Category Archives: Distribution Strategy

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

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”

96. How to Be Strategic on Channel Rebate Management

Channel partner incentives, collectively and imprecisely known as rebates, are huge, addictive, and problematic programs for distributors. One 2012 survey estimated total channel incentives in the U.S. to be $55B. That’s 80% of the reported $69B in total channel management budgets. A Silicon Valley survey reported that the typical factory respondent ran an average of 21 incentive programs annually with an estimated overpayment of 6%.

Twenty-one incentives programs annually? Sure! Cash bribes get fast attention. Competitors understand indirect price cuts and can quickly follow, tweak and escalate with their own programs. But, without effective plans for disciplining, tracking—and in some cases exiting—these initiatives, what happens? Factory list prices generally keep rising as backend channel incentive checks multiply. Continue reading 96. How to Be Strategic on Channel Rebate Management

94. Amazon’s $7 Per Line-Item, Wake-Up Call

AMAZON’S SMALL-DOLLAR-ITEMS: Math and Solutions

Amazon knows warehouse activity costs to the penny. Their 9th generation warehouses may have the lowest, cost-per-pick on the planet. Some stats:

  1. The “click to ship” elapsed time is 15 minutes and dropping.
  2. The average human time input for each order is one minute which includes 15 seconds to pack.
  3. The cost per pick – in the narrowest sense – is 44 cents for a human and 20 cents for a robot.

Continue reading 94. Amazon’s $7 Per Line-Item, Wake-Up Call