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A tomato is not a CD

A tomato is not a CD

In the world of FMCG, there are many associations that organize regular activities. These meetings are of course complemented by the intervention of one or more speakers, but mostly in my opinion, these events represent networking opportunities.

One of these associations, which often appeal to me, is the SMA (Sales Management Association). During my last visit to one of their events, I had the chance to get to know the discounter Traffic. The speaker was none other than the CEO of Traffic himself, Thierry Quertinmont. In summary, Traffic's mission is to sell plenty of non-food products at low cost, in pleasant stores.

This was quite surprising to me. Today, in an era where many speak of the competition between online and brick and mortar, the speaker tried to focus solely on the importance of logistics.

With the changing consumer and the multiplication of players in the market, the "supply chain" is a key element which is necessary to control according to Thierry Quertinmont.

This Logistics is one of two essential activities of a distributor. And the most striking example was when he illustrated by comparing the logistics of food products (a tomato or chicken for example) to that of non-food products (for example CD's or DVD’s). In fresh, work is carefully dissected and even timed. Everyone has their task and must perform it at the indicated time. While in the non-food, logistics is still too often facing the worries of unsold products, meaning returns. Therefore, the vision of Mr. Quertinmont is to work all logistics, including non-food, with a unit system, and not per pallets. Actually, it sounds logical.

Beautiful illustrations have followed in his speech to demonstrate the feasibility of this vision thanks to IT solutions, smaller shelves in order to avoid a feeling of emptiness in the stores, etc ...

Clearly, the thing to remember is that the "supply chain" is a considerable challenge. However, I remember conferences where the challenge of logistics was also cited for online sales. And the fact that these two channels, online and physical, must control their flow and routing of goods, does not answer the question of the moment: which channel the consumer will use tomorrow?

SogesmaSupply ChainSales Management AssociationSmaTraficNetworkingEventRetail