Monthly Archives: September 2007

The Future of e-Sourcing – Less is More

Today I’d like to welcome Alan Buxton of Trading Partners.

Anyone remember SAP circa 1998? The way SAP integrated everything was great. Except it was completely unusable. Then along came Ariba’s e-procurement system and it’s whizzy interface. Here was a system that would address SAP’s legendary user-unfriendliness, and drive adoption of improved purchasing processes through organisations. Guess what? While Ariba did solve some of SAP’s problems it raised plenty of new ones: how to ensure catalogs could be easily searchable and contained relevant items; how to ensure users understood what they had to buy through the Ariba platform and what they had to buy through different processes, etc.

A common theme throughout is that software systems, however intuitive they are to their designers and builders, are rarely intuitive enough to their end users. Aside from a small number of glowing successes, many corporations find themselves achieving less than what they expected when implementing new e-sourcing systems. As European Leaders In Procurement put it in July 2007: E-systems gather dust.

The relentless consumerisation of business technology is a great opportunity to change all this. I’m not talking about a Web 2.0 phenomenon – the blurring of boundaries between consumer tools and business tools has been going on since Instant Messaging, if not before. However, it is consumer Web 2.0 sites that are now pointing the way to the future of enterprise sourcing software. For example, two web sites that excite and inspire me the most are ones like and They are easy, friendly and the user can see where the value is. Consumers are not interested in “downstream process improvements” – they are interested in whether a particular tool is good for them now. This is not to say that consumer tools are unsophisticated. Zopa, certainly, needs to do a lot of fancy footwork behind the scenes when it matches borrowers with lenders.

For sure, the e-sourcing industry has come a tremendous way in the past decade, but in all honesty e-sourcing is still in a comparatively early adopter phase, globally. In order to really reach mass adoption of our tools, and to transform the effectiveness of enterprises, e-sourcing tools need to take far more cues from consumer-friendly sites and, dare I say it, less cues from IT departments’ integration requirements. Imagine that: users demanding e-sourcing tools because they are fun and helpful rather than using them because the boss says so. A brave new world indeed.

For those of you expecting Sustainability Sunday, this week will instead feature Thought-Provoking Tuesday.

Supply Chain Humor This Week IX

Today I bring you three more spenderific stories from the hat of The Satirical Sourcerer, the great Metals Miner from Aptium Global, that demonstrate the importance of cost avoidance.

If you build it.. He will come.
Before spending “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of your own money to build a baseball field in your backyard, make sure you obtain all necessary permits, or else they will force you to remove it. ‘Cost avoidance’ is the name of the guy playing third base.
City says baseball field no dream

Just because Kevin Costner can get away with it, doesn’t mean you can!

Travelocity helped book some flights to Cuba due to “technical problems”.
Well, they now had to pay Uncle Sam $182,750 as a fine.

Generally when you have a “technical problem”, that prevents a user from using the system. There was obviously a “failure”, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t technical!

Cost Avoidance 102:
Quit spending tax dollars on things that are “possibly extinct”. Darn hippie liberals.
U.S. to spend $27M on possibly extinct bird

Well, this is the same government that paid $998,798 for the shipment of two 19-cent washers. Should we really be surprised? At least it’s still paltry compared to the $84.4M paid by the Australian government for a $24.99 net filter.

My Thoughts on the Ariba – Procuri – Emptoris Circus: Extended Edition

This post has been updated in My Thoughts on the Ariba – Procuri – Emptoris Circus: Ultimate Edition. The reader is strongly urged to check out that post instead.

Ariba‘s buying Procuri! The gorilla-marketing vultures of Emptoris are trying to capitalize on it! It’s so unexciting and uninnovative that I’d rather have Keith Jackson‘s job and stop-watch how long the evaporation and ultra-violet breakdown processes actually take when a thin sheet of latex changes from a liquid to solid state.

That being said, it seems last week’s post on the subject, which captured summaries of the conversations that may have taken place in the Ariba Executive suite before the first offer, the Procuri Boardroom when the offer was seriously being considered, and the Emptoris marketing cage when word was leaked that a tentative agreement was reached, may have been one of my most popular.

Thus, for those of you who missed it, or enjoyed it so much that you yearn to read it again, I am (re)posting an extended version below.

