“Act 2” of my consulting career started, in retrospect, in August of ’08. From January ’80 to August ’08 (Act 1), I was a speaker-guru for the world of independent distributors as well as looking for and turning around distribution companies in parallel. (My “Act 1” web site is still up at www.merrifield.com. It has most of my written material on “High Performance Distribution Management” topics from the late 80s through late 2008.)
In August ’08, I received an email from a stranger, Randy MacLean, about a web service that he had started to provide analytics to distributors. I jumped at the chance to partner with him to co-create what has since become a full-blown, management process based on Line-Item Profit Analytics (LIPA).
I had been preaching the turnaround, core-renewal benefits of “customer profitability” analytics since ’76. I had used a crude, but good-enough, cost-to-serve model formula based on average transactional costs. There was no visibility of the SKUs, picks and their activity costs on a customer by customer basis.
Most distributors (who started to use my “Bruce Lite” formula) were stymied upon discovering that some big, too-active customers were big losers. They just stopped in their tracks in disbelief. Few pushed on to discover the great profit-improvement and growth opportunities possible with customer profitability insights and tactics.
It was Randy’s ambition to calculate the net profit or loss on every single line item event. This involves more cost-modeling expertise than most distributors can afford in house; as well as, prodigious amounts of data crunching and storage. But, by August ’08, web service technologies had matured while cloud computing costs had plunged to make a distributor web service possible. Now, distributors can get fast (3 weeks or less), affordable, turnkey, LIPA-Management solutions for a monthly, cancel-anytime fee. All of the upfront expertise, investment and short/long-term risk – is shifted from the distributor to WayPoint Analytics.
Since August ’08, I’ve continued to do speaking and advisory work, but all of my discretionary research and writing has gone into the development of WayPoint Analytics’s service and educating WayPoint clients to get maximum results with LIPA Management. The service isn’t just a few new tools; it is a new paradigm for how to run a distribution business. I have been piecing together a paint-by-the-numbers educational-support curriculum to go with the tools.
This site is therefore dedicated to supporting distributors who want to pursue LIPA Management from WayPoint and/or on their own.