Bruce Merrifield, President — Merrifield Consulting
•competitive strategy •profit strategy •expert interview •profit war stories •management strategies •pricing strategies •Wholesale Distribution Industry •distribution industry trends •new opportunities for distribution industry
Wednesday, May 14, 2014—A creative solution to a common problem can provide companies with a significant market advantage. Bruce Merrifield, my friend and partner, discovered an ingenious way of resolving a logistics issue which ultimately helped his client deliver a better service to its customers than the competition. Even better, the competitors never seemed to figure out what happened.
Bruce had walked into a turnabout situation where he was helping his client identify his greatest area of business potential. After examining fifty prominent customers, Bruce realized that twenty of them were a certain kind of contractor. This sector was identified as the client's most profitable core business. Bruce's next step was figuring how he could improve the service to this sector. He met with the CEO who made some phone introductions to five of the contractors whom Bruce then went to meet in-person.
Coming in as an outside consultant, Bruce recounts, "I could ask them questions like: Who are you? Why do you buy from these guys? Who else can you buy from? Are they any better or worse? What's good service?" However, it was by asking what the business has done to annoy them, cause them to lose customers, or cause delays that provided the most insights.
One of the contractors complained that he really wanted first thing in the morning on-time delivery, mentioning that the client had a 2 p.m. cut-off for next day delivery and he hadn't always received his product on time when calling a bit before then. Bruce immediately promised the man unconditional on-time delivery then asked the contractor for a preferred cut-off time. The contractor suggested 5 p.m. And, to Bruce's surprise, the other contractors he spoke to said the same thing.
When Bruce returned to the client and informed the warehouse of the new cut-off time, he was met with immediate protests. The biggest argument was, "But the UPS guy comes at 3:30; that's why we have a 2 p.m. cutoff." Bruce talked to the UPS guy and got him to agree to having the client be his last stop, by offering the man a permanent desk (along with a few amenities) at the warehouse to do his paperwork.
The results came almost immediately, Bruce remembers. "Instead of ordering three times during the day, everybody was calling with these huge orders at the end of the day, so we also were getting larger average order size, we're getting cumulative of all the needs for the day. The average order size went to 400% as a result." Capitalizing on that success, the client opened up warehouses near UPS centers. This allowed the client to offer major area contractors a service value that nobody else had, ultimately putting several long-time competitors out of business.
Bruce's story is a really good example of how you can creatively think around some of the issues, and basically build your service model into something that's unassailable by the competition.
For more information about Bruce Merrifield, visit: www.merrifieldact2.com
The 1st of 3 lists defining the markers of Distribution companies outpacing their peers.
Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean discuss the handful of key customers in your business, and how to keep them happy and loyal.
Steve Epner and Randy MacLean discuss topics from Steve's book. In this video: How to Innovate.
The top business know not only how to innovate, but where to spot opportunities where innovation will bring the greatest results.
See how implementing LIPA can give you the bandwidth to be more accommodating to your customers with analytics-based service excellence
Companies are developing more and more sophisticated approaches to sales compensation and here Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean examine the trends.
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation - How to Create a powerful new kind of sales incentive plan
Use profit analytics to help drive radical profit gains by balancing volume, margin and service costs for every account, doubling and tripling territory profits
Discussion of how the most successful companies are adopting specialized sales functions, achieving superior results.
Managing Product Line Profits shows how operations can have a significant impact on net profit and examines Peak Internal Profit, accumulated profit and more
Discussion about a 9-step process aimed at transforming a transactional relationship with an account into a partnership.
Randy MacLean and Bruce Merrifield of WayPoint Analytics discuss profit value-based customer segmentation.
A discussion of the benefits of segmentation and how this approach can help distributors achieve far greater levels of profitability.
Top companies like Amazon can leverage big data to predict consumer buying habits. Bruce Merrifield discusses how you can do this too!
Most distributors have naturally occurring, high gross margin percentage accounts and high gross margin percentage (small dollar pick) SKUs.
Randy MacLean and Bruce Merrifield sit down for a talk about the issues and opportunities, tactics and strategies for increasing profit performance.
Continuance of the Enterprise Account Selling Model video series. Refers to a preceding video. Drawn from Bruce's presentation at APIC on March 1, 2016.
Using the negotiation process to achieve CTS savings, allowing you to offer your customers lower prices while leaving the table with a larger profit.
Customer whale curves are a great opportunity to view the overall picture of your customer profitability and apply appropriate sales models to each
Bruce Merrifield discusses the Wheel of Learning and how this simple tool can catapult you forward with innovative thinking.
This video by Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean describes why you can't rely solely on gross margin to determine profitability.
An in-depth look at some historical limitations to sales compensation, and why those factors no longer apply with the availability of LIPA.
Randy MacLean discusses the value and utility of segmenting your customer accounts.
What to do with your top accounts.
A fixation on gross margin – without looking at cost-to-serve (CTS) – has blinded countless distributors and limited their ability to achieve profitability.
Learn how this distributor was able to massively ramp up its profitability even as it lost many of its customers.
Learn why distributors can't simply rely on gross margin when determining whether a sale will add to the bottom line.
Randy MacLean talks about the emergence of a new sales strategy.
A discussion on how little extras can sometimes add up to a lot of infrastructure cost in wholesale distribution companies.
Catalogs still exist, but they have gone online. In this video, Randy MacLean and Bruce Merrifield outline the changing reality of catalog operators.
Randy MacLean discusses key profitability metrics for QPM.
Randy and Bruce explain why it's important to optimize inventory in the same way you optimize personnel and other resources toward the best profit opportunities
In this video, Bruce Merrifield turns the tables on Waypoint President Randy MacLean, and asks Randy to strategize on how to beat the competition.
Randy discusses the benefits of the extraordinarily valuable High Volume Account Report.
A discussion of the perils of a cookie cutter approach when it comes to sales and service in the wholesale distribution industry.
Bruce Merrifield of WayPoint Analytics teaches the importance of customer segmentation and the insights it can offer your distribution company.
It's not necessary to compete with AmazonSupply on pricing when you've got your ordering and delivery systems, fill rates and customer service at a high level.
Randy MacLean introduces the core principles of QPM and illustrates how it's the most effective way to run a business.
Have you had trouble conveying the importance of CTS to your team? Learn how this course provides an affordable and convenient educational solution.
What is the value of the APIC conference for a business, and why does it stand out above other education programs?
Getting Results with a Customer Audit
Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean discuss profit strategies for wholesale distributors that will raise their cost-to-serve and profits.
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation Plan Part 2
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation: Designing Your Plan
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation for the Wholesale Distribution Industry: Launching Your Plan