What will it cost to NOT upgrade?

This past week it has been hard not to read about the continuing saga of one of americas’s most iconic brands. Many of us couldn’t wait to circle or pick out what we wanted for Christmas in the Sears catalog. As we got older, our purchases changed. Sears was todays home improvement store for most of us first time homeowners. Not only did they have everything you believed you needed, but their Craftsman brand came with a life-time warranty on tools. My wife and I spent many a Saturday shopping at our local Sears store to fill our new home and garage. So, what changed and why did I stop shopping at Sears when I bought my current house?

What does this have to do with Direct Store Delivery? Let’s explore.

Like Sears, suppliers and manufactures are wrestling how to compete. How can they win against the competition? How can they win with employees, or with the independent operators who represent their products at retailers? Our recent discussions focused on what actions a manufacturer must make now, so that they don’t become Sears down the road. What investments can they make in their people and their operation to improve the DSD experience for both drivers and retailers? Here are some things we can learn from Sears:

- Innovate. Innovate. Innovate. Don’t wait to prepare for the future.

- Look beyond the price of updating your DSD operation today, and instead look at what it will be tomorrow if you don't.

- Delaying innovation will cost you more next year, and every day your competitor does it better, faster, and more efficiently.

- Leave your comfort zone. Be a leader. Follow too often and you will be left behind.

- Attract top talent. Today, driver/operators want to do their job on their phones or tablets. No more bulky handheld devices. They expect more.

- Always update the tech for everyday processes. Go wireless for DEX. No more faulty/fragile DEX cables to disrupt the delivery day. No more DEX errors.

- Reduce friction during the delivery process for both drivers and retailers. This improves the relationship and increases revenue for all parties.

Finally, here is why I stopped shopping at Sears. The brand had abandoned their stores, and now every locations has aged very poorly. Shelves were never fully stocked, it felt like they were always going out of business. Most of all, engagement and the quality of the employees changed dramatically. As Sears looked away from Amazon, and slowly circled the drain, they took their employees down with them. Unfortunately, by then the best and brightest had left for the competition.

How do you plan to innovate in 2019? What is the cost if you don’t upgrade your DSD operation? Let’s discuss!