Remco Removals PDF Print E-mail

T
he boardroom fell silent as Alan Dunsmore rose to speak. ? Good morning ladies and gentlemen? he began. ?I would like to start this meeting by welcoming each and every one of you, especially our branch managers, most of whom have travelled from all over the country to be here this morning. I would also like to extend a special welcome to Tony Dos Santos and Patrick Xaba from CRI International, the consulting firm we commissioned to conduct the marketing audit on Remco. Before I hand the meeting over to Tony and Patrick, I think it is safe to say that we all know why we are here this morning. Four months ago, I commissioned CRI to conduct a marketing audit on our organisation as a precursor to the development of a strategic marketing plan, which hopefully will help us to create our own destiny. Coincidentally, today marks my first anniversary as Remco's managing director, and as you know, I was appointed to this position with the mandate of ensuring that Remco regains not only its place as market leader in the South African removals industry, but also that it recreates the level of service excellence for which it was renowned under its late Chairman and founder, Bernie Remfry.?

? As an organisation we seem to be a bit of a strange bunch. For instance we have a marketing manager but no marketing strategy or plan. We were market leaders but lacked and still lack the kind of systems that many of our competitors, who have overtaken us, have had in place for many years. Bernie was an entrepreneur and a hands on fellow to boot. In many ways his strong personality and desire to succeed helped to make Remco the company it was before his death. With his passing we have found ourselves in a state of transition, particularly from a marketing perspective. Moving from an entrepreneurial management style to a more corporate one is not an easy task and is one that has serious ramifications for the future marketing effort of our company, hence the reason I turned to CRI for assistance. So without much further ado, I would like to hand the meeting over to Tony Dos Santos to take us through the findings of the audit.?

Tony Dos Santos rose, smiled and stood behind the lectern. Whilst Alan Dunsmore had been talking, Dos Santos had been surveying his audience, looking at their facial expressions and body language for a clue as to the attitudes of the key players in the audience. Peter Golding, the financial manager had stared at the floor, never once making eye contact with Dunsmore. Jennifer Mortimer, marketing manager looked worried. In his mind the late Bernard Remfry had not given her space to use her marketing talent. Instead she had become his gopher and had made no secret of the fact that she was looking for another job. During the audit, Dos Santos had concluded that she felt very threatened and insecure by CRI's presence, despite the fact that in his opinion she had no need to be . Brian Harvey, group administration manager had spent the last five minutes making notes in his diary whilst Andre Botha, group operations manager seemed to be following every word that Dunsmore had made. Dos Santos remembered that after Dunsmore, Botha had been the most helpful and had spent a lot of time with him helping him to understand the operations side of the business. The branch managers too had been helpful and had generated a lot of ideas as to how the business could be improved. However, Dos Santos was concerned at the almost hostile reception both he and Xaba had received from Golding and Harvey, both of whom had been with Remfry since Remco's inception, almost twenty years ago. It was quite obvious that they were missing Remfry's presence and appeared to find it very awkward to work in the new dispensation under Dunsmore , who had a reputation for being a bit of a control freak, unlike their mentor who merely looked for results. Now it was crunch time, the moment everyone had been waiting for.

? Good morning ? began Dos Santos. ? Thank you Alan for your introduction. I would like to start by thanking everyone for all the assistance extended to Patrick and myself during the audit. I know how awkward it can be having consultants poking their noses into your business. So thank you all for your co-operation. You have all been given a copy of our report so I am not going to go through it page by page. Instead, I would like to focus on the main issues and answer any questions that you may have pertaining to any aspect of the audit and/or the report itself. Before getting into the key findings, I would like to say a few words about the audit itself.?

?Essentially, in conducting this audit, we were looking to identify and hopefully realise any under-utilised marketing resources within the organisation. Having said that, however, the management team has to recognise the importance of redesigning Remco to service the needs and wants of its customers, and to do so within the framework of the new rules of engagement forced upon business organisations world-wide as a result of the development of hypercompetitive markets. Nothing in the audit has demonstrated that Remco as an organisation has been prepared to meet and play by the new rules of the game. Put simply, it is my belief that if you want to regain the number one spot in South Africa, you are going to have to practice the following. Please note that the following are broad recommendations. My colleague Patrick Xaba will put these issues as well as the key factors of the strategic marketing plan into a specific context during his presentations.?

?Firstly, you are going to have to create a high degree of satisfaction and delight for all your major stakeholders ? customers, company employees, shareholders and suppliers. To date the focus has been primarily on your shareholders, and to a lesser extent your customers. That is going to have to change. All the key stakeholders in the marketing arena need to be brought into the process.?

