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
UNDER-VALUED RUSTY: RIP
Daniel Joseph (Rusty) Staub passed on March 29th at 73. Rusty (Le Grand Orange) played 23 years in baseball’s major leagues retiring in ‘85. His career stats: batted in 1,466 runs; averaged .276 with 292 homers and 2,716 hits; and walked a spectacular 1,255 times. With walks, his career on-base percentage (OBP) was .362. He didn’t swing at bad pitches.
Rusty, a champ admired on and off the field, did not make the Hall of Fame. Baseball beliefs back then were still blind to the value of Walks. In 2000, the same Analytical Ignorance allowed the Oakland A’s to “buy runs to win games” cheap. They snagged free agents with superficial flaws, but high OBPs. (Well told in Moneyball: both the book and movie). Continue reading 95. Rusty Staub and Your Unequal, Margin Dollars
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:
- The “click to ship” elapsed time is 15 minutes and dropping.
- The average human time input for each order is one minute which includes 15 seconds to pack.
- 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
Does your company plan to sell – physical or digital – goods to AMZ Prime members in 2020 and beyond? Then, backcast about the ideal customer shopping journey that AMZ will be dictating. And, start changing now.
It’s visionary planning:
- Start with an ideal vision of what customers might want in 2020+.
- With that end in mind move backwards from the vision to the present.
- Then ask: “What do we do today – step by step – to move towards the vision”.
- “Back” contrasts with “fore”- casting which takes our past and extends it into the future. Backcasting will move you towards the future you will need.
- Talk in the future perfect tense. “By 2020, AMZ will have achieved this next-level shopping experience. And, we will have accomplished…” (What: to stay vital?)
- For backcasting slides search the term at Google Images.
Continue reading 93. Amazon (AMZ) Backcasting Strategies
A February 2017 survey by Vistage Worldwide found that 67% of small business owners report a shortage of skilled workers. To try and bridge the gap, 87% have increased recruiting and 60% have boosted wages.
The answers beg more questions
But, what company doesn’t worry about skilled worker shortages, recruiting, and wages? Continue reading 92. Tight Labor Market Challenges? Here Are Solutions!
Imagine a distributor that has 10 outside Reps making 4.5 calls per day at an all-in cost per call exceeding $100. They must believe that the costs of these rep calls are worth the benefits. So, what cluster of beliefs guides those daily bets that add up to over $4500?
What beliefs lie behind your rep call cost bets?
Here are two belief clusters that serve as poles on a continuum. Where do your beliefs fall?
We’re supply-chain value creators
- All our reps are certifiably excellent at knowing which are the highest net-profit potential accounts
- All our reps plan and proactively pitch (with team help) the best, win-win solutions to these accounts that deliver a one-stop shop array of SKUs throughout a customer’s business and are executed with perfect, basic service metrics tuned to the customer’s needs
- These solutions lower the total procurement cost of the customer’s replenishment process, while boosting their uptime productivity using our goods and lowering our cost-to-serve expense as a percent of sales
- We also take care of all (new) product knowledge needs customers may have
- Our goal is to secure a bigger, win-win share of spend, if not a 100% partnership
- When we partner with the best growing customers, they grow us
- Our sales (and rebates) grow faster than industry averages due to customer-centric, service-value innovations for replenishment of commodities (which now comprise 90% of our sales)
We maximize “relationship value” to get economies of sales
- Our “good” reps make just-in-case, regular calls to befriend customers and react to their needs (often economic concession demands)
- More reps secure more active accounts
- Our goals are to push products to more accounts to grow sales, margin dollars and rebates.
- With all operational costs (seemingly) fixed in the moment, incremental GP-dollars will flow increasingly to the bottom line. These profits will hopefully grow faster than sales. (But, they haven’t!)
Relationship beliefs stopped working long ago
Financial survey data shows years of low returns for 90% of distributor participants. Isn’t it time to update your beliefs and analytics to improve your odds for better returns on your rep-call bets?
Business is like poker. You can’t have perfect information or consistent good luck. The winners are statistically a few percent better at deciding when to fold or hold; and at winning the hands they play.
Focus your best people-talent bets on creating more value for your biggest net-profit growth potential customers. Customer/SKU profitability analytics will upgrade your beliefs and improve your betting odds.
How? Contact me for a free, desktop session.