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Joe\'s Fulfillment Frustration and How He Fixed Them
 

Joe\'s Fulfillment Frustration and How He Fixed Them

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This easy to read fable takes a lighthearted look at the problems marketers often encounter with fulfillment. Our friend Joe might cause a chuckle or two, but his problems have serious financial ...

This easy to read fable takes a lighthearted look at the problems marketers often encounter with fulfillment. Our friend Joe might cause a chuckle or two, but his problems have serious financial consequences. No doubt, you will relate to some of them (hopefully not TOO many) because, at some time, some have very possibly happened to you.

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    Joe\'s Fulfillment Frustration and How He Fixed Them Joe\'s Fulfillment Frustration and How He Fixed Them Presentation Transcript

    • JOE’S FULFILLMENTFRUSTRATIONSAND HOW HE FIXED THEMBY RON WALTERSVICE PRESIDENT/FULFILLMENT ADVISORGABRIEL GROUP© Copyright 2011 Gabriel Group. All rights reserved. NEXT
    • CONTENTS 3 INTRODUCTION 4 CHAPTER ONE I How W.A.D.I.T.W. Became N.O.M.W. 6 CHAPTER TWO I Joe’s Nose Goes to the Grindstone 9 CHAPTER THREE I Maybe “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” But…! 12 CHAPTER FOUR I Joe and the CMO Revisited: The Third Time Is the Charm 14 CHAPTER FIVE I Joe Goes into Action 16 CHAPTER SIX I Way to Go, Joe! 17 EPILOGUE I The Happy Ending 18 APPENDIX 19 POSTSCRIPTn RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM PREVIOUS NEXT
    • INTRODUCTION This book takes a lighthearted look at the problems marketers often encounter with fulfillment, specifically fulfillment of marketing materials or premiums (fulfilling product orders is another issue, and we are not going there). While our friend Joe might cause a chuckle or two, his problems have serious financial consequences. No doubt, you will relate to some of them (hopefully not TOO many) because, at some time, some have very possibly happened to you. If so, read on. While Joe was a bit slow to catch on to his fulfillment challenges, he did end up figuring out some really fine solutions. Way to go, Joe!n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 3 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER ONE HOW W.A.D.I.T.W. BECAME N.O.M.W.* It happened with the best of intentions. The marketing department had a new CMO, and she was moving and shaking at record speed. Joe’s fulfillment department was ready to explode from overload. There was simply no more room for any more materials. Period. So Joe did what he had always done when his former boss, Mr. We’ve-Always-Done-It–That-Way, was in charge. He got busy writing a proposal, complete with all the facts and figures including the soft costs (Joe is nothing if not thorough). His 24-page report concluded: “We need a bigger warehouse. And it will only cost $1,450,000” (Joe had gotten estimates). Ms. Mover-Shaker was not impressed. “Look, we need more business, not more buildings. This is a virtual world, and you are asking for more bricks and mortar. The board would have my head if I presented that,” she said, with FIRE in her eyes. But she wasn’t finished. “We have to focus on doing more with less. I want you to think about technology solutions, not more shelf space. And while you are at it, figure out how you can better support our new CRM system. It cost a bundle, and we have to make it pay off. “Think about this: Our company has lots of competition, some of it pretty smart and pretty darn good. If we are to maintain our excellent position and be able to give you those nice 401(k) matches *How “We’ve Always Done It That Way” Became “Not On My Watch”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 4 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER ONE every year, we have to wring the most productivity out of everything we do. We are certainly not going to fail…not on my watch.” “And that includes fulfillment,” she said. “I want you to look at everything we do fulfillment-wise, and see how we can do it more—well—wisely. Everything!” A lesson from Joe: The way we’ve always done it just doesn’t cut it anymore.n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 5 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER TWO JOE’S NOSE GOES TO THE GRINDSTONE For the next few weeks, Joe was a no-show in the lunchroom. He was the first in and the last out of the office. When he wasn’t huddled over the phone, he was running around the warehouse counting and scribbling notes. After a couple of weeks of frenzy, he marched into the CMO’s office and laid another report on her desk. “It’s all in here,” he said. “This is a summary of every item we have and how many pieces we have in stock. In the last 12 months, we have added 150 new items, with an average count of 2,934 pieces each. Those pieces use up 3,200 feet of storage space and it is costing us. It costs us $1,500 a month to rent the space from an outside fulfillment company. That’s $18,000 just as a fill-in. We’re already overloaded. Now, I understand that you are planning several new product lines, and that means we’ll probably add twice as many pieces—maybe even more—this year.” “But still, it is probably a lot cheaper than building,” he finished hopefully. “Whoa there, Joe,” said the CMO. “I’m sure you’ve done a thorough job of counting and costing, but I am looking for a little more than that.” Then she began to flip through the report. “Wow! What are we doing with all that stuff? Who ordered it? Who is using it? How long has it been there? How much does it cost to store? Is any of it obsolete?”