Distributor's EDGE
In This Issue
The Wholesaler: Listening to the Right Customers
Managing in an Uncertain Economy
Supply Chain Digest: Inventory Performance in 2009
MarketingProfs: 10 Tips for Building Customer Loyalty
Best Practices

Workforce Management:
An Opportunity to Save
Warehouse Solutions

All organizations have processes for scheduling, managing, communicating with, tracking, and paying their employees. But these workforce management processes are often fragmented across the enterprise in functional and operational silos. Each process requires vast amounts of administrative effort that can be time-consuming & error-prone.

The goal of any organization is to ensure that the right people with the right skills do the right jobs at the right time-and at the lowest possible cost-to ensure the optimal balance between labor and demand in the workforce supply chain.

Continue reading to learn more about workforce management.
  Infor & Microsoft

Infor Logo

Infor recognized long ago that Microsoft was a key vendor in many of their customers' businesses. They developed a long-standing strategic partnership built on a close working relationship to deliver business-specific solutions that meet the individual needs of their customers...

Click here to learn more about the Infor-Microsoft alliance.

Popsicle Stick Jokes

Remember the good old days of popsicle stick jokes? Not usually the funniest jokes, but always a nice treat after that favorite childhood summer snack.


Reminisce with some of these classic Popsicle Stick Jokes:

Q1: Why did Beethoven get rid of his chickens?
A1: Because they kept saying "Bach, Bach, Bach."

Q1: Two silk worms were in a race. What was the result?
A1: A tie

Q1: What did one campfire say to another?
A1: Shall we go out one of these nights?

Happy Summer!
On the EDGE
Summer 2010, Volume 3, Issue 3
Welcome to the Summer 2010 issue of On the EDGE!

We hope you have been enjoying summer. It's hard to believe we are more than half way through the season! Our next Jammin' with Grant session is just around the corner in September, and in the meantime, we've collected some great articles for you to read.

Check out Workforce Management: An Opportunity to Save, our newest white paper, and read The Wholesaler's inventory management suggestions. Managing in an Uncertain Economy recently released a Best Practices-- Pricing Optimization article, and Supply Chain Digest reviews inventory performance from 2009. Finally, MarketingProfs published an article about customer loyalty, and as we all know, keeping the customer happy is one of our most important tasks.

Enjoy the rest of summer, and remember, we are just a phone call away.

Distributor's EDGE

The DE Team
The Wholesaler:
Listening to the Right Customers

Inventory Management Specialist

When I was managing a large facility in Denver, I would get all sorts of goofy product requests from the sales team. Since Denver was a new territory for our company, the sales team was not steeped in the products or trade focus of my company. They had a rough idea who we were going after, but we were not always on the same page. Each person brought bits and pieces from their previous experience, so we became the melting pot of the industry. Although a melting pot can provide a rich and diverse culture, it can also produce a product mix without any direction or focus.

This became brutally apparent when I had to liquidate the facility. I could literally attach a name tag to all of the oddball products I had been talked into. "If you get some, this customer will buy some." Have you ever tried to put "some" on a PO?

Click here to continue reading.

Managing in an Uncertain Economy

Best Practices--
Pricing Optimization


Companies have been facing gross margin pressure for many years. The real issue is profitability threatened by customer price pressure (the upper boundary of the gross margin) and a declining ability to reduce cost of goods sold further (the lower boundary of the gross margin). Companies have addressed the problem through attempts to decrease the cost-to-serve, thereby increasing the percentage of profit contained within the gross margin. As the gross margin shrinks, the increased profit percentage can "hold the line" on net profits. Unfortunately, the customer has anticipated increased efficiencies and is requiring higher service levels. The result is a constant battle to protect shrinking net profits. In light of these difficulties, many firms have turned to more scientific pricing methods. Pricing is typically market-based, but pricing decisions are very complex and, when made in an information vacuum, will suboptimize gross margins for the firm. The pricing/discounting decision is an information exercise and determines at least half of the firm's profitability equation.

Click here to continue reading.

Supply Chain Digest:
Inventory Performance in 2009


The report looks at overall Working Capital performance across a few dozen industry sectors and hundreds of companies. We focus on the inventory numbers, which they calculate using Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO), which is combined with payables and receivables data to come up with a total Working Capital number.

I was intrigued about what the inventory numbers would look like in the strange year that was 2009. The overall inventory to sales ratio spiked early on in the recession, as it always does, but then companies started cutting inventories like mad, reducing SKU counts, and anything they could do drive cash out of inventories.

The overall Working Capital numbers make it clear why there was an inventory reduction imperative. According to CFO, "2009 was one of the worst years ever for corporate working capital performance, and certainly the worst that CFO has reported since it began keeping track of working capital trends more than a decade ago."

Average days working capital (DWC) for 1,000 of the largest U.S. public companies jumped by 8.2% last year, the study found.

Click here to continue reading.

MarketingProfs: 10 Tips for Building Customer Loyalty


Customer loyalty matters, because selling more to current customers is easier and cheaper than finding and selling to new ones. Loyal customers tend to buy more, more regularly. And they will frequently recommend your business to others.

Here are 10 tips for you to consider if you are sincerely interested in having a business that is notable for its customer loyalty and referrals. I propose that these tried-and-true tactics with interpersonal strategies can deepen relationships with customers, establish greater levels of trust, and build stronger customer loyalty.

Click here to continue reading.