Opening: The ‘Riba brothers and sister are on center stage, the Goodfeathers behind them off to the viewer’s left, and Pinky & the Brain behind them off to the viewer’s right. Rita, Runt, Slappy, and Minerva are at the back, behind the ‘Riba brothers and sisters.

It’s time for sourcing-maniacs
And we’re zany to the max
So just sit back and relax
You’ll laugh ’til you collapse
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Wakko & Yakko]
Come join the ‘Riba Brothers
And the ‘Riba Sister, Dot
[Wakko, Yakko, & Dot]
Just for fun we run around the corp’rate parking lot
They lock us in the boardroom whenever we get caught
But we break loose and then vamoose
And now you know the plot!

[Everyone but Wakko, Yakko, & Dot]
We’re sourcing-maniacs!
Dot is cute and Yakko yaks
Wakko packs away the snacks
While accountants pay the tax
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Everyone but Pinky & the Brain]
There’s Pinky and the Brain who want to rule the sourcing-verse
[Everyone but the Goodfeathers]
Goodfeathers flock together;
[Everyone but Slappy]
  Slappy whacks ’em with her purse
[Everyone but Rita & Runt]
Rita lectures Runt,
[Everyone but Minerva]
  Minvera sings a verse
The writer flipped; we have no script
Why bother to rehearse?

We’re sourcing-maniacs!
We have pay-to-play contracts
We’re zany to the max
There’s baloney in our slacks

We’re sourcing-manie,
Totally insaney,

These are the facts!

Prologue: Rita and Runt are wandering the streets of San Francisco down by the Embarcadero in their search for a new home late last fall. It’s night, and they are going unnoticed.

A breeze blows a page onto Runt’s nose. Runt reads the first line.
Runt: “MasterCard, Ariba Partner for Corporate, Purchasing Card Programs”. Rita, what’s Ariba?
Rita: Ariba is a big software company down in Sunnyvale, Runt.
Runt: Software, what’s software?
Rita: You know what a computer is, don’t you?
Runt: A big box that makes pictures like a TV, right?
Rita: That’s right. And software is what makes it make pictures. But a computer can do more than that, Runt.
Runt: Really, like what?
Rita: Some people use it to send letters …
Runt: How do they get the paper in there?
Rita: Not real letters, e-letters!
Runt: e-letters, you mean they make letters out of E’s? How do they do that?
Rita: No, no, silly. Electronic-letters. The letters are sent using signals between computers, kinda like the signals that are sent from TV stations to TVs, that are interpreted by the software and displayed as written words.
Runt: That’s neat.
Rita: Yes it is Runt. Yes it is.
Runt: So what else do people use these computers for?
Rita: Some use them in the home to write e-letters, search for information, listen to music, and watch videos. But some use them at work to do their jobs.
Runt: Really?
Rita: Yes, and Ariba makes software that some people use in their jobs to buy things their company needs.
Runt: So, they’re partnering with Mastercard means they’re doing good, right?
Rita: Maybe. Why do you ask?
Runt: Wondering if they could give us a home.
Rita: Well, they’re a company Runt. Companies don’t generally keep pets, the people who work at them do.
Runt: But if they’re doing good, then that would mean the people working at them would be doing good … and be happy. Maybe happy enough to give us a home, right?
Rita: Maybe, but remember how I told you that people measure a company’s performance based on its stock price.
Runt: D’uh, yeah.
Rita: Well, their stock price hasn’t been doing very good. It’s a little better than it was a year ago at this time, but it was almost twice as much two years ago.
Runt: So, our chances of finding a home there aren’t very good.
Rita: I don’t know, Runt. I don’t know. We could wander down to Sunnyvale and see for ourselves though. It’s getting cold at nights in the city now.

[Rita and Runt]
Hi-ho! Hi-ho!
Off to Sunnyvale we go!
We’ll chase our tails!
And wear our veils!
[Rita and Runt]
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!

[Rita and Runt]
We’ll walk along the ‘Fornia coast
Search the trash cans for a roast
Try not to run into a ghost
[Rita and Runt]
Sing the songs that we like most
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!

[Rita and Runt]
We’ll find Ariba, yes we will
Maybe it’s beyond that hill
It would be nice just to stay still
And find a place to eat our fill
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!

Scene 1: The Ariba Executive Suite. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are sitting solemn and anxious around a big table late last year.

