Category Archives: Big Data

104. Innovation Two-Step: Core Renewal and a Cloud-Based Value-Channel

The Present Facts

Amazon (AMZ) is building out the first value channel from end-users back to factories. And of course, this channel is a cloud-based digital channel. The customer-centric channel is comprised of 10+ intersecting, reinforcing, winner-take-all platforms starting with the 60MM Prime members in the U.S. (100MM+ worldwide). This monopoly capability will allow AMZ to sell into, and/or collect fees from, all verticals that sell anything to Prime members.

This cloud-based value channel has breakthrough advantages over legacy, product-push channel players. Hence, there is insane loyalty from Prime members and astronomical sales growth. Continue reading 104. Innovation Two-Step: Core Renewal and a Cloud-Based Value-Channel

103. Use Insider Information to Get Rich, Then Innovate

For 140 years fortunes have been made on Wall Street by exploiting insider information. While this tactic is illegal on Wall Street, there is a way to use information your competitors don’t have ethically and with enthusiastic front-line employee engagement. How?

Get line-item profit analytics to generate both customer and SKU/vendor profitability rankings. No competitor has your same internal rankings. Nor, do they have your underlying capabilities that have co-evolved with your history of capturing and keeping your profit winners. Continue reading 103. Use Insider Information to Get Rich, Then Innovate

101. Case Study: Customer Names Price, OptiQuote Calculator Sets Terms

The Scenario

An industrial buyer asks a distributor CEO a question.

BUYER: “Can you beat my last year spend on 20 MRO SKUs? The grand total was $35K.”

CEO: “Well, it depends upon the average dollar size of your orders. We can do simulations with my OptiQuote calculator. The general rule is that prices drop with fewer, bigger orders. We pass the reduction in our line and order fulfillment activity costs on to you. And, on any given order prices will drop at both the line-item level and order-total level as the dollar totals increase. As a best-theoretical case, we could enter the annual SKU totals on one big order.” Continue reading 101. Case Study: Customer Names Price, OptiQuote Calculator Sets Terms

100. Distributors: Upgrade “Strategic Pricing”

The first step to ensuring your strategic pricing initiatives are successful is to understand what you’re doing. Here are a few questions to ask of yourself, as a business owner, and of your top management.

  • What is “strategic pricing”?
  • What is our Pricing Analyst’s job? (scope, objectives and success metrics)
  • What assumptions underlie these answers and is there data to back them up?
  • What additional analytics would improve pricing effectiveness?

If you find wildly varying answers, or confusion, from your management team it’s time to upgrade your approach to strategic pricing. Continue reading 100. Distributors: Upgrade “Strategic Pricing”

99. Why Don’t Folks Use New Analytics?

The Problem: Informational Blindness and Paralysis

Human brains have evolved to make fast either/or decisions. Reflex thinking includes a type of informational blindness that fools many on this riddle:

A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. What does the ball cost?*

New analytical insights can also be overwhelming. The quick decision becomes whether you should figure out the problem now or put it aside and do it later. Then there is no later, and paralysis sets in. We are too busy doing what we habitually do, with fine tunings. Continue reading 99. Why Don’t Folks Use New Analytics?

98. “Your Margin is My Opportunity” (Jeff Bezos)

Why Are Your Margins Too High v AMZ’s?

Your margins must cover your channel cost structure which was built for bygone days. Most channel costs evolved (from WW2 on) to push true-new products to first-time buyers. Cold calls (requiring product-education) required both factory and distributor reps to create demand. Both sets of reps got paid roughly 5% of their respective sales. Today (70 years later), most channels still have two sets of reps costing about the same. What other elements of your push-channel costs will AMZ threaten?

2018 Legacy-Channel Challenges:                    

  1. The US consumer-society lifecycle is mature with too much global supply. Power has shifted to customers. And, AMZ owns the increasing numbers of Prime customers. Brands must go to where the eyeballs are and sell them the way they want to buy.
  2. 80%+ of distributor product sales are for equally-excellent commodities (no demos needed)
  3. 90% of sales are rebuys from experienced customers (fewer cold calls)
  4. The internet makes all product – information, availability and pricing – 24/7 available. As digital information grows, product knowledge help from local reps drop.
  5. Mark-ups for full-lines of SKUs create profit/loss cross-subsidies. Average-pick size and turns are ignored. Buy: a popular $500 piece of equipment at 20% margin and some fittings for $1 to $3 each at a 40% margin. The equipment’s $100 of gross profit covers: its activity costs; the losses on fittings; and residual company profit.
  6. Mark-ups covering bundled services are not customer-centric. Customers get an assigned rep whether they want them or not. If reps were unbundled for fees and customers got 5% rebates for buying on their own, what would happen? Without unbundling, Millennials will web-room you on the big-price, popular and most profitable items on AMZ for less. They will: check the $500 equipment price at AMZ. Sees savings of $X. Spot buy it. Then, order the little-dollar picks (net-profit losers) from the distributor.
  7. And, the Perfect Clones of most profitable items are increasing at AMZ. Clones – with great information content, reviews and prices – will steal share from top brands not there. Clones can skip channel development costs and go right to AMZ’s unlimited cyber-shelf space using Fulfillment by Amazon.
  8. Loyalty to – brands, distributors and reps – will continue to erode.

Unless What?

Factories and distributors share SKU profitability analytics to solve cross-subsidies and rethink their respective service bundles. And, factories get on AMZ to win the content management war against the clones. For more: contact me for a free, virtual, SKU analytics session.     bruce@merrifield.com