Following the completion of 2016 planning cycle, we heard a lot of frustration with the current Joint Business Planning (JBP) process. In response to this issue, Channel Marketing Group, in conjunction with Verde Associates, fielded a JBP survey to a wide group of planning process participants from both manufacturing and distributor companies. The purpose of this survey was to understand the extent of discontent about the process, as well as identify improvement opportunities to make it more efficient and effective in the future.
The results are in and they confirm that there is an opportunity to improve the process. 82% of manufacturers and 50% of distributors surveyed said that they are either Dissatisfied or Somewhat Satisfied with the current process.
The main reasons cited for giving these grades were:
- lack of focus,
- poor follow-through on local level and
- inconsistent measurement and accountability for results.
In fact, all surveyed manufacturers and three quarters of distributors would consider changing their joint business planning model for the 2017 planning cycle.
Main improvement opportunities exist in the following areas:
- Topics covered by JBP
- Quality and granularity of market research used to generate insights
- Value received from the process
- JPB effectiveness
The majority of respondents reported that the meetings mainly focus on goals for the next 12 months; however, a third of manufacturer respondents reported that a 2-year horizon is also discussed during these meetings. Strategic topics most often included during the JBP meetings are: alignment between manufacturers and distributors, new product offerings/product diversification and setting long-term market share goals. Additional topics that survey participants would like to see discussed during meetings include more extensive discussion of profitability, growth strategies (including investment/cost cutting plans and vertical market development) and value added services.
Over half of manufacturers and 100% of distributors said that they are either Dissatisfied or Somewhat Satisfied with the quality and granularity of market research that is used to drive growth plans. Insights from aggregated Point of Sale (POS) were most often included in discussion. Neither manufacturers nor distributors are leveraging any data provided by the Bureau of Census. Some companies admitted to using no market data at all to develop plans with their manufacturing or distributor partners.
The 3 top areas that drive the most value in the JBP process varied slightly for manufacturers and distributors. Both manufacturers and distributors included sales/share goals and strategic objectives alignment in their value adds. But, although customer issues were important to both groups, for manufacturers customer training/events drove the most value, whereas distributors pointed to customer strategies as being in the Top 3.
There are also improvement opportunities in the effectiveness of the planning process. Half of distributors and 70% of manufacturers said that the process is only Somewhat Effective. The main reasons that drove this rating included lack of follow-through, inconsistencies between markets and effective tools to keep all parties accountable for achieving agreed-upon results.
Channel Marketing Group will be holding a webinar on Thursday, September 8th at 1:00pm EST to share detailed findings and share specific suggestions on how to improve the Joint Business Planning Process. Space is limited to 20 attendees on a first come first served basis. Email David Gordon to reserve your spot.
Based upon demand, an additional date will be held for the following week.