April 10, 2012 - Modern Distribution Management

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April 10, 2012

Commentary: Better Questions, Simple Analytics

I got a lot of feedback after I wrote about big data in the last issue. My main point was how companies have to manage a transition from transactional to strategic when it comes to their data management.

A few readers thought I was making a bigger deal of it than necessary in the most promising business climate in five years: “We’re ahead of where we were before the recession, much earlier than expected… our problems, thankfully, are growth problems again. Our real challenge right now is service levels.” That’s great news on the growth part!

But I would also recommend considering …

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The Untapped Potential of POS

This article, the final in a 2-part series, analyzes opportunities for distributors and manufacturers to use point-of-sale data more strategically to identify and capitalize on opportunities in their markets. This article also discusses the biggest constraint to capitalizing on POS: It requires a large investment in technology, culture and collaboration to do it correctly.

In general, a gap still exists between what many distributors and manufacturers would like to see done with the point-of-sale data that is collected and shared in the channel and what actually occurs.

The sharing of customer data often has limited impact on …

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Surviving Famine to Feast

Scott Tibbitts, former CEO for manufacturing firm Starsys, shares his insight on why too much revenue growth can be detrimental to long-term success.

Things are looking up for many distributors and manufacturers. The latest Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Report On Business reported that 15 of 18 manufacturing industries experienced growth in March. And earnings reports from many manufacturers and distributors highlight double-digit sales increases.

I experienced this firsthand on a recent visit to a high-tech manufacturing firm in Colorado. The CEO shared that he was expecting a 20 percent annual sales increase as new markets emerged. Their downturn had passed, and the sales pendulum was swinging back hard. His countenance was a familiar blend of …

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A Simpler Way to Manage Customer Lifecycles

Finding the correct balance with customer contact can be challenging: Too much turns them off, too little misses sales opportunities. This article examines a relatively simple method to find the right balance.

One of the biggest challenges for any sales and marketing organization is when to reach out to a customer with an offer or promotion. If it is done too frequently, it loses its impact or even turns the customer off. By contrast, if it is too infrequent, sales opportunities may be missed altogether.

A simple behavioral segmentation technique called recency-frequency-monetary (RFM) value can help optimize the …

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