Posted August 26, 2016

Distributors and manufacturers dissatisfied with joint planning

Recent research conducted by Channel Marketing Group and Verde Associates revealed that distributors and manufacturers are dissatisfied with their current joint business planning process.

The purpose of this survey was to understand the extent of discontent about the process, as well as identify improvement opportunities to make it more efficient and effective in the future.

The results show that 82% of manufacturers and 50% of distributors surveyed said that they are either dissatisfied or somewhat satisfied with the current process.

The main reasons cited were lack of focus, poor follow-through on the local level and inconsistent measurement and accountability for results. In fact, all surveyed manufacturers and three quarters of distributors would consider changing JBP for the 2017 planning cycle.

Main improvement opportunities exist in the following areas:

  • Topics covered by JBP
  • Quality and granularity of market research used to generate insights
  • Value received from the process
  • JPB effectiveness

The majority of respondents reported that joint meetings mainly focus on goals for the next 12 months; however, a third of manufacturer respondents reported that a two-year horizon is also discussed during these meetings. Strategic topics most often included during the JBP meetings are: alignment between manufacturers and distributors, new product offerings/product diversification and setting long-term market share goals. Additional topics that survey participants would like to see discussed during meetings include more extensive discussion of profitability, growth strategies (including investment/cost cutting plans and vertical market development) and value added services.

Over half of manufacturers and 100% of distributors said that they are either Dissatisfied or somewhat satisfied with the quality and granularity of market research that is used to drive growth plans. Insights from aggregated Point of Sale (POS) were most often included in discussion. Neither manufacturers nor distributors are leveraging any data provided by the Bureau of Census. Some companies admitted to using no market data at all to develop plans with their manufacturing or distributor partners.

The three top areas that drive the most value in the JBP process varied slightly for manufacturers and distributors. Both manufacturers and distributors included sales/share goals and strategic objectives alignment in their value adds. But, although customer issues were important to both groups, for manufacturers, customer training/events drove the most value, whereas distributors pointed to customer strategies as being in the top three.

There are also improvement opportunities in the effectiveness of the planning process. Half of distributors and 70% of manufacturers said that the process is only somewhat effective. The main reasons that drove this rating included lack of follow-through, inconsistencies between markets and effective tools to keep all parties accountable for achieving agreed-upon results.

To learn more about the research findings and how Channel Marketing Group can help improve your joint planning process, contact David Gordon at