Category Archives: 2020 Companies

140. Channel-Model Innovations Ahead

BIG CHANGES BY 2020+?

Big players (Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) are combining many technologies to create the onrushing Cloud Omnichannels to which B2B brands must respond.    

Amazon’s (AMZ) “doorstep-back-to-producers” value-channel is all in the cloud. It incorporates technologies like AI, machine learning, robots, and cobots. And, AMZ has already hugely pre-invested in exploiting 5G bandwidth, instant-startup-clone brands, info-videos with watch-me reward points, last-mile-uber-metro-delivery platforms, voice commerce, drones, fintech, blockchain, etc.      

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139. Better Mental-Models for Profit Power

Mental-Model Fuzziness?

We make decisions from a stew of emotions, beliefs, biases, and mental-model assumptions. Models approximate reality, so each has its blind-spots. But, a robust set of models can minimize oversights and help to make better business decisions.  

As a management team exercise, try writing down your models. Then, test them further with analytics, stakeholder surveys, and team discussions. Some common, flawed beliefs follow to get you going.         

Financial Model Beliefs 

  • Do you pursue greater sales to get economies for better buying and to spread fixed costs?
  • Do you grow sales by maximizing selling pitches to more customers to get more margin dollars? (And, why not sneak up prices too? Buy low, sell high!)   
  • To control costs, do you pay “fair” wages, run lean, and keep everyone busy? Then, won’t a bit more of each incremental, margin-dollar flow to the profit line?   

Financial discipline is good! But, the belief-questions above all have flaws and blind-spots. For example, does “make the numbers” work against investing in FedEx’s service-excellence model of: “People, Service, Profits”?

“Good Service” Beliefs

“Good service” is a commodity; it keeps you in the meet-the-price game. “Best service-value” – in the minds of targeted-customers – wins!  But, what are your assumptions for choosing initial segment(s) of customers to target? Can’t service-value metrics vary subtly and importantly for each customer niche?    

Target-Customer Beliefs

“Financial-Think” assumes bigger customers are better, and all are good. But, what if two customers are equal in both sales and margin dollars, but vary in average order size by 10X? Isn’t the small-order customer less profitable?

Cost-to-Serve analytics reveals that about 20% of big-margin-total accounts are typically net-profit losers.  They have too many small-dollar picks and/or orders that cause big, unnecessary activity costs for both parties. Win-win fixes are possible!  

People cannot process two orders at the same time. What is the opportunity cost of processing losing-orders from losing-customers? You can’t pursue, win, and process bigger orders from more net-profitable customers when consumed with losing Busy-Ness! So, what are your order-size-economic assumptions informed by Customer and SKU net-profit analytics?       

Innovation Beliefs/Conclusion   

Studies conclude that 60-80% of premium profits that star companies earn comes from innovations. Top 5% distributors grow faster and make 2-4X the ROI of the bottom 90% of distributors. The Stars are playing a better mental-model game! Why not upgrade your mental-models too?

For more mental-model testing, request my free: “Core Customer Renewal Roadmap” (bruce@merrifield.com). 

138. The Peter-Principle, Sales-Rep Solution(s)

The Peter Principle?

The book, “The Peter Principle”, was first published in ’69. It was a #1 non-fiction, best-seller for 20 weeks. The key concept: most everyone gets promoted until they reach their level of incompetence where they stay, bumble, and resist any real changes. (A humorous writing style helps the medicine go down.)    

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134. The Small-Customer, Small-Order “Lollapalooza Effect”

Lollapalooza Effect: (A Charlie Munger term) When multiple cognitive biases reinforce one another within a group, irrational beliefs will take over.   

THE PROBLEM WITH SMALL CUSTOMERS WITH UNPROFITABLE, AVERAGE-ORDER SIZES

When distributors create a Cost-to-ServE (CTS) model to estimate and rank customers by net-profitability, there are typically two, customer-group shocks:

Continue reading 134. The Small-Customer, Small-Order “Lollapalooza Effect”

133. Your Reply to the 2020 “Crisis of Capitalism”

FIRST-WORLD EMPLOYEES ARE RESTLESS

The “Yellow Vest” protests in Europe echo the “We are the 99%” (Occupy Wall Street movement) – back in August ’11. Both are symptoms of declining, discretionary income for the bottom 95%+ of households (in first world economies). Buying homes and having kids in the US is unaffordable for the average Millennial. And, if you have any promising, young employees, are they job shopping?   

Continue reading 133. Your Reply to the 2020 “Crisis of Capitalism”

130. The True Sources of Your Profit-Power?

FINANCIAL TACTICS AND SERVICE METRICS TO WIN NET-PROFITABLE CUSTOMERS  

Financial KPIs urge: “try harder, be cost efficient”. Good stuff. But, what are your analytics to achieve unique service-value capabilities which win and keep big, targeted, net-profitable accounts that average higher margin dollars per order than their average service-cost per order?  And, do they keep and motivate best-service-ethic people to:

  • Achieve the service-metric goals for the target accounts? 
  • Cure root causes for net-unprofitable customers and SKUs?

THEMES BEHIND MY BLOGS?

This note is one of 130 blogs posted at www.merrifieldact2.com. A big underlying theme for these postcards has been “inventing analytics to better measure and manage true causes of Profit-Power”.  

I’ve rotated through sub-topics (or lenses) including:

  1. Finance. What are the dysfunctional financial-management assumptions and blind spots that plague many distributors? 
  2. Profit-Equation Management (or order-size economics). You make money at the line, order and customer level when: Margin Dollars minus Cost-To-Serve Dollars equals Positive Profit Dollars. Most distributors vastly underestimate their losing customers, SKUs, and Sales Territories – all of which have losing Profit Equations. Building a cost-to-serve model is not hard. What is? Giving up old beliefs that all customers and gross-profit dollars are all equally good. 
  3. Customer (and SKU) Profitability Ranking Reports. By creatively focusing on the top/best and bottom/worst 5% of these reports, huge profit improvements are possible.
  4. Field research to discern next-level, service metrics for most net-profitable customers and customer niches (“nichonomics”).  Distributors who do this kill those who don’t.  
  5. High-Performance, Service Cultures to attract, engage, and focus talent needed to turn insights (from topics 2-4) into better service-value and profits.
  6. Key, defining capabilities that customers reward and no other competitors have. Topics 1-5 create these capabilities which win profitable order-streams from best customers. Then, all financial numbers (which are downstream, aggregated, averaged-out symptoms) improve.  
  7. Envisioning Omnichannel Cloud Commerce circa 2021. Do you have the analytics to inform and enable your digital transformation strategies? Topics 1-6 provide the profits, agility, and confidence to change to win in 2021.  

AN E-BOOK OF MY BLOGS?

Would an E-book that re-sorts my blogs into sub-topics with additional comments and discussion questions be useful? If YES, let me know: bruce@merrifield.com