You are not unique. But, you are unique like everyone else
If I had a dollar for every client meeting I attended where the client expressed, even insisted, how “unique” their business is, I would be sitting on a beach in Tahiti with an adult beverage right now. The real danger of the “we are unique” moniker is that it provides a false sense of security, complacency, and a dangerous sense of entitlement.
80/20 Rule with Wholesalers
Regardless of the industry your business is in, for most companies 80% of what they make, distribute, sell and support is similar to others in their marketplace. Conversely, that leaves 20% that they should focus on being a differentiator. A leading wholesaler at its core is no different than their competitor right down the street. For the most part, their employees, processes and technology are interchangeable. The ground swell of initiatives to automate as much of this 80% as possible is the charge of the “C” suite. Amazon already does this well
What about the 20%
Now here’s where you can be different, not unique, but different and set yourself apart from your competitors. Wholesale companies of varying shapes and sizes are now realizing with varying degrees of success that they need to focus on the differentiators. The 20% is top of mind. This is also the responsibility of the “C” suite. Are your top performers being cultivated, nurtured and lead to be differentiators? Are your processes being examined, tweaked or revamped to anticipate demand and provide exceptional products or services? Does your technology platform have the power, flexibility and adaptability to support you being different? Are your counter sales, mobile / outside sales, and CSR’s an extension of your customer? Is your product knowledge and industry expertise your competitive differentiator? These questions along with others need to be answered in the affirmative if you as a business expect to not just survive but thrive!
Get better at the 20%
Now telling you that your company is not unique may seem harsh; and maybe it is. But it is important to remember that everything I have said thus far is not meant to discourage or demean you in anyway. Instead all of this is meant to show you that you can be better and that you can maximize the 20%.
If you’re currently running SAP ECC you have a monumental task in front of you. The mandatory move to S4 is fast approaching. There are a lot of you in the same boat; but it’s a boat that presents great opportunity to get and be better. SAP has a suite of products that if used sensibly will provide great value. They have a vibrant partner eco-system whose partner products can fill in the white spaces that SAP’s ERP does not cover. They now even have an app store like iTunes. DataXstream’s OMS+ is one such product that fills in the white space and is available through the app center
The 20% is what your customers see
Your customers influence decisions or make decisions based upon what they see and hear from your 20% perspective. Was my quote accurate? Was it delivered surprisingly fast? When the customer called was their account immediately accessible by the company representative? Did they have all the information necessary to make a buying decision in your favor? For SAP customers, DataXstream’s OMS+ enables your representatives to be proactive in meeting the customer. OMS+ is your platform for being better at the 20%
OMS+ is available on SAP’s App Center – https://www.sapappcenter.com/apps/6561#!overview