Yakko: Our stock price is dropping!
Wakko: Our profits in danger of stopping!
Dot:   And our boss is very unhappy with us.
Yakko: We need a new idea.
Wakko: But we’ve already tried IKEA!
Dot:    And that kid who used to ride the spiffy short bus!
Yakko: If we don’t do something fast …
Wakko: We might run out of gas …
Dot:    Or at least champagne shooters!
Yakko: We need to make innovation!
Wakko: We need to take back the sourcing nation!
Dot:   We need to go to … Hooters!
Yakko:  Yes, those are lovely owls!
Wakko:  Lets give them our towels!
Dot:    And then order in Chinese.
Yakko:  I’m a bit grumbly …
Wakko:  And I’m a bit humbly …
Dot:    And I like to swing in the breeze!
Yakko:  Maybe we should get some fresh air!
Wakko:  The air is stale around my chair!
Dot:    And our food is at the door!
Yakko:  I’ll pay for it!
Wakko:  Pay … that’s it … we need to pay for it!
Dot:    What do we have to pay for?
Yakko:  Something .. we’re here for something …
Wakko:  That’s right … something …
Dot:    Yes … we need … to raise … profits!
Yakko:  But we have no ideas …
Wakko:  And we can’t sell IKEA …
Dot:    And the big guy’s taking fits …
Yakko:  So why don’t we just buy some!
Wakko:  Yes, it will be so much fun!
Dot:    And we might even get some cash out of it too!
Yakko:  But we have lots of software …
Wakko:  Yes! It’s right over there …
Dot:    And we’ve even got a network to woo!
Yakko:  But we don’t have every single buyer!
Wakko:  It could be because our prices are higher!
Dot:    Or because our competition has more SaaS!
Yakko:  So let’s just buy ’em!
Wakko:  Then we’ll have show’d ’em!
Dot:    With a good swift boot to the *ss!
Yakko:  We’ll get all the revenues!
Wakko:  In all the glorious green hues!
Dot:    And maybe even the mid-market too!
Yakko:  So, who do we buy?
Wakko:  Who’s on-demand with the biggest slice of pie?
Dot:    Covered in anchovie stew!
Yakko:  I know! Procuri!
Wakko:  They’re always in a hurry!
Dot:    To take deals from us!
Yakko:  Then we’ll have the buyers!
Wakko:  And our revenues will be higher!
Dot:    And our boss will finally give us the short bus!

Interlude 1: Lights shift to Minerva on Stage Right. She starts to sing.

Ariba’s got the blues
So they’re making an offer
To buy out competition
With coins from the coffer

It’s the same old story
Innovate or buy
Reclaim lost glory
A bigger slice of pie

Scene 2: The Procuri Boardroom … a few months ago. The Goodfeathers have just entered.

Squit: As far back as I can remember …
Pesto: Do you think you amuse me with your rambling? Do You!
Bobby: You talkin’ to me? YOU TALKIN’ TO ME?
Squit: I’m not talkin’ to you!
Pesto: Dat’s it!
   Thwok! (Pesto conks Squit.)
Pesto: Now why are we here?
Bobby: We have to make a decision.
Squit: Are we gonna off someone? Are we? Are we?
Pesto: I hope so! I want to cap some ‘caps!
Bobby: No … we’re not capping anyone. We’re here to talk about a deal.
Squit: Why?
Pesto: I still want to pop off a few!
Bobby: Guys! Guys! We’re not in that business anymore! Remember! Those days are behind us! Way behind us! Over a decade ago. Well before Procuri.
Squit: I know, I know. But I’m bored.
Pesto: And I’m anxious!
Bobby: Yes … so let’s get down to business.
Squit: What are we here for today?
Pesto: The usual briefings?
Bobby: No, someone made us an offer.
Squit: An offer?
Pesto: An offer?
Bobby: Yes, an offer … for Procuri.
Squit: How much?
Pesto: How soon?
Bobby: A fairly large amount … in the near future.
Squit: What’s the multiple?
Pesto: Is it what we’d hoped for?
Bobby: Not what we’d hope for … but not bad either. I think we should consider it. We’ve been in this particular game a long time … and I think it’s time that we move on.

Interlude 2: Lights shift to Rita on Stage Left. She starts to sing.

The offer’s been accepted
The goodfeathers have their recompense
But have shareholders been sedated?
And what comes next?

How will industry react?
What will competitors do?
Will anyone take notice?
Will it turn into a media zoo?