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 6 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER TWO “Well,” Joe began with a little more confidence than he felt. “We have begun to set up a computer program to give us exactly that kind of information. The problem is, IT is busy, so it is going a little slower than we’d hoped. And some of the records are not complete. So we might never know all the answers.” “I want answers,” said the CMO, wondering if now was the time to jettison Joe. “I’ll give you one more chance. Come back to me with something creative.” And then she smiled. “I have confidence in you.” To which he said, “Thank you very much.” And to himself, “Don’t blow this, Joe.” Well, Joe, as we know, was a nice and hardworking guy, and he had friends in the business. “Look, you cannot do this by yourself,” they said. “You don’t have enough people and your project is not at the top of the IT team’s list. These things never are, even though they should be. “It’s time to go outside, Joe. There is a fine little system out there that can give you real time reports on every item in your inventory—how many you have, who is using them and how quickly, when they need to be reordered, where the cost should be allocated, and so on. And there are people who will take care of all that inventory for you. Take it from us, Joe. We learned this the hard way. “It will take a little time (and some investment) to get set up, but after that, the system will practically run itself. Then whatever the CMO wants to know, you can click a few buttons and say, ‘Here you go.’ How cool is that?” “Does it cost a lot of dough?” asked Joe. The answer was “no.”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 7 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER TWO “It is saving us a bundle. In fact, it is more than paying for itself. You don’t have to buy anything. It’s kind of like those fractional ownership plans for vacation homes…you share it with others and pay for what you need and use. And when you start using it, you’ll find all kinds of ways to cut costs and do a faster, better job. And here’s what we really like—we don’t have to worry about outgrowing the system or upgrading it or dealing with IT. The company we use takes care of all of that.” “Think how good you will look when the CMO goes to the board and tells them your department is exceeding corporate ROI objectives,” they concluded. And Joe was almost convinced. “I don’t know. It’s a pretty big change,” mumbled Joe. But then he remembered the FIRE in the CMO’s eyes, and even though Joe was a little slow to accept change, he made his decision. “How do I get in touch with these people?” he asked. Lesson from Joe, who had been reading Peter Drucker: If you want to succeed, you can’t just adapt to change, you have to lead change.n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 8 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER THREE JOE GETS THE LOWDOWN—MAYBE “YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT,” BUT…! Joe called around, checked out some websites and scheduled a few meetings. By the time he finished his preliminary meetings with recommended fulfillment service providers, he had formed a pretty good idea of what “his” fulfillment system (he was taking ownership) would require. n There should be no, zero, zip, zilch, nada hassle. n It should meet all accepted fulfillment standards as set by the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association. n It must be accessible 24 hours a day from anywhere. n It should give him answers to the boss’s questions instantly. n It should be able to grow. n It should help him cut the cost of marketing materials. n It should be affordable. n And he needed it fast. That’s a pretty tall order. “Too tall for us,” said one service provider. “Maybe next year,” said another. And Joe said, “Woe is me. I’ll never find someone who can do it all.” And then he did.n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 9 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER THREE They seemed like nice people, with a clean, orderly, roomy warehouse. Joe believed then (and still does) that your warehouse says a lot about you. His dad was a tool dealer who visited lots of auto repair shops, who often told him, “Joe, there’s one easy way to tell whether they’ll do a good job. Just look at the service bays. If they’re clean and organized, you’ll drive away happy.” So Joe was ready to see more. “Now, we’d like to show you your control center,” they said. “Please take a look at this laptop.” And with the click of a few keys, Joe saw his fulfillment dreams beginning to come true. There, with his company’s logo, were some samples of his company’s materials. “We put these up there to show you what this system can do,” said Ron, the sales consultant. In the space of about three minutes, Joe learned how to… n Call up an inventory count. n Find out how many pieces of an item had been used. n Learn how long an item had been on the shelf. n Get an alert that a piece was running low. n Order a print-on-demand piece and initiate production at the same time. Of course, this was hypothetical, since this was just a demonstration. “But,” said Ron, “that’s exactly how it works in real life…and that’s just the beginning.” “Wow. This is science fiction,” said Joe, clicking away. “Beam me up some brochures!”