Tag Archives: Procedures

How Do You Manage Cash Flow and Growth? Five Thoughts

Situation: A company faces dual challenges – assuring that payments are collected for work done and developing a business model that facilitates growth. How do assure that payments are collected to support your cash flow needs and that employees are focused on growth?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • It may be that the two problems are closely related. Ask whether your compensation and incentive system is focused on cash flow and growth. If not, you need to change it.
    • Restructure your compensation and incentive systems to create a direct link between profitability and compensation. Augment this with training. For example, if your engineering team isn’t good at assuring that change order costs are paid by their clients, teach them how to write statements of work to anticipate change requests and to include charges in the SOW. Then tie the team’s compensation to how well team members follow though in assuring that work is properly accounted for, billed, and payment collected.
  • Create simple procedures that are innate and complementary to team members’ natural behavior. The best way to do this is to involve them in the writing of the procedures.
  • Give them easy tools that take the guesswork out of negotiating change orders with clients. For example, if a client asks for faster delivery, give them a formula that ties delivery to cost::
    • Standard Delivery = 8 weeks at Price X
    • 4 Week Delivery = Standard delivery price times Y
    • 2 Week Delivery = Standard delivery price times Z

This turns client demands into a simple economic question – what is expedited delivery worth to you?

  • Hire a contracts manager to track contracts and change orders with authority to assure that change order costs are being billed.
  • Create “learning” teams to develop solutions. Allow the teams to speak to each other and to learn each other’s best practices. Supplement this with regular tutorial sessions to bring the whole group up to speed on new technologies.

How Does a B2B Company Learn B2C? Three Lessons

Interview with Ross Johnston, CEO, DiskCorp

Situation: A well-established B2B company is starting to work with B2C retailers. It is finding that both the internal and external perspectives of B2C companies are very different. How does a B2B company work differently with B2C companies?

Advice from Ross Johnston:

  • In the OEM market, manufacturers control all warranty obligations, have tightly controlled procedures for handling and tracking returned goods and are very focused on product quality and operational efficiency.
  • Leading B2C retailers have a very different perspective. Their focus is on the customer: on encouraging great customer experience and repeat customer visits. Products are sold to big box retailers without warranty, and the retailers provide their own warranty programs. This results in far more returns than for OEMs. Further, product is returned for a wide variety of reasons from failure to work as advertised to the customer simply changing their mind. There is also a wide range in how returned products are handled – from throwing them in the dumpster to returning undamaged items to stock, and few records are kept.
  • Our challenge is to help retailer and big box customers design, develop and implement recycling and cost recovery systems in our market. This means both developing procedures for the retailers and new channels to cost recovery markets.
    • First, they need processes to triage returned goods into broad categories: new or near new goods condition for resale; goods which require refurbishing or recycling; and goods for environmentally appropriate disposal.
    • Second, we have created a software tracking solution – a reverse logistics program – to track returned goods from receipt to their eventual disposition with full end-to-end P&L analysis. This can yield up to a 45% gross margin on returned goods which is shared with the retailer.
    • We develop additional processes that vary by retailer to help them handle the flow of returned goods.
    • We want to provide the retailer with an end-to-end operational platform that turns a cost center into a profit center and reduces long-term liability exposure that accompanies landfill disposal.

You can contact Ross Johnston at rjohnston@diskcorp.com

Key Words: B2B, B2C, OEM, Warranty, Procedures, Focus, Product, Customer, Return, Refurbish, Disposal, Process, Tracking