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Put Yourself Out of Business Today

Ignore what is lurking in your blind spots—and be ready to pick up the pieces

By Tim Kerstein, Director of Solutions Development

If you believe you are immune to competitive threats spoiling your strategy, then go ahead and move on because this article is not for you.

Still with me?

Strategic thinking is abstract. Humans often default to tactical thinking because it is more concrete. Focusing on now is certainly important, because execution is where strategies often fail; but you fail 100% of the time with the wrong strategy…or worse, no strategy at all.

It's a common pitfall to get so caught up in the weeds that you cannot fully and strategically visualize the entire landscape around you. And if you’re not looking at the whole forest, there might be hidden surprises tucked away in blind spots behind the trees.

The collapse of the “big box” store is a lesson for all. Just because life is good today does not mean it will be good in the future. Our businesses are all vulnerable regardless of annual revenue or number of offices. Admitting weakness or vulnerability is the challenge, but the impact of these “blind spots” can be crippling.

But sometimes a strategic weakness is more of a slow erosion than a blind-side hit. You may even be aware the threat exists, but perceive it to be too small to cause real damage.

Five Questions to Help Identify Blind Spots

  1. If I were our competition, what would I do to put us out of business?
  2. Are we earning our customers’ business every day?
  3. Why are they doing that?
  4. Is our plan the best plan?
  5. Are we actively seeking marketplace feedback, and are we asking the right questions?

Read more about addressing these five questions to overcome strategic weaknesses and maximize outputs.

Marketing, Meet Supply Chain. Supply Chain, Marketing.

When Marketing and Supply Chain Fail to Communicate

By Nancy Appelquist, Director of Operations

It’s been said that communication is the glue that holds, well, pretty much everything together. It’s true in personal relationships. And it’s certainly true in business.

A friend of mine who works for a specialty gas company recently told me a story about a communication snafu that cost her company sales revenue and caused a great deal of embarrassment. The company had launched an aggressive new promotion that generated significant new sales, but once customers began placing orders, there wasn’t enough product in stock. Although a forecast for increased sales was generated for financial purposes, it was not communicated to inventory management. As a result, the product was in short supply and not placed properly to capitalize on all the increased sales the promotion had generated.

Generally there’s not one particular division to blame for a breakdown, just poor planning and poor communication. But the outcome is harsh: decreased sales, lost productivity, increased cost in transportation and raw materials, erosion in credibility; not to mention the emotional toll of frustration and negativity. It’s painful.

The food and agribusiness industry has one of the most complex value chains out there, so it’s even more important that the chain stays intact. Your marketing strategy may be solid, but if your business processes aren’t in sync with that strategy, you are doomed to fail. Conversely, you can run a tight ship when it comes to production and inventory, but if your marketing team doesn’t know how it works, they could be sabotaging your system without knowing it.

Read more about important practices help keep the chain intact.