Where’s Your Focus?

View From The Ridge: 38

January 08, 2016


Mike Mills

Mike Mills

Director of Business Consulting

To help to set up the main point in this week’s article, allow me to use an analogy. Have you ever noticed that once you decide to buy a new car it seems like that particular car is at every turn on the road? But before you bought that car, you rarely saw it. Now it feels like everyone owns that car. Contrary to your belief, that is typical.

You see, your focus wasn't on that car before you started looking, but it became your focus only after you did the research and looked at one in the showroom. Once your focus was on that special car, then you started seeing the models on the road. Fact is, they were there all along and not 'everybody' has one.

The same holds true with the investment buyers and Champion in the system. Managing the system only becomes our focus when we make it our priority. We become involved in other areas within our company that are outside of replenishment. We get tied up in other projects that can weigh us down and distract us. While some of these projects are necessary, we may find ourselves working on things that take our focus away from the profit generating activities that we should look for, i.e. investment buy opportunities. If our focus is on various projects, this will remain top of mind and less time will be spent on the system.

So where should the focus be?

If you approach each day as a day to uncover the profit generating activities that await, your focus will be clear and the appropriate tool to use will be even clearer. You see, the more you use your replenishment tool for profit generating activities, the profit opportunities will in turn become more apparent.

Who should be focusing?

Everyone should participate in adding profit to the company, especially when it comes to replenishment. The director, manager, investment buyer, merchandising, and logistics all play an important role. Whether it's sending back overstocked items, managing the product assortment, or working with logistics to manage pack sizes, everyone has an opportunity to contribute. But remember, if you aren't focused on these groups or these opportunities, you may never see them.

Where does it begin?

It really begins with top management. The support of executives to empower you to make decisions and run a strong department is key. Secondly, positioning a strong Champion is a must. A strong Champion embraces the critical role they play and understand how they can contribute to overall success. Recognizing the department connection points and tools to help with those connection points will position the Champion for success. Among the many responsibilities, playing a collaborative role with other departments ranks right at the top.

Collaborating with other department positions is essential for success, but collaborating within your department ranks equally important. A strong champion knows the key tasks to communicate within the department to, once again, keep the team focused.

Where does it end? You've heard this before: the Champion role is a journey, not an end. The Champion has the ongoing task to keep the team focused. Not having a focused Champion could mean THE END- a little strong, but we've seen it happen on more than one occasion.

As top management changes, and the original Project Manager (Champion) moves on, we frequently see the role of a Champion get lost in the mix and the strong focus on the buying system diminishes. Don't fall into this trap because it could mean trouble down the road. The Champion may change, but the role doesn't need to.

So as you approach each day, remember to remain focused on profit generating activities and just like buying that new car, those profit generating activities will begin to appear!