Quick Bits

Rigsbee’s Partnering Chronicles—Large and Small Businesses Succeeding Through Smart Alliances – 5/20/03

Sears has reduced its distribution inventory levels of Michelin tires by 26%, while improving its store fill-rate by 11%.

How did they do it? Internet Retailer reports that following a year of collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR) with Michelin, Sears, has achieved this result. Sears collaborates with Michelin through its supply chain collaboration application hosted by the GlobalNetXchange web portal. Sears gets a better view of Michelin’s production levels and can coordinate that information with changing demand throughout Sears’ retail operations. This has enabled the Sears to work with Michelin early enough in the production cycle to increase or decrease orders. The benefit is that Sears can assure that the right amount of particular models and sizes of tires to get delivered to the stores and regions where demand is greatest. Sears has also started similar collaboration efforts with Goodyear and Sumitomo tires and expects to collaborate with several more tire manufacturers soon.

How can you better collaborate with your suppliers to take costs out of the distribution channel? Perhaps you should ask your suppliers for their recommendations?

Internet Retailer-News Story from Tuesday, December 31, 2002

No baloney: Wireless fidelity is attracting new customers to Schlotzsky’s

Schlotzsky’s Inc. President and CEO John Wooley had a hunch that offering free wireless fidelity Internet access would draw new customers to his restaurants. He was right: A recent survey showed 6% of customers came in mainly for the wi-fi web access. The increase in business, about $100,000 over the course of a year in a single restaurant, is 20-25 times what Schlotzsky’s pays to install wi-fi at each location. “We’re seeing a really positive response from customers of all ages,” Wooley tells Internet Retailer.

Wi-fi, which extends high-bandwidth Internet access from fixed lines to wireless access, enables Schlotzsky’s customers to quickly download Internet content, including streaming media, music recordings and other data-intensive files, to their personal laptops or PDAs or to one of Schlotzsky’s iMac computers.

The cost to implement a wi-fi network in a retail location depends on the range of applications involved. Schlotzsky’s used its own IT staff to install wi-fi at a cost of $4,000 to $5,000 per location. But Wooley figures the new revenue at each location from customers attracted mainly by wi-fi amounts to about $100,000. The average ticket in a Schlotzsky’s Deli is $6, and each restaurant handles about 300,000 customer orders per year.

The only additional costs related to the wi-fi program are the 3 to 6 iMac desktop computers the company installed in each Deli, though Schlotzsky’s had planned to purchase these with or without wi-fi, Wooley says.

It’s Time To Deliver Your Conference Attendees More Value

Find out what your alliance partner considers as valuable and deliver it! The proceeding is, and has been, the basis of my partnering philosophy that I have shared over the last decade in my books, articles and seminars. For trade associations in particular, delivering true value to your attendees can at best be difficult.

Generally there are two types of conference attendees. First, there is the member that attends the conference to basically support the association. They come no matter how good, or bad, the program. Usually, they also consider the trip a vacation of sorts. Second, there is the attendee that is coming for education. This type also has the agenda of synergy. They believe they can get more for their education dollar through the collaborative effort than on their own.

The second attendee type is the one that will select not to come if the price seems too high for what they believe they will receive. This is the attendee that needs the maximum amount of value in order to leave their business to attend your conference. What have you done for this attendee lately? They ask the question, so shouldn’t you?

Meeting Surveys? Unfortunately they can be meaningless if laid out only for the affirmation of the meeting organizer’s. Are your surveys detailed to determine the value received? And hoped for, but not received?

Have you ever asked your speakers to comment? Generally they will only give positive unless there is a safety net in place.

Executive Foibles

Use your bullets wisely. Every business leader gets a limited number of workplace bullets to use. When you waste them on issues unimportant to the success of your business, you diminish your stature in the eyes of your employees as well as your ability to lead. Here is an example of a company president squandering one of his precious bullets. It was later referred to as the toilet caper by his office staff.

From the men’s restroom, just across the hall from the conference room, an unpleasant scent appeared to originate. It was a problem because the conference room was regularly used to meet clients. One day the president decided the problem was resulting from certain individuals’ library habits. His solution was to remove the toilet seat, thereby restricting library usage. Sure he could have had the smelly old carpeting replaced with tile or purchased a scent control device, but instead he took the easy but draconian measure. Needless to say, it caused quite a stir.

Eventually, the executive realized his foible when one of his partners had the carpeting replaced with linoleum, purchased a scent device and connected the fan switch to the light switch, thereby solving the problem. Even years later when someone brings up the president’s toilet caper in the presence of a new employee, it’s always the same. The disbelieving incredulous look on the face of the new employee is worth a thousand words. Be careful how you chose to use your bullets.



Ed Rigsbee is the consummate evangelist for member recruitment and strategic alliance success. He holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) accreditation. Ed is the author of The ROI of Membership-Today’s Missing Link for Explosive Growth, PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances, and The Art of Partnering. To his credit, he has over 2,500 articles in print and countless articles electronically published.

Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.