Thursday 5 January 2012

‘We are all special cases’ *Meeting a Buyer’s Need For Special Treatment in 2012.

Given current pressures in the market, coupled with a tradition of attempting to meet a buyer’s needs, the new Age of Selfishness can mean that more ‘powerful’ buyers get more than their fair share, in effect making the strong players stronger…
Unless it is your company policy to eventually end up with one customer, it is important to attempt to meet a buyer’s needs within a context of all other buyers’ requirements. In other words, we need to balance resource allocation across the whole customer portfolio to avoid distortion of our consumer base.
Our starting point has to be our own survival in terms of an acceptable ROCE and Net Profit in a flatline growth environment, over the next five years, at least.
Realistically, this means achieving at least 15% ROCE and Net Profit of 10% for our company and for our business with each of our major customers, minimum…
There are two ways of achieving this, either growing the business, or cutting costs. Given the lack of growth, this means cutting all available slack in the system in terms of stock level vs. service level, trade terms and making trade funding investment conditional upon full compliance.
This exercise will help calculate the size of the ‘cake’ available for the customers, divided in proportion to their potential turnover within our total sales performance and profitability (i.e. ROCE and Net Profit).
Given that our competition are under similar pressures an probably fighting for their lives (and perhaps do not even know it), it is crucial that we maintain a realistic view of our competitive appeal vs. others in the category, and again cut away anything not demonstrably contributing to that appeal.
It is only then that we can consider a buyer’s need for special treatment, counting cost and value all the way..
Welcome to 2012…
*Albert Camus

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