The Link Between Business Intelligence And Profitability

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1 The Link Between Business Intelligence And Profitability Sponsored by x February 27, PM EST Download handouts (PDF) : or Session Leader J. Michael Marks, Managing Partner Indian River Consulting Group

2 Speakers 2 Download handouts (PDF) : or Mike Marks Indian River Consulting Group Tom Gale Modern Distribution Management Sponsored by

3 Analytics as a core competency MDM 2012 Q4 Survey: Top business priority = increase profitability Pricing technology CRM 3 We fight our competition in many markets and many unique businesses. We need more visibility! Smarter/more knowledgeable employees = better decisions = increased profit

4 Agenda 4 The capability versus reality gap Practical examples A glimpse of the big dog stuff A real world action plan

5 The Reality Gap Business intelligence does not necessarily translate to executive intelligence To translate capability into action requires two simultaneous drivers: Business Impact = Quality of insight X Ability to absorb it Factors affecting quality of insight Software tools and capabilities Internal analytic skills that examine what is important, not just what is easy to measure (Think about Survey Monkey & Zoomerang & Airline door closings) Cleanliness of base transaction data (usually poor) Factors affecting ability to absorb it (precursors to acting upon it) This is usually the critical constraint for a distributor Structural alignment: Clear accountability = authority + responsibility Willingness to consider doing different things rather than just doing the same things better 5

6 The Core Challenge: White Blood Cells Most distributors competed on the basis of providing great service with excellent people This is a strategy of operational excellence where in the customer s mind you are clearly better than their alternatives so you get the business with good margins When the customer decides that everyone is good enough the race to the bottom on price begins Customer intimacy expertise is imbedded in staff, not the firm, and they are trusted to take care of customers Autonomy is highly valued by most and any suggestions that their performance is less than perfect is met by overwhelming resistance The typical response is either, It is not my fault or I m sorry and it won t happen again The assumption is that every problem is due to someone doing something wrong 6

7 The Profit Sandwich Don t Forget the Meat 7 Investments: activities, projects, software, training, management meetings, best practices, etc. Data and insight Market strategy Organization Results: short and long term financial performance Incentive structures are so old that we just assume they are fixed like day and night Organization structures are the same These assumptions blind executives from seeing new opportunities

8 Outmoded Assumptions These were correct decisions when they were made decades ago but they are not necessarily the best choices in today s market I need sales reps to sell Why are over 90% of a distributor s customer s purchases products they purchased before? My sales reps are on a commission so they work hard What is the difference between what you want them to do and what they actually do? We are lean and spread out so I use the P&L as my primary branch control tool Why have large distributors turned branches from P&L centers into cost centers? Planned abandonment and divesting is required 8

9 What Is Hidden In A Traditional P&L? Selling new equipment is low margin and not profitable for many Parts & service, rental, and used departments do much better- each with their own P&L So first divide your costs into market making and market serving Now ask yourself how much can you afford to pay for a market making event that creates $23k in GP? 20 Years ~3 Ownership Cycles Gross Profit New Single Unit Sale $1,500 Life cycle repair, service, parts, maintenance agreements 7 yrs Margin on used resales at end of life replacement Total Gross Margin before support costs Second ownership cycle assuming an 80% repurchase rate Third ownership cycle at the same repurchase rate Total margin for the first three cycles for one single new unit $5,000 $3,000 $9,500 $7,600 $6,080 $23,180 9

10 10 Bottom Line On The Capability Gap Most firms buy more tools than they can use, but you need to buy some Prepare the way with some change management work for your own staff It is more powerful to go through the entire process once on a small scale than change your world with an elegant and complex solution

11 Agenda 11 The capability versus reality gap Practical examples A glimpse of the big dog stuff A real world action plan Competitive advantage is not real unless you gain a significant cost advantage over your competitors or a significant price premium from your customers, either resulting in higher profits