Scene 3: The Emptoris Marketing Cage … late Wednesday night. Pinky & the Brain are thinking.

Pinky: Gee, Brain. Ariba’s buying Procuri! Narf! What do we do? Zort?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, try to take over the (sourcing) world!
Pinky: Zoink! But how are we going to do that, Brain? Ariba just hit a home run? Right? Blip!
Brain: FUD!
Pinky: Fud? FUD? Yeah! What’s FUD?
Brain: Fear! Uncertainty! Doubt! We’re going to convince them that Chicken Little was right! That the sky is falling!
Pinky: The sky’s falling? THE SKY’S FALLING!!! HELP!
Brain: Yes, that’s the general idea!
Pinky: We have to take cover! Narf! COVER! Zort!
Pinky! That smarts! WhatchaDothat for, Brain?! Zoink!
Brain: You idiot! The sky’s not falling. We’re just going to convince the dimwitted masses that the sky is falling.
Pinky: So they’ll buy metal umbrellas? I’ve always wanted a shiny metallic umbrella, Brain! Can I have one? Please? Oh Please? Please?
Pinky: Oww! Owowowowow!
Brain: No dipstick! We want them to think that the rug is being pulled out from under them!
Pinky: … but that sounds scary, Brain!
Brain: Yes! And that’s the point! We want them to think that their applications, support, and service are going to disappear over night! They’ll be terrified … and looking for a better answer.
Pinky: An answer? I’d like one of those!
Brain: Yes … and we’ll be that answer! We’ll bombard the media! The only other name they’ll see is ours! We’ll pack it with reassuring messages that only we have an integrated solution! That only we are pure! That only we can support them without a hitch for as long as they need us! And …
Pinky: And …
Brain: That only we’ll give them credit for investments they’ve made in our competitors … that only we will give them up to a year free!
Pinky: I like Free!
Brain: Yes … everyone likes free … but it won’t be … It Won’t Be …
Pinky: So we’ll be – what do you call it … bending the truth again — just like our “one” product is really Zeborg, Intigma, ValueEdge, MindFlow, Dicarta …
  Thwap! Clonk!
Brain: I told you to never speak of that again!
Pinky: Sorry!
Brain: But it will work! It will work! The sheep will panic and run to us! We’ll let them in and count their dollars one million by one million by one million!
Pinky: And then we’ll rule the (sourcing) world? Narf!
Brain: Yes Pinky, then we’ll rule the (sourcing) world!

Epilogue: Lights shift to Slappy at the back of the stage. She places a big red brick in her red purse.

Slappy: Hey writer!
Writer: Yes, Slappy?
Slappy: I have something to say to you.
Writer: Yes, Slappy?
Slappy: Come closer.
Writer: Okay, Slappy?
  Thunk. Slappy slaps the writer in the face with her purse. Hard!
Slappy: That’s for not giving me a part!

Closing: Everyone assembles as a group on center stage.

Yes, we’re the sourcing-maniacs
And we’re zany to the max
We hope you were relaxed
And laughed ’til you collapsed
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Wakko & Yakko]
We’re the ‘Riba Brothers
I’m the ‘Riba Sister, Dot
[Wakko, Yakko, Dot]
Just for fun we ran around the corp’rate parking lot
But then got locked in the boardroom after we got caught
But we’ll break loose and then vamoose
It’s our never-ending plot!

We’re sourcing maniacs!
I am cute!
  I like to yak
While Clinton plays the sax
And I’ll collect the tax
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Pinky & Brain]
Tonight we will take over the entire sourcing-verse
We’ll always stay together
  I’ll always have my purse
[Rita & Runt]
We had lots of fun
  I sang to you a verse
The writer flipped; we had no script
Why bother to rehearse

We’re sourcing-maniacs!
We have pay-to-play contracts
We’re zany to the max
There’s baloney in our slacks

We’re sourcing-manie,
Totally insaney,

Those are the facts!

“The ‘truthiness’ is, anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the news … at you.”
  Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

P.S. The satirical play above is the last post I’m going to make on this subject. If you’re interested in having this relatively uninteresting and uninnovative piece of news analyzed seven ways from Sunday, please look elsewhere. (Not sure where to look? Just Google. Analyses are everywhere!) This blog is about sourcing innovation, not merger, acquisition, and marketing frenzy. At the end of the day it’s what the solution can do for you, and not who owns it that’s important. Have a good weekend.

