Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Problems of Jumbo Proportions

From Estuches

I know,every time someone asks me how business is going I often say "Great!" or "Good", and it is really; but, I also have the occasional problem that keeps me up at night.

Jumbo is one of our biggest clients. They are a supermarket chain, and recently, they have been the source of my biggest headaches.

It all started great. They carried most of our products. They were so happy with those that they asked us to do their private label cookies for them and we did. After a while, I also talked them into carrying our budines (pound cakes).

They were squeamish at first; and rightly so, since our budines would retail for way more than their highest costing budin at that time. I told them to just try it and if they could not sell them I would take them back. They turned out to be our biggest movers. They sold more budines than anyone else in Argentina. I knew they would sell really well, but they sold even more than what I thought they would.

Jackpot, right?

Well, everything was going peaches until Jumbo switched their ordering system to Disco´s ordering system. Disco is owned by Jumbo and it was a pretty good merger for these two. Jumbo was more the very big box style of supermarket and Disco had many more locations, but they were way smaller.

Anyway, the system change hosed everything up. The budine orders have dried up and they are a trickle of what they used to be. The few that get to the supermarket shelves get snatched up right away. The stores can´t order directly anymore, it all has to be done automatically.

There are two Jumbo locations that got so fed up with this that they ordered directly from us (Palermo and Unicenter) even though they are expecting to get spanked for it from the powers above, and I don´t mean celestial powers either.

So if you are reading this and you are a consumer of our budines from Jumbo, you should be able to find them very soon again at either Palermo or Unicenter.

If you shop at Disco or any other Jumbo store, you can complain about the lack of budines at your local shop. They do pay attention to customer complaints, suggestions, etc.

Meanwhile, I have to keep visiting the stores; keep talking to the store managers; keep waiting at the buyer´s office (because she doesn´t answer my phone calls), and call her from her lobby in the hopes that they would like to sell, once again, one of their best selling products in its segment.

Pulling teeth has got to be easier than this.


Fritz said...

"Nice" to know that it's not only companies in the US that mess things up. Efficiency can sure leave a lot of good things behind.

Unknown said...

Ah, efficiency, that illusive and wonderful sounding word. It is as slippery as trying to grab a recently caught fish with your hands from the floor.

They are trying to find that magical number that will leave their shelves looking stocked, but not too stocked. In their quest, we all loose. The shoppers loose because they can´t find the product they were looking for; the store looses a sale, and I loose a sale and start gaining a mistrust because the consumers just assume that the manufacturer has a production problem or a delivery problem.

In the end, I stand to loose the most.

I finally got through to the buyer and it looks like I wore her down. She is tired of my daily bombardment of e-mails, and phone calls and office visits. I got a meeting, and hopefully I can get my life back soon.

Thanks for your comments Fritz!

Beatrice M said...

I always wondered why Disco would run out of things so much. This is a little peak behind the curtain and explains a lot.

Unknown said...

Hi Beatrice,

I just came back from the Disco on Salguero. I finally found some of my products. They had very little left. Meanwhile, all the big name brands always have their stuff stocked to the hilt. What keeps my hopes up is that I also see the shelves when our products come in so I know they sell through very fast. The problem is that the speed of the sell through is much faster than they restock. I just have to keep sending that message. Hopefully someone will notice and change that.