12 3 Applications To Improve Your Costs Cost advantages come from operating scale, role specialization, and performance management processes Sales role specialization for lower selling costs (giving customers what they need) Significant reduction in the S of SG&A expense Warehousing and logistics have become a data-driven science Without data staff confuses effort with effectiveness Leading distributors, not just large ones, are running SG&A expenses of 13% compared to the norms of You will never be able to keep up with their investment levels 12 Business intelligence uncovers cross subsidies

13 3 Applications To Improve Your Prices Price advantages come from scale with suppliers, mass customization, and leveraging competitive intensity Velocity based pricing is worth 200 to 400 basis points of margin for most distributors doing both below Pricing methodology and tools alone: ~50 basis points Business process and behavioural change alone: ~150 basis points Creation of a product marketing function combining margin control, turns & earns, and supplier revenue growth This is a very tough sale to self directed sales reps Increase customer switching costs This is about what they are buying not what you are selling 13 Business intelligence uncovers cross subsidies

14 3 Applications That Increase Your Growth 14 IMI generates spend data by customer by product category for your territories (think share of spend) It is a waste of money to buy it and give it to the sales reps (remember the white blood cells) How is their time invested in market serving versus market making? Measure potential to grow and cost to grow Get field sales out of low-value market serving and replace them with low cost channels, Internet, inside sales, bid departments, etc. Use the time made available to reinvest with high growth customers Business intelligence uncovers cross subsidies

15 Agenda 15 The capability versus reality gap Practical examples A glimpse of the big dog stuff A real world action plan This is the result of going through the analyze, discern, evaluate, and then innovate cycle multiple times. It is not about data or spreadsheets, it is about change management over an extended period

16 A Potential Path Forward Solutions reached by other distributors when faced with commodity product margins or no differentiation Stop selling stuff (what you think you sell) and start selling something else that customers actually want (what they want to buy) 16 These folks sell subscription based risk management services IR sold Air Over The Wall Subscriptions Two completely separate business models to meet the different needs of customers Remember that large distributors are big because they are sophisticated & intentional, not the other way around

17 Agenda 17 The capability versus reality gap Practical examples This is about how to start the analyze, discern, evaluate, and then innovate cycle. A glimpse of the big dog stuff A real world action plan

18 Your Starting Point Choose your first effort so that it doesn t challenge the existing organization structure or your long standing assumptions Consider a real SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) The internal (wrong) view is we have excellent people, a strong reputation, and quality products, but we have weak IT, margin pressures, and a bad economy OR Instead figure out what is the one thing that you could change that would make the biggest improvement in performance? Find one or more managers that would benefit from the potential change and bring them in as sponsors Do some scenario planning on the white blood cell reaction Do not go win-lose to force the change, instead just persistently share and remember that data is our friend 18

19 Learn To Be Analytically Led Our legacy and our history 1. Our industry keeps tribal knowledge and relationship equity in the minds of our staff What happens when key aging employees leave? 2. We have a folklore around impactful stories that when told are timeless What innovation is lost because of the view, We tried that once and it didn t work? 3. How do you really know what customers think of you? How smart is it to rely solely on the sales force for insight? A choice there for the taking If you have data you can create a feedback loop and dramatically improve performance Analyze & Plan Debrief 19 Allocate resources Execute

20 IRCG Scar Tissue The Use and Abuse of Data Best practices Worst practices Testing strategic hypotheses with transactional and market Looking for a strategy in the numbers information Creating reports that everyone Creating self service tools so that properly motivated managers can should want and pushing them out to managers get the facts Obsessing over precision Focusing on accuracy Analyzing what you can measure Measuring what s important Pigeon holing customers based on Using analytics to understand the economic drivers of customer behavior and adapting cost structures to fit current cost to serve under a one size fits all model 20

21 The Link Between Business Intelligence And Profitability Questions? J. Michael Marks, Managing Partner Indian River Consulting Group Sponsored by Download handouts (PDF) : or

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