Category Archives: Supply Chain Partners

142. Hiring Hourly People Solutions

Distributor Case Problem (3/14/18)

A distributor needs to hire six hourly people across four locations. But:

“We can’t find acceptable candidates for our normal starting wage. We don’t want to hire new people at a higher rate than our veterans. And, we don’t want to hire flakes who can’t pass our drug test. What do we do?”

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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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137. Amazon’s Channel-Model Innovation Challenge

LEVELS OF INNOVATION: INCREMENTAL, BUSINESS-MODEL, CHANNEL-MODEL

All businesses innovate. But, rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic (an incremental innovation) is not as powerful as getting an iceberg-resistant ship or an ice-berg-free route.

Business-model innovation is when you rethink the system of how you organize your resources to create a breakthrough value for some target group of customers. You may also, simultaneously, eliminate wasteful or dying activities. Common phrasings: Weed to feed. Prune to grow. Downsize, Upgrade, Refocus and Revitalize. Do a “Blue Ocean Strategy”, etc.

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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?   

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131. Rethinking Rep Caliber, Skills, Territories, and Incentives

“What Is the Best Incentive Plan For My Reps?”….

A question that always sparks heated debate amongst distributor principals. The ancient “5% of all sales in a territory” (and its refinements) has accumulating drawbacks. Now, with accelerating Omnichannel Cloud Commerce targeting B2B channels, what other Sales-Force questions come first?    

LOOKING-BACKWARD QUESTIONS

  1. Have you written down and ranked the drawbacks and injustices of your current plan?
  2. (Assuming no fears about losing best reps), What account reassignments should be done?
  3. Can any incentive plan magically cure:
    • Weak reps whom you would not hire again?
    • Veteran Reps coasting to retirement while harvesting their (and possibly your) best accounts?   
    • A weak, unfocused, me-too strategy?   
    • The many net-unprofitable customers and SKUs leeching your business? (Get a cost-to-serve model – at the line-item level – to identify and fix them!)

FORWARD-ENVISIONING QUESTIONS TO ASK

  1. What accelerating trends will converge to make 2021 selling different, and stress traditional rep orthodoxy to possibly breaking?
  2. What are your suppliers envisioning for B2B, Omnichannel, Cloud-Commerce in 2021?
  3. How do you plan to develop e-selling skills?
  4. How will you score current reps for their 2021 fitness? 
  5. In ’21, how will you segment your customers to then sell them:
    • Different service-metrics’ benefits and terms?
    • Customized supply-chain replenishment solutions?
    • Factory Omnichannel scenarios involving both dis and re-intermediation?
      • With what multiple selling-cost models?  
      • Are too many, too-small accounts currently assigned to reps?
      • Are some huge accounts desiring supply-chain solutions that require a team selling process still assigned to solo reps?   
  6. What analytics will help answer these questions and guide action plans?
  7. Based on answers for 1-6: how will you “right-size and upgrade” your reps to:
    • Solve all historic problems?
    • And, spark a big increase in sales and profits from best accounts?
  8. Finally, what will be an incentive plan that will be customer-centric and please your best reps within a new e-selling era?   

Help With Answers?    

I could write an e-book on “B2B Distributor Sales Management Opportunities: 2019 to 2024”. But, only if:

  1. I get lots of “do it” demand from regular readers who in turn…
  2. Persuade others to vote “YES” and get trade or buying groups to offer some sponsorship.

Interested? Email your thoughts to:  bruce@merrifield.com. Otherwise, blogs will continue!