Planners are your Radar Detectors

I drive a fast car.  No, this is not a Tracy Chapman discussion.  Don’t delete just yet! But seriously, Wilma is very fast.  I don’t mean like Mustang GT fast, I mean VERY fast.  Some have called her a “pretty blue convertible” and you know who you are… but at the heart, she’s a beast with wheels.

Sometimes I tap the gas and find myself a few MPH over the speed limit.  It just happens.  So, I had a radar detector installed and hard wired on.  It is always on and protecting me. It is one of the highest rated, and was NOT a cheap one, one of the higher priced. Buy I researched and selected what I thought to be the best.

Last week, as luck would have it, a small Scion was next to me at a light, and we both kind of stepped on the gas a little bit more aggressively than we probably should have. My radar chirped before we crested a small hill, and I backed off quickly.  Just over the hill, the Metro PD motorcycle policeman with the radar gun pinged him, not me, and stopped him and wrote what I can only imagine was a $6-800 ticket.  Whew.  Nice save.

Companies invest millions in their systems.  They buy top of line Planning, BI, optimization tools, and replenishment systems, and invest millions if not tens of millions of dollars in these.  Shouldn’t the talent level also be ‘best in breed’ to match? The disparity astounds me.  A company will drop $3M on a piece of software, but will not invest nearly enough in the ‘drivers’ of these. 

The P&A team are the radar detectors.  We warn you of problems you can’t yet see— we can see over the hills and predict you’re about to get hammered by (choose 1 or more options below)

1-    Too much inventory: MD’s are coming if we don’t react soon
2-    Too little inventory: Chasing sales, or even walking them
3-    Too little receipts on order: Will miss future projections
4-    Too much receipts coming: Need to re-merch floor, move through old, cancel orders even.
5-    The trend has changed: We must as well. Change strategy in mid-stream? Ha, that’s Retail 101! You bet!
6-    The trend has accelerated: DRIVE the receipts
7-    Pricing… oh pricing, so near to my heart. Pricing is wrong, here’s how to fix it.

Is your radar detector the best in the industry?? Mine cost several hundred dollars >>> but the ticket would have been twice that.  The difference between the discount radar detector and the ‘best’ is less than 1 ticket costs.  What the difference between a best in breed Planning team and a ‘decent one’? Far less than the cost of not having one. If you are blindsided by any 1 or more of the above, you should have invested in your P&A team.

I once commented that Planning does not have a crystal ball, but predictive analytics (and Prescriptive even above that) can make it all look magic. In Winter of 2008, was YOUR inventory ready for what came next? 

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere- Tracy Chapman


-That Planning Guy

(PS- I didn’t forget, I plan to re-read Sun Tzu on vacation and sure I will have some fun commentary next week… from The Beach)

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