|Case 1: Sales forecasting algorithms at Mylène |
The family-run company Mylène is Belgium's market leader of direct sales. Through educational and fun home parties, they offer a broad range of products in the following departments: Mylène Cosmetics, Mylène Home & Interieur and Mylène City & Home Wear. As a direct selling cosmetics company, Mylène is exposed to challenges such as extreme product turnover and maintaining the motivation of its sales consultants. Sales consultants/intermediaries need to have their requested product at the right place and at the right time. Moreover, errors on initial forecasts imply an increase of inventory levels, lost sales and consequently a fall of the gross margin for the sales consultant. In this context I was asked to develop more adequate sales forecasting algorithms. A tailor made "dynamic" step-by-step forecasting guide was developed, with a clear sequence of steps. In a first step, time-series based forecast algorithms (trends, seasonality, ...) were launched. In a second step, algorithms were developed that allowed adjusting the time-series sales forecasts, based on a continous error signaling system and screening of relevant explanatory variables (explaining irregular patterns). It is an example of making a "learning" step-by-step guide that further refines results of previous steps.
Case 2: Better profiling and matching of international partners at European network
The local agency (member of this European initiative) asked me to provide them with more adequate guidance in the profiling and matching process in order to bring companies together and develop more successful partnerships. Two elements turned out to be crucial. First, coming up with a more precise framework that allowed to categorize and describe relevant info of each company more adequately (according to different perspectives: target groups, financial, process, ...) . Second, identifying all stages in the experience cycle (between the network members and the potential companies) and making sure the right steps were taken at each stage.
It is an example of building very detailed company step-by-guides that match perfectly with the steps taken by other stakeholders.
Case 3: Marketing communication optimization at Interactie-academie
The educational institute "Interactie-academie" (specialized in systems thinking within counseling and other organisational settings) asked me to develop a step-by-step guide that would improve their current marketing communication approach. After my analysis, I found that one of the crucial steps was to identify the different "first contact reasons" (what are they really looking for and why may they be interested?) of the institute's potential clients. It turned out that specific job functions and/or specific problem contexts were the main drivers of interest of potential clients. Therefore the entire communication guide was built around a matrix consisting of functions one one hand and problem contexts on the other. I also advised that this matrix would be used for internal communication purposes as well (assigning project leaders around each function and problem context and looking for synergies were possible). It is an example of building a step-by-step guide around a common framework (in this case a matrix) that is easy to implement and follow up.
Case 4: Aligning buyer-seller relationships in DIY
Retail Dynamics asked me to write a White Paper on the evolution of the purchasing process in DIY. The main objective behind the White Paper is to contribute to a better alignment of buyers in retail and their suppliers (manufacturers) (http://www.diy-procurement.be/nl/node/5). Based on conceptual research , reinforced with in-depth interviews with the five purchasing/category management directors of the Big 5 players in DIY, reflections were distilled in the White Paper. The main findings and conclusions show that the procurement discipline has evolved in such a way that it highly leans to marketing. Purchasing is no longer only focused on cost, but on the creation of customer value. The paper ends with a strategic marketing model that will be used for a roundtable between suppliers and retailers (DIY) in a effort to improve relationships and better align each other's objectives. It is an example of building a framework that may improve the dialog between different players.
Case 5: Product portfolio optimization at STIMA education
Stima education is a professional marketing institute, that offers courses in various formats and at various job levels to professionals . When I started there as an advisor, the institute offered separate educational initiatives. I launched more advanced programs, besides the existing basic and expertise programs. Then I turned the entire portfolio into an expert trajectory with multiple levels, that allowed professionals to build their knowledge and skills in a context of long-life learning (see more info on www.stima-education.be to see the trajectory). It is an example of following a step-by-step guide in which current practices are integrated with new initiatives to come up with a solution that gives a much better answer to customer's actual needs. Moreover, the overall framework (guide/expert trajectory) at Stima education, allows to position and decide on new initiatives in a much more logical way.
Case 6: An entrepreneurial marketing approach for a cake decorating company
A starting entrepreneur, specialized in cake decorating (training and shop) experienced difficulties in building a commercially successful company. Although customer feedback of existing customers was very positive, there was a lack of new customers (a financial break even was not reached). After analysing the external situation (market, competitors, ..) "and " "the relevant and unique" expertise of the company, I recommended a three step approach, in which various segments were emphasized one by one. The first tier to be addressed were the professionals (bakers, etc.) being interested in cake decoration training, the second was built around events for companies and the third focused on consumers. For each of these tiers detailed steps were defined. It is an example in which the overall step-by-step guide is divided in more big steps that follow a certain logic of order, and can be approached sequentially or (partly) synchronously.
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