How To Get The Most From Your Spend Analysis System

Simply put, systematize the tactical and free up your power sourcer(er)s to focus on the strategic. You should automate everything you can from an extraction, classification, categorization, amalgamation, enrichment, and standard financial reporting perspective so that your team can spend the bulk of their time slicing, dicing, refining, dimensionalizing, and re-classifying your spend data in new and creative ways using a true spend analysis tool in search of that next big opportunity. Sometimes the gold nuggets are there for the picking in the shallow stream, but you always have to mine deep into the mountains to find the vein.

Focus on streamlining the following:

  • Extraction from the External Data Systems
    This will likely require your IT or accounting team writing scripts to automate the extraction of relevant data from each ERP or other data system.
  • Cleansing, Classification, and Import
    Your central repository should cleanse and classify new transactions automatically, based on the classification rules that you (or your vendor or services partner, on your behalf) have created. You will need to review the results of this classification for new and existing spending, and you will need to update your vendor and GL masters, but you should ensure that these processes are managed consistently and smoothly.
  • Baseline Reports and Spend Reports
    Your spend analysis tool should be set up to create the reports and summaries that your finance teams and executives will want to see on every data refresh.
  • “Low Hanging Fruit” Opportunity Analysis
    Your spend analysis tool should be configurable to run “low hanging fruit” opportunity analysis reports that look for variances between actual spend and estimated spend based on external benchmark results. Those external benchmarks must be managed and updated on a regular basis to keep these reports useful.
  • Integrate with your Contract Repository
    Maverick spending can’t be positively identified until you’ve eliminated spend which might be on contract. Integrating contracts with your spend analysis system will enable you to definitively identify off-contract spend (although be careful: the inverse is almost certainly NOT true, since true compliance requires much greater insight than is available from the A/P level).
  • Run Maverick Spending Reports
    In line with the above, make your life easy by running maverick spend reports on every refresh.

Once the tactical grunt work is out of the way, make sure your senior sourcers have access to a leading analysis tool like BIQ (which is also used by Iasta as part of their end-to-end sourcing suite), and let them dive in to the data and find savings opportunities you never knew you even had, like:

  • Overspending on Computers and Peripherals
    Many sellers and resellers love to give you “best price” guarantees because they know that as long as they don’t raise the price during the contract term, you’ll probably never notice when they charge you $995 in 6 months for the same system you paid $1000 for today. Given that electronics typically depreciates 3% (or more) a month, it’s easy to calculate that you probably shouldn’t be paying more than $844 for the same configuration in six months.
    You do this by loading in historical market pricing for the last year and comparing what you’ve spent to what you should have spent. If you have a “best price guarantee”, you use the generated report to go to your vendor and demand a refund.
    This happens so often, and many big companies overspend so much, that there are some boutique consultancies that pretty much make their living just finding overcharges on commodities such as electronics equipment and office supplies.
  • Fraud Reduction
    This could take the form of spending on a commodity in a department that should never be buying such a commodity (such as X boxes by accounting) or spending on non-approved or banned suppliers (such as to a company owned by a friend of an employee or, worse, the employee himself). It could also take the form of finding fraudulent charges made by your employees (like the sales rep who submitted the same dinner receipt for $484 six months in a row under “client entertainment” or the executive who likes to charge his weekly lap dances to his corporate credit card).
  • Loss Prevention
    Did you know that sometimes it’s more profitable to let your customers keep old equipment for which leases have expired or which has broken down and is still under warranty? If the cost of reclaiming it, inventorying it, and then re-selling it or auctioning it is more than what you will realize, it’s cheaper to let the customer keep it. At least one insurance firm is saving a fortune by using their spend analysis tool to determine when it’s more cost effective to let the customer keep the damaged car. If it’s going to cost $1,000 to transport and process but only sell for an average of $500 at auction, what’s the point of taking it?
  • Invoice Analysis or Compliance, Compliance, Compliance
    How many spend cubes should you build? The answer is, “many.” That’s because invoice analysis (required for true compliance) requires analyzing invoice data that can vary in format and content between suppliers.
    As Jack Welch once asked, “How do you know you’re getting the pricing you contracted for?” If this question reduces your procurement staff to incoherent splutters, as it usually does, you’ll understand the need for invoice analysis!
  • On Beyond Compliance
    Suppose that you find that the price for 5 pound express mail packages was correctly calculated by the freight vendor in every instance. But are you correctly estimating how many 5 pound express mail packages you are sending? Is the loading dock staff perhaps forgetting to fill in the weight fields on one-pound packages?

