Increases in sales, increases in margin, supporting a winning category assortment strategy for a store chain, ‘right sizing’ their store sizes and clustering, and ultimately actually attracting more customers with bigger spend—these are great stories for any time, but especially during these economic times.
The question always comes up: can the domain leaders (not big ERP) keep up or even lead in their category? Generally, the answer is yes. With ranges of 15 to 30% of sales going into the product, when it all nets out, often they have development teams that are larger or more knowledgable than the big players. Big players have great people, no doubt, but are living behind the layers between their development team and the ‘field.’ The ERPs also typically work with only their small part of a software release and budgeting system that metes out software releases which compete against a whole field of other enhancements across the entire empire of the software firm. Domain leaders live in the depth of their practices, thus the translation of requirements to code can be extraordinarily efficient.
As far as keeping up, most firms are leading their customer to better practices and results, not the other way around, though often a customer does have a stellar business model or method. Statistically, the implementation and use of the software purchase often lags behind the software release by years.
So, with the biggest consumer buying season just around the corner, it behooves companies to continue to learn and develop competencies and expertise in areas such as assortment planning, demand pattern recognition, life cycle planning, and attribute based planning, both for the merchants and the CPG suppliers.
Demand Management practices pay off, and in this economy we can’t afford to not practice with precision!