Products, products and more products. How much is too much, and which is the “right” one to sell.
This is a bit of an intro or overview that is intended to lead into another discussion on product offering and why Gardex sells the line that we do. In paraphrasing our Mission, our intent is to best meet our customers’ needs that will lead to their further success.
We are now going through the dreaded exercise of upgrading our “system”, which as everyone knows is never an easy task. By the word “system” I am referring to the major computer programming that links all of our transactional processes together that simply allows us to do business. Processes such as:
- Purchasing and supply side.
- Historical use and consumption.
- Inventory management and forecasting.
- Order placement, entry and fulfillment.
- Shipping of outgoing orders, receipt of incoming goods.
- Customer data and records, billing, pricing and terms.
When doing this exercise one of the first things we have investigated is our range, or product offering.
After several months of effort, it comes down to the fact that we are selling thousands of customers thousands of various stock keeping units (SKU’s) and at all times of the year.
I was a bit overwhelmed to find that Gardex actively purchases 1,965 SKU’s, and when breaking that down from master cases to cases or individual items, the number of products we actively manage is closer to 2700 items.
Some 980 SKU’s are stocked in our 4 warehouses at all times.
When I look at those numbers I always ask myself the same question…”Robert, are you nuts or something? Why do we carry so many products?”
When I mention this to customers they can’t believe the number available. Especially since the average Pest Management professional “thinks” they only purchases 20 – 30 items.
So why are we stocking so much? Because each of our customers has a different need, different preference and different means of how they conduct business.
Simply look at controlling one little mouse as an example.
Gardex offers 10 different bait stations to hold one of 12 different rodenticide baits. We carry 8 different multi-catch traps (Ketch-alls, Tin Cats) 10 different type of glue boards (freezer, unscented, peanut butter, cherry etc.). And what else, oh, 6 different snap traps, from the old wooden ones to the new plastic jaws of death. That covers most.
So which is the right way to control this one particular mouse? I think that’s the question we can’t answer outright, as there are a lot of options that will all work.
Every method or product may be the right one for that particular moment, even if solely based on the customers’ need and preference.
So do we make everything available, to meet each of your preferences and likes? Maybe, maybe not.
There is a need for us to give more support to certain products over others, and with justified business sense for both Gardex and the customer. And a time for the customer to make choices on several different aspects on a product other than simply price.
Stay tuned as I try (big emphasis on “try”) run through a simple product review on choices and options of one product category. We may all learn something, especially me!