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 10 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER THREE Joe knew that his CMO would want a lot of answers. She always did. So, he began asking the questions. “What do we have to buy?” Answer: “Nothing…you don’t buy it, you pay for using it.” “What if we need a lot more space? Answer: “No problem, the system is scalable. Easily.” “How much training is needed?” Answer: “How long did it take you to get the hang of it?” “Can I get reports in a special format?” Answer: “Yes.” “If I order a piece to be produced, will I get an estimate of the cost? Answer: “Yes, and we can set up the billing according to your needs.” “What should I know that I don’t know?” Answer: “What do you want to know? Just let us know, and we’ll make sure you get what you need.” Joe, eyes aglow, headed back to the CMO, iPad ready for a show and tell. Lesson from Joe, with apologies to Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want,” but when you do, jump on it.n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 11 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER FOUR JOE AND THE CMO REVISITED: THE THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM While the CMO did not fall off her chair in wonder—she was not the type— she was impressed, VERY impressed. But as usual she had more questions, including one she had asked before. “Do we really need all that stuff? Ask around and see what we can trash.” Joe produced a list of every item in the warehouse and matched it to its owner. Then he asked each owner to vet his or her list. “Good grief, is that still there?” said one. “I have no idea what that is! Must have been done before I came here,” said another. “That product has been obsolete for years,” a third declared. “Yeah, I only needed 100 of those, but the production guy said we could get 1,000 for about the same price. How many do we have left?” another asked. Joe answered, “950.” And it went on: “Why do we have stuff with his name on it? He’s been gone for five years.” “Oh, we printed those for a retailer and his address was wrong, so he sent them back. I guess they’ve just been sitting there.”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 12 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER FOUR Joe was shocked. Maybe 40 percent of the marketing materials in the warehouse were out of date, overstocked or obsolete. “Hmmm. I wonder how much this is costing us?” When he sat down with the calculator and worked through all the costs, including inventory management and distribution, he was in for another shock. The real cost of those wasted printed materials doubled the original cost! So he asked the “owners” what he could get rid of—and they opted to hang on. Now, Joe’s vision of his job was changing. Under Mr. We’ve-Always-Done-It-This-Way, he simply stored the stuff, and when someone asked for it, he saw that they got it. But now he had become a manager! Remembering his Dad’s advice, he was determined to clean up this mess and keep it from ever happening again. Lesson from Joe: Just going with the flow is a big no.n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 13 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER FIVE JOE GOES INTO ACTION Joe called the fulfillment services guys and said, “It’s worse than I thought. These people are ordering stuff like mad and hanging on to it. They’re like those hoarders on reality TV. What can I do about it? It’s costing the company a fortune.” “Well, using our system, it will be a piece of cake to track usage and generate frequent reports. So once you get the current mess cleaned up, it will be easy to keep your inventory up to date. And you can easily spot the habitual under- or over-orderers by checking the usage reports. “You can substitute print on demand for many of those small quantity jobs. So if a manager only needs 25, that is all he or she needs to order. And if more are needed later, you can produce them without the heavier setup costs of traditional printing, and it’s easy to make changes and keep your materials up to date. Print on demand isn’t right for everything, but it is just the ticket for a lot of things. “For example, you guys have a pretty big sales force, and I suspect each sales person wants his or her name and contact information on the printed materials they pass out. Some of them are in other countries and need different languages. Tell your production managers they don’t have to bother with all those versions. We can set up your system so sales team members can customize their own materials, proof and approve their changes, and initiate production and shipping.” Joe thought about this. “Whoa,” said Joe. “That scares me. What if they start messing with the legal copy or changing the colors of the logos or ordering tons of stuff they don’t need?”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 14 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER FIVE “You make the rules. You can lock down the copy or graphics they can’t mess with, and limit the amount they are allowed to order without special clearance. Furthermore, the system can produce an audit trail that allocates costs to their department or to the project manager. So keeping track is easy. “And by the way, we’ll see that the stuff gets shipped at the lowest cost. We are compulsive postal rate and freight shoppers, and we know how to get you great deals.” Joe thought of something else. “My CMO is getting ready to roll out a big ad campaign. She said there’ll be lots of requests for brochures. Can you help me with this?” “No problem. We can stock your kits, assemble them and get them in the mail (or package service, if need be). We have full mailing facilities. In fact, here’s something you can bring up with your CMO—we can give you the usual reports, who responds and what they responded to. We can even give you reports on the quality of your leads. We’ll match them to your known customer databases and to demographic or psychographic databases. How is that for slick?”