70. Who’s Nibbling Your Cheese?

Spencer Johnson, who wrote many motivational business tales, including Who Moved My Cheese?, recently passed. Published in 1998, the book sold 25 million copies. The short fable starred two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two small, challenged humans named Hem and Haw. All four lived in a maze feeding upon a depleting pile of cheese that one night got moved. How does Cheese relate to distribution?

The mice teach the humans to have courage, to take risks and explore, looking for new opportunities, instead of dying in place. The book became a bestseller because of its inspirational message to pursue necessary changes.

But, inspiration alone doesn’t effect change. Who Moved My Cheese? doesn’t offer a full change management recipe. For a fable with the full recipe, read John Kotter’s Our Iceberg is Melting (2006). In this tale, some clever penguins teach the reader Kotter’s eight-step process. 

Measuring Your Own Hidden Strategic Vision 

Performing a customer profitability analysis, most businesses find that a minority of their accounts generate 120%–150% of reported operating profits. However, the extra profits are eaten up by losing accounts that require more cost-to-serve dollars than they contribute in margin dollars. With this information, you can further subdivide the winners and the losers into the highest-leverage opportunities that are just screaming for focused action. You can find this focus if you free up necessary resources by putting non-customer centric, generic, to-do’s on hold.

Next, crank up your motivation. How? Fear, greed and serving the greater good usually work. Be both scared of and imitatively inspired by Amazon (AMZ). AMZ is rapidly innovating a digital, data driven supply chain from the customer (customer centric) back to factories around the world. This supply chain is far better in many ways for rebuying commodity staples than your outdated, factory-invented, product-push infrastructure. Amazon Business is already nibbling at B2B warehouse product sales and is conducting huge and innovative experiments aimed at gobbling up more.

Will You Hem and Haw or Choose to: 

  • Make time to innovate value for your most profitable customers and fix losing ones?
  • Borrow to invest money (ex-budget) into long view solutions versus making your quarterly numbers?
  •  Reskill by experimenting forward, guided by customer profitability analytics at the line item level?
  • Fix profit/loss cross subsidies amongst your warehouse SKUs before AMZ steals more of your best SKU sales?

To Learn More

Book me for a free online session at bruce@merrifield.com. And, let’s visit at one of the upcoming Advanced Profit Innovation conferences (APIC):

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