Those words, were uttered by a senior customer officer from a top 10 CPG Food company in a meeting last week to which ShelfSnap was invited. The words help delineate the line between individuals attempting to lead the industry through the next great leap in productivity and those who view the current state of in-store execution and maintenance as an acceptable cost of doing business.
It isn’t the sentiment that clearly puts the individual into the later group of industry executives. After all every merchandising program, plan and expenditure made by either manufacturer or retailer has a business expectation of compliance. As Doug Adams from Prime Consulting said in our white paper Measure Twice, Profit at Once “A lot of people discount the plan numbers about execution. However if the plan is good, why shouldn’t things be done 100% according to the plan?”
However, in the discussion reported above, no measurement had been part of the equation. The discussion continued when ShelfSnap reported between 20-60+% variances from plan in planograms, promotion, new item cut-in and shopper marketing efforts. The executive remained steadfast in his belief that those numbers should not happen and that it was the responsibility of the broker/distributor to execute flawlessly.
The truth of course, is that those woeful discrepancies exist despite the best efforts of those brokers and distributors, and that the tools to manage execution and maintenance are simply inadequate to control the chaos that is the shelf within the store.
So while the executive and his company pay for 100% compliance, they get far, far less than that and as long as they continue doing what they are doing today…that level of problem will continue to exist. In fact those performance levels become the “cost of doing business” until industry leading companies break out of the pattern and establish new practices that change the result.
With new tools such as ShelfSnap, accurate measurement of the critical on shelf conditions and facings are finally possible and since the actual data is based on pictures, it is indisputable. For the first time pictures drive the data, they are not arm candy for data collected by the old fashioned, inaccurate, distorted and very disputable hand scan techniques of the past. The leading edge image and object recognition technology pioneered by ShelfSnap in the middle of the last decade and improved upon every day since, has generated important new clarity and understanding of the vast opportunities that exist simply by level setting actual conditions back to the plan based on ShelfSnap direction.
Some companies led by executives who know that the early adopters will reap the largest competitive gains have a new motto, “trust but verify”. Or if you like a less controversial statement, this one from Mr. Churchill: “no matter how beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”