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 15 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • CHAPTER SIX WAY TO GO, JOE! Joe took his findings to the CMO. He told her about the excessive inventory and the way it was draining profits. “Say it isn’t so, Joe,” she said. Then he laid out the plan for fixing it. “We can get these problems under control,” he said confidently. And then he put the icing on the cake. “You know your big ad campaign? We can make sure the respondents get their packages fast, with personalized letters, not just our old printed form. We can even get you reports on who is responding by income or home ownership or age or whatever you need. So when you go to make your reports to the CEO, you’ll have everything you need. Maybe he’ll even add to your budget!” “Oh, we won’t be needing the warehouse people for marketing materials, so that will be some savings in people cost for our department. Our warehouse people can go to the product warehouse. We’ll be selling so much, they’ll be needing extra help.” “Where is the dotted line?” she said. “I’m ready to sign.”n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 16 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • EPILOGUE THE HAPPY ENDING Thanks to Joe, the CMO was able to take the money she saved on overprinted, overstocked and obsolete marketing materials and do more marketing, which sold more products. The marketing intelligence she gained from user and responder reports helped make her market smarter and convert more leads. The sales people loved their new system for generating customized sales materials fast. The automatic ordering capability freed up the print production people to take more time shopping the big print runs, so there were savings there, too. And since the cost allocations were done automatically, nobody got charged for somebody else’s stuff. And when the fulfillment system was synced with the CRM system, sales and revenue began a continuous upward climb. Way to go, Joe!n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 17 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • APPENDIX Here’s a quick and easy way to check up on your fulfillment activities and identify hidden fulfillment inefficiencies that could be lowering ROI and draining profits. Five-Minute Fulfillment Scorecard How does your company or department rate on make-or-break fulfillment practices?Usually Sometimes Never IMROI This quick self-assessment will help you find out. 1. Are you convinced that your distribution/shipping charges are as low as they should be? 2. Are your good leads getting away because of slow or depersonalized response? 3. Are you confident that marketing costs are completely accounted for and properly allocated? 4. Are you using too minimal staff time to manage fulfillment issues? 5. Are the people who use your company’s content (sales, vendors, distributors, franchisees, etc.) happy with its messaging and costs? 6. Do you have a plan for dealing with obsolete materials or content? 7. Do you really know what you are spending on fulfillment? 8. Are you satisfied with your current fulfillment resource, in-house or outside? How to score: Usually=3, Sometimes=2, Never=1, and Don’t Know=0. Under 14 points, your fulfillment programs need help; 14-18, there’s still need for improvement; over 18, congratulations! How to score points in the future: Ask a Gabriel Group consultant about the dollar impact of improving your fulfillment weak spots. Then start working on plans to improve your Marketing ROI. n RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 18 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • POSTSCRIPT Want to see Joe in action? Or maybe you’d like to meet Moe, another CMO. You are invited to visit the Gabriel Group website at www.gabrielgroup.com …and watch their show. Or just scan their QR codes with your smartphone: Joe the Fulfillment Pro Moe the CMO These Gabriel Group eBooks also are available for download at www.gabrielgroup.com. n Responsible Marketing —An approach to marketing in the day of the triple bottom line. n Kyle’s Plain American English Guide to Digital Asset Management —Tips on making sure your company gets full value from its investment in digital assets. Gabriel Group 3190 Rider Trail South, Earth City, Missouri 63045 l 314.743.5700 l www.gabrielgroup.comn RON WALTERS JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 19 PREVIOUS NEXT
    • POSTSCRIPT For an in-depth assessment contact: Ron Walters, Vice President 314.743.5716 l ron.walters@gabrielgroup.com Kyle Ziercher, Marketing Resource Advisor 314.743.5729 l kyle.ziercher@gabrielgroup.com About Ron Walters Ron is Vice President/Fulfillment Advisor for Gabriel Group in St. Louis, Missouri, working with Fortune 1000 companies to customize fulfillment systems that produce greater returns on marketing investments by improving efficiency and eliminating waste. About Gabriel Group Gabriel Group, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, is a marketing resource management company, supporting its customer with resources for print and electronic marketing communications as well as fulfillment and distribution services. Clients include Fortune 1000 companies and major fundraising organizations.OCTOBER 2011 JOE’S FULFILLMENT FRUSTRATIONS AND HOW HE FIXED THEM n 20 PREVIOUS