Category Archives: Cost-to-Serve Math

113. It’s Human Nature to Resist Analytical Opportunities

Moneyball and Astroball Lessons

The book Moneyball was published in 2003. At the time, Major League Baseball (MLB) managers despised it, because the book made them look like old-school ignoramuses. A highly-recommended new take published in July 2018 and titled Astroball, summarizes the league’s transition since 2003.

Here are a few key points from the book: Continue reading 113. It’s Human Nature to Resist Analytical Opportunities

109. Astroball: Taking Lessons from the Analytical Champs

Baseball’s Begrudging Adoption of Analytics

Since the book Moneyball was published in 2003, all professional sports have embraced analytics, but none more than baseball.

Baseball executives initially hated the book Moneyball because it made them look incompetent. Then, one-by-one teams started to experiment with analytics; in particular, two teams with new owners who had gotten rich using analytics elsewhere. Continue reading 109. Astroball: Taking Lessons from the Analytical Champs

108. Amazon Business Has a Secret Plan

Distracting Stats v Strategic Profit Intent

Amazon is secretive, even deceptive. For instance, it trumpets amazing stats in press releases that can distract us from seeing their strategic goals. Maybe this is part of the plan. Why spark early competitive responses?

Consider AMZ-Biz. The last official numbers we saw for sales, resellers, and buyers were at year-end 2016. Wouldn’t you brag on growing 20% per month?

So what final profit streams is AMZ-Biz envisioning? How about fees from: Continue reading 108. Amazon Business Has a Secret Plan

102. High-Margin Counter Sales Aren’t Profitable!

This is one of the first insights that distributors who subscribe to Line-Item Profit Analytics are shocked to find out. Analytics reveal that:

  • Naturally high-margin percent SKUs and customers are mostly net-profit dollar losers
  • Gross profit dollars on small-dollar lines and orders are less than their cost-to-serve dollars

You can’t ignore small transaction size, or the variable service-people costs for customers with bill-me-later, paper-based trade credit. Continue reading 102. High-Margin Counter Sales Aren’t Profitable!

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”