Bruce Merrifield, President — Merrifield Consulting
•customer demographics •profit strategy •expert interview
Monday, September 21, 2015—While long-term profits are great, sometimes you just want to speed things along. After all, there's no point in getting a return next year when you can get a return this afternoon. Randy MacLean sits down with master tactician Bruce Merrifield to talk about a time he revamped a client's business practically overnight, turning one of our customers into a massively profitable account.
"The client was an $8 million dollar paper jan-san (janitorial and sanitation supply) distributor kind of guy," Bruce tells me, "with his own trucks and everything else. He had this one big hospital as a customer where he topped off 46 closets every day. It was maybe a $1.5 million account, meaning it was around 25% of his company's sales. However, the client had never gone all out investigating additional opportunities."
"Because I've got a big title on my card, I manage to get us an audience with the vice president who handles the supply chain. We get there early, we meet with the mom and pop who work in the laundry during the day, and then on the swing shift, they top off the closets. We follow the couple and we get to the first closet. I looked in the closet and it's one-third full. There's stuff on the floor, they could have racks; these are good California closets, they could put three times the stuff in there."
"I ask the nurse in charge of one of the closets," Bruce continues, "what she would change about the closet situation. She tells me how she has to run three floors to steal seat covers out of another closet. Completely flabbergasted, I asked her how much time she spent running around trying to get stuff as opposed to talking to patients, and she told me that basically half her time was spent running around to grab an aspirin or something."
"When we sat down with the vice president," Bruce continued, "I told him that we did an audit and explained our findings to him. I then suggested some changes, explained the benefits, and even offered to reconfigure the closets for him with some before and after photos to show what had been done. The customer okay'd it, and we pushed through the usual resistance on the client side to get the things installed. Thanks to the install, a process which really started off by just talking to some nurses, the client "tripled the number of items they put in those closets and their business year over year doubled. It went from $1.5 million to $3 million in sales in one year's time and a 5% operating profit."
Where else in your $8 million business are you going to get that kind of opportunity?
For more information about Bruce Merrifield, visit: www.merrifieldact2.com
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