Sales Plan Verification Assessment


A few months back, SEI decided to check compliance on one more part of our store operations and named it “Sales Plan Verification Assessment.” As you are all aware, the Merchandising Department—with the cooperation of other SEI departments—puts in place the sales plan for a particular month to be rolled out in all of our stores. This plan may vary region to region, and no doubt it requires a lot of hard work in advance to put all the different aspects of this plan in place so it rolls out smoothly. The sales plan consists of different types of promotions, new POP, new item roll outs for that particular month, new schematics, display instructions—all the necessary tools, and lot of other stuff to make sure we follow the instructions.

Business consultants now have the advantage of being connected to franchisees via text messaging and e-mail, so they are able to send all the information to us on a daily basis to make sure we order the new items well in time to comply with the sales plan. Lately, there has also been a lot of pressure to order more shippers, the reason being soft sales. Lots of e-mails and text messages on a daily basis from business consultants to keep us in compliance on all kinds of stuff, and that is a good thing to communicate more efficiently.

All these efforts are being made to ensure the successful deployment of the sales plan. Now SEI has developed a form for the business consultants to use on the very first day of the sales plan launch to verify that all stores comply 100 percent. There are a lot of columns in that form to check that everything from storefront banners and window signs to new shelf talkers and the new items are in place. In my area, business consultants and market managers visit the stores together to check the readiness of the store from the franchisee’s side.

Somehow, however, every month there is a lot of stuff that is not ready from SEI’s side, most of which are merchandising and IT problems that prevent the successful implementation of the sales plan on the first day. Here is a list of some of the things that went wrong with the September sales plan, taken from an e-mail sent to franchisees by a corporate staff member:
• Stores did not receive an adequate number of large POP holders to merchandise the kit.
• The new POP holder hangs lower on the shelf that can cause vault/merchandise issues on tight shelves.
• A number of stores had issues with all Promo Master offers not ringing.
• Starbucks 2/$4 offer missing 3 of the 15oz double shot can SKUs.
• New Dipping Sticks for Sanden case scan $1.59 but POP says $1.69 and 2/$3. Some stores did not receive POP.
• Pure Life/Lipton Naturals 2/$2.22—not all items scanning in offer.
• PMU Phone Handset fixtures—a number of stores have not received the fixture yet.

The list goes on. Although SEI offered solutions and fixed these problems quickly, I find it unsettling that our franchisor deems it appropriate to put pressure on franchisees to successfully launch a sales plan when all the wrinkles have not been ironed out at its end. Most of us follow the strict compliance check, order accordingly, and try our best to make the sales plan successful. Maybe SEI should ease off of this compliance check until it can deliver a trouble-free sales plan.