I recently returned from Mexico City from our Spanish based Supply Chain Forecasting & Planning Conference: Latin American Experiences, produced together with Corporate Resources Management – Mexico City and IBF – New York USA.
As the IBF continues to deliver more International programs, it is clear that many of the challenges we face in the United States are the same challenges that are being faced in other countries, including companies from Mexico. Of course, they too are dealing with a declining economy, maintaining proper inventory levels, ensuring product is available for their customers when they want it, and abiding by the rules that large retailers, including Walmart Mexico, dictate to their suppliers.
I have to say, it was a bit embarrassing that I had to keep saying to folks, “No Hablo Espanol” (I don’t speak Spanish) at the conference. However, my newly made friends at the conference were extremely forgiving, which was “mucho” appreciated. Therefore, although, the sessions were in Spanish, based on my conversations in English with attendees, here are a few takeaway’s:
- A person from the makers of Tecate Beer mentioned that they are just exploring CPFR relationships with one of their customers, but it continues to be slow to develop. However, it helps to share information and business plans when your retail customers are partially owned by your own company.
- Attendees from Coca-Cola Mexico certainly recognize the value of Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) and how it can bring significant benefits in terms of profitability, long-term visibility of the business, and competitive success. However, they can’t seem to find the magic pill to get everyone to buy-in and change their behaviors to support the process…stick to the plan? Folks, does this not sound familiar?
- Revlon Mexico leverages the demand data from Revlon USA 6 months after launch in the States. Although, different cultures have different dynamics, it provides Mexico something to go on during consensus forecasting and inventory planning discussions.
- Another, “surprise, surprise” common in the States is many companies that are trying to get their S&OP processes off the ground, continue to struggle with having the right data at the meeting. Again, no different from many companies in the States.
Furthermore, although the sample of attendees at the conference did not represent Mexico on a broader level, I was impressed with how hungry they are for knowledge to implement or improve their demand planning, forecasting, and supply chain planning processes to stay ahead of the competition. And you also have to thank their bosses/ senior management for recognizing the value of such an event. As I said in my opening speech (which was translated to Spanish) it is the best companies that continue to invest in their people in terms of professional development, training, conferences, certification, and programs that provide access to learn how others are handling the business in this never seen before, fast changing market place.
Please share your experiences, that will surely encourage others to share theirs in an effort to help us all grow! Your comments and input on the challenges you’re currently facing in demand planning, forecasting, S&OP, and supply chain management are sincerely welcome.
Institute of Business Forecasting & Planning – IBF
New York USA