To help ensure retail success in the face of supply chain problems when selling custom floor displays to Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and other mass merchandisers, it’s critical to utilize strategic, values-based decision making. Otherwise, you may be tempted to make short-term decisions that negatively affect long-term relationships.
Defining Your Values
Doing so starts with defining the values you want to follow in making critical decisions and answering the following questions:
- What is in the best interest of the consumer?
- What is in the best interest of your customer, the retailer?
- How can you prioritize quality and safety over profits and costs?
- How will your choices impact the ongoing/long-term relationship with the retailer?
- Will the end result instill confidence in the retailer now and going forward?
- Are we true to our brand and company core values?
Taking Corrective Action in 3 Steps
Once these questions are answered, here are suggested steps to overcome adversity and achieve success:
Step 1: Identify Corrective Action Team Leader & Participants
Step 2: Identify Root Cause & Corrective Actions
Identify root cause of the issue:
- Is this a design flaw?
- Is this a manufacturing defect or error in execution?
Then determine if re-working the product will correct the issue or if it requires starting over.
If the issue is correctable, identify:
- Scope and scale of issue
- Resources required: suppliers, costs, etc.
- Corrective action plan: timeline, location(s), labor, materials, etc.
- Communication plan with the retailer
If the issue isn’t correctable, and starting over is required, identify who needs to be involved and what the message/communication will be with the retailer.
Step 3: Run All Strategic Options & Decision-Making through Stated Values Above
Corrective Action Advice
- Avoid Acting Before Planning: do not start implementing any part of the corrective action plan until it is complete, and all parties involved are informed and invested in a successful outcome – this will help you avoid the “ready, shoot, aim” scenario
- Avoid Additional Investments in a Flawed Design: this will likely result in a failed outcome with poor results for all involved, which is the “throwing good money after bad result” experience
- Prioritize Retailer Relationships over Short-Term Results/Savings: demonstrate that you will deploy every resource and spare no cost to make this right in the eyes of your retail customer
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: never assume anything is understood unless you get verbal and, ideally, written confirmation
Value of Strategic Partners
Here are three recommendations for how to lean on strategic partners when orders veer off track:
- If you don’t have in-house expertise, lean on strategic partners to guide, manage and implement corrective action plans
- Leverage their product knowledge and project management skills for a productive outcome
- Integrate their people into the corrective action team and schedule weekly meetings to review progress, raise issues and coordinate with all resources and stakeholders
How TPH Can Help
TPH Global Solutions has over 50 years of experience providing packaging, display and global supply chain solutions for both emerging and established brands to all warehouse clubs and other mass merchandisers. Let us serve as your strategic partner by helping you resolve challenging supply chain issues on current programs and preventing them on new ones. Speak with one of our retail success experts today.