can learn from them?
  10. How regularly am I assessing the distribution network or the distributors?
  11. Do I have a distributor assessment tool to conduct the assessment? Feel free to gain inspiration from our Distributor Assessment Guide and Distributor Assessment Tool available for download.
  12. After conducting visits, and using my distributor assessment tool, what is the current performance of my distribution network and /or each one of my distributors?
  13. Where are the gaps in performance vs my ideal distribution network?
  14. What are the current levels of brand and SKU availability at the distributors retail level? What are the levels of out of stock?
  15. Is POS material available and visible at retail level? Are planograms being adhered to? What are the overall levels of display in retail?
  16. Is there an awareness of my brands at a retail level? Are trade engagement programs being run at retail level?
  17. What are the current service levels of my distributors? How does this compare to our contract and our KPIs?

Regardless of which method we choose to assess our distributors by, one fact will not change. We must get out into the field, see the distributor and retail environments first hand, and assess effectiveness of what is really happening, not what we believe is happening. Information, reports, and monitoring tools are essential in RtM execution, but nothing replaces actual field work.

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, with Step 4 Competitor Analysis in my next post.

Please subscribe to the blog, on this page, to ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates on RtM excellence in execution. If you would like to know more about the 20 Steps to RtM Excellence, please visit our website here.

Tags: SKU, FMCG, Route to Market, Logistics Service Provider, Performance Improvement, Traditional Trade, Distribution, RTM Assessment Tool, Retail, Ross Marie, RtM Strategy, 20 Steps to RtM Excellence

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