?Secondly, you will need to ensure that the people of the company, that is, your employees, have the relevant skills and knowledge to help the company create its own destiny. The audit uncovered an alarming lack of professionalism is areas such as sales, complaint handling, internal sales and general customer care. Technically speaking the company is good. Functions such as operations, packing and warehousing and storage are all very good. However, the efforts in this regard are let down by poor skills and knowledge in the areas I have just mentioned.?

?Thirdly, Remco will have to operate faster. You are going to have to have the structure and the systems to quickly identify and grasp new and better opportunities and to be able to quickly outmanoeuvre your competitors. Relying on having good operations and logistical flair is simply not enough.?

?Coupled with this third point is the need for Remco to create a strong degree of value innovation in order to simultaneously lock in its customers whilst locking out the competition. At the moment, marketing thinking is too linear and needs to be considered from a more value adding perspective. I need to caution you at this juncture. Up until now the company has taken the stance of trying to add value indiscriminately, and at any cost. My belief is that whatever added value you create and place in the customer's mind will only succeed if it is both innovative and meaningful to the customer.?

?My fifth point concerns the issue of finding new ways to compete, by creating new opportunities to delight customers. In some ways this is an extension of my last point. However, it points to the lack of competitive intelligence that Remco has. Too many marketing and service orientated decisions are made on gut feel, rumours and hearsay. We advocate that a more formalised and properly structured intelligence gathering system be implemented to complement this.?

?Lastly, if you want to achieve your ultimate goal of being number one and retaining that position, then Remco is going to have to search for ways to stall the actions of its competitors whilst at the same time stunning and confusing them. Put simply, Remco is going to have to become much more adept at dealing with competitors in a real and practical way. You are going to have to blend streetwise tactics with a carefully thought out and flexible strategic marketing plan that will lead you to your predetermined destiny.?

?The audit itself was divided into two parts: a marketing systems audit which looked at the various marketing systems at Remco and a marketing functions audit which examined the company's marketing functions and how they contributed towards the overall marketing effort.?

?I would firstly like to deal with the key issues emanating from the marketing systems audit.?

Dos Santos flicked the switch on the overhead projector and turned his attention to the image which now appeared on the screen and which illustrated the key issues pertaining to this part of the audit.

Remco Removals

Marketing Systems Audit : Key Issues

 

? No competitive intelligence system.

? Insufficient customer research.

? No marketing planning system.

? Little sales forecasting of a meaningful nature.

? Company lacks culture of innovation.

? Management does periodically analyse sales resources.

CRI International

Dos Santos took the audience through each of the points on his overhead before moving on to the marketing functions audit.

Remco Removals

Marketing Functions Audit : Key Issues

  • Pricing strategy has attempted to reflect a price ? quality relationship.

i.e. premium price for high quality service.

  • Little attention paid to establishing pricing objectives.
  • Insufficient sales representatives in KwaZulu ? Natal.
  • Sales representatives' productivity with few exceptions is poor.
  • No support programme for company agents.
  • Good professional advertising.
  • Gap exists between advertising promises and customer's experience of the company.
  • Advertising does not reflect geographical differences.
  • Sales function too reactive and uncompetitive.
  • Lack of sales training.
  • Poor compensation for sales representatives.

CRI International

?There is one fundamental point underlying all of this? continued Dos Santos. ?That refers to the way the company sees itself. During the interviews we had with all the key people in this organisation, it transpired that most people either see Remco as an organisation that simply moves people from one home to another, or in the commercial segment moves a company from one office to another. There were a number of people who did not give any thought to how they view the business of Remco. It is my opinion that that is a fundamental flaw in the workings of the organisation and that it has to be rectified. Once the organisation defines how it sees itself then everything else will be given the proper direction. Patrick will take you through our views on a major rethink on this matter as opposed to a simple tweaking during his presentation.

?Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes the analysis of the audit's key findings. I would now like to hand over to Patrick, who will now take you through the specifics of our recommendations.?

As Patrick Xaba began to speak Dos Santos once again surveyed his audience. Peter Golding looked very pensive. Brian Harvey was still writing notes in his diary. Andre Botha was engrossed in what Xaba was saying. Jennifer Mortimer looked more worried than ever.

 
 
Meet Paul Dorrian
Principal Consultant

Paul has over twenty years experience as a management consultant, and has directed many projects in the fields of strategy, marketing and organisational effectiveness. His expertise has assisted many of South Africa's leading companies across numerous industries and national backgrounds....
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