Up Next: Contract Management Integration – It’s Easier Than You Think

  Seven of Nine

Overcome The Seven Deadly Sales Suppressors by Knowing Your True Demand

As I mentioned in my recent post Supply Chain Does Not Have To Be A Dirty Word, TrueDemand has recently made an effort to publicize the Seven Deadly Sales Suppressors which any organization who sells consumer purchased goods should be aware of and address. These are:

  • Out of Stock
  • Price Compliance
  • Incorrect Merchandising
  • Poorly Executed Trade Promotions
  • Damaged Merchandise
  • Unsuccessful Product Roll-Over/New Product Introductions
  • Steadily Declining Retail Orders (the “death spiral”)

If you’re a store operator, retailer, sales execution professional, or account team at a CPG company – take these to heart. Your success depends on preventing each and every one of them every single day.

So, what can you do? Let’s address each issue in term.

  • Out of Stock
    Simply put – you make sure the item is on the shelf when a customer wants to buy it! How do you do that? Inventory visibility. This involves knowing not only where the product is in your supply chain, but where it is in each retail facility. Just because product is in the store, does not mean it is on the shelf – and just because a product is in the storeroom, does not mean that the retailer’s employee can locate it should a customer have the patience to wait while the employee looks.
    Make sure your retailers are consistent not only with their shelf checking and restocking policies, but also in when they take inventory and how they organize their store room. If they have RFID at the shelf, work with them to make sure your product is RFID enabled in a compatible way. If they have problems managing their warehouse, work with them to improve it. Consider color coding your boxes or using unique symbols on each box to help them find your product should a box get misplaced.
  • Price Compliance
    Are they charging what they are supposed to be charging? There are at least two ways to ensure this is the case. You can use the traditional method and send an account representative to the store on a regular basis to check, or you can make sure you get, integrate, and monitor their point-of-sales feed in a near-real time basis (at least daily) and check that the prices charged are in the correct range, or if there are no sales for a period you projected sales, actively look into what they are charging. This may mean sending an account representative to the store once in a while, but it is much more efficient and cost-effective since you can’t afford to send a representative to every store every day for every product.
  • Incorrect Merchandising
    The best way to avoid this disaster is to have the right information at the right time. You do this through collaboration – which involves – gasp! – having the right supply chain systems in place that enable your people around the globe to connect and work together at any time on any issue as soon as it surfaces – before it becomes a problem.
  • Poorly Executed Trade Promotions
    The best way to ensure your promotion goes as planned is to have smooth collaboration between your account teams and your retail partners. The best way to do this is to use communication and collaboration technology to work together. Furthermore, you’ll get the best results if you spend more time working with the retailers, or retail locations, you’ve had problems with in the past. And the best ways to identify these is to use predictive analytics that analyze past promotions. (In other words, the key is again the right supply chain systems.)
  • Damaged Merchandise
    This involves making sure the products are not defective when they are shipped and that your logistics and distribution partners know how to handle them properly during shipments and delivery so they don’t become damaged. In other words, good quality control up front.
  • Unsuccessful Product Roll-Over / New Product Introductions
    The key is effective change management. Good processes backed by enabling technology will again save the day!
  • Steadily Declining Retail Orders (the “death spiral”)
    Well, this is the ultimate issue, isn’t it? It’s the only one where you may not ever know the true reason, unlike most of the previous problems which can only have a small number of reasons which can each be identified and mitigated in advance.
    However, with a bit of elbow grease and the right technology, you can remove almost all risks but one – demand. Perceptions, wants, and financial situations can change overnight for reasons beyond your control, so you can never truly control demand. However, you can make sure that orders aren’t declining because you’re out of stock, that they aren’t declining because the wrong products are targeted to the wrong markets, and that they aren’t declining because the products are of poor quality, etc. Furthermore, you can take active efforts to manage demand by using JIT production, reserving capacity, and setting the right price point so that you can minimize the risks.

In other words, there’s rarely a good excuse for lack of sales at the shelf as each of the Seven Deadly Sales Suppressors can be adequately addressed – especially if you have the right technology that enables you to do so.

What’s the sound of a lost sale? It’s not cha-ching!