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Evaluate supply chain management operational best practices.
You are a newly hired Junior Analyst at Mitchell Consulting, a firm that specializes in providing managerial expertise in supply chain management. You are assigned as a support role to a senior consultant. Your role does not allow you to make selections for clients, but you will be evaluated for future promotion based upon your work in the analyst role. You are assigned to new a client, ECG, a distributor of specialty cleaning solutions. Your manager, Senior Analyst Andrea Sims, has directed you to work on this case and provide analysis and options to resolve the problems.
ECG is a new client who has contacted Mitchell Consulting to assess and make recommendations to resolve the current trend of reduction in their revenues. ECG is a distributor of specialty cleaning solutions aimed at pet stain and scent removal. Edward Gilbert founded the company in 1972. Animal cleanup supplies represent 75% of their annual revenues. Forty-one year old Edward was a veterinarian and also had small pet store. He developed and patented a line of biodegradable cleaners to clean pet dander and bio-contaminants. His successful Los Angeles area delivery service has grown to over 100 employees. The company mission is to “Provide a happy healthy space for people and pets to share and grow together.”
Pet stores, vet clinics, and pet owners preferred the cleaning solution to sanitize to a standard tolerable to humans with pet allergies without threatening the wellbeing of the animals. Edward’s daughter Kara Gilbert is now the president of the firm, while Edward acts as a consultant and enjoys engaging with employees and customers.
ECG is losing revenue to new competition in the metropolitan area of over 6 million people. ECG has the best product, but still delivers weekly with their fleet of 15 service vehicles. The service representatives deliver the product to the facilities and offer on-site training on use of the products. The products are also available for retail sale to pet owners at these establishments. The wholesale competition offers a lower cost, albeit inferior product and ships directly to the businesses via external transportation services such as USPS and FedEx. Competitor products have resulted in some consumer complaints that they have been making pets ill as reported on customer Internet blogs. ECG’s customer feedback has included an appreciation for the pet-friendly products, but a strong desire for convenience of online ordering, and a decrease in lengthy lead times with only weekly service calls to retailers, as well as concerns of noise and smell of the older fleet of large diesel powered delivery trucks delivering to boutique pet stores in affluent neighborhoods.
Kara Gilbert has contacted Mitchell Consulting to assist with changes required to remain competitive, but her father Edward is insistent that they should continue with current distribution practices.
In a business memo to ECG President Kara Gilbert and her executive team including Edward, present your analysis and recommendations of the following:
Analyze the current situation at ECG that contributes to losing market share.
Describe best practices that companies currently employ in the distribution wholesale industry.
Propose opportunities to collaborate internally and externally to gain competitive advantage.
Provide best practices to be initiated at ECG to sustain current and increase future revenues.