Business & Competition: How to Beat your Competition at Their Own Game

Giant chain stores with tremendous purchasing power are creating new business realities for smaller companies and Mom and Pop stores by selling products below cost. This forces some of their competitors who cannot compete to go out of business, while others have to change their business model completely to survive. Many of these companies that use creative thinking and change their business models are able to stand up against these Giants and beat them at their own game.

One of my consulting clients, a Distributor who has been in business since the turn of the Century had to face the new business reality of tough competition from a giant chain store who opened new stores in his “back yard.” Realizing they needed to change the business model to meet today’s business challenges, management decided they needed to mainstream their operations, lower operating costs, and implement a “just in time inventory” system at all of their branches in order to stay competitive.

Not having “real time” information between the branches and the headquarters was the first obstacle management had to overcome in order to achieve their goal of “just in time inventory.” The first challenge the Distributor faced was finding the right software house that would not only provide the right software solution, but would also be a partner that would help meet the company’s current and future expansion plans. The second challenge was converting the branches’ data to the headquarters host computer.

Meeting the “just in time inventory” challenge at all branches and providing better customer service:

Changing from departmental computer systems to a centralized computer system was the first step to achieving the “just in time inventory” goal at all branches. Having “real time inventory” status at all locations enabled headquarters to achieve rapid response to low-level inventory, and helped avoid over stocking. The Branches, having the ability to view other branches inventory in “real time mode,” were able to ship products directly from other locations when needed. Achieving the “just in time inventory” goal helped the distributor lower operating costs, sell at competitive prices, and provide better customer service.

The next step after mainstreaming operations was to implement Web Commerce strategy that would allow the distributor to show the product catalog, track buying trends, and update the headquarters computer with the new Web orders in “real time mode.” Starting a new nightshift gave the Distributor’s clients, many of whom were contactors, the ability to stop at the branch early in the morning on the way to the jobsite, pick up their Web orders from the night before, while their car engines were running, and drive away within minutes.

Beating the Giant by becoming a “one stop shopping center” with competitive pricing:

Although, mainstreaming their operations and enabling an e-commerce strategy improved the distributor’s dwindling business, they were still treading water. The giant chain store in the distributor’s “backdoor” began to sell some of the same accessories my client sold, but below their cost. By selling the accessories below the Distributor’s cost, the giant chain store hoping their clients would buy other, more profitable products the Distributor also sold while visiting their stores.

Facing the giant chain store’s challenge, the Distributor’s management team decided to match the giant chain stores prices for the accessories they were selling, provide their customers with better service, and retain their loyalty. Beating Giant Chain Stores “at its own game,” turned the Distributor into “One Stop Shopping Center” where their clients could purchase everything they needed at very competitive prices and get even better customer service.

Final Thoughts On Beating The Competition

Giant chain stores that are creating part of today’s challenging business environment can only be beaten with creative thinking. Implementing new ideas helped the Distributor not only meet the “Giant’s challenge,” but came in ahead of the game by increasing their number of Nationwide Branches by 35% using “just in time inventory” and matching their competitor’s lower price on accessories.

Dan Kaplan

7 thoughts on “Business & Competition: How to Beat your Competition at Their Own Game
  1. An accurate description of American Politics?Finally got to Washington in the middle of the night
    I couldn’t wait
    I headed straight for the Capitol Mall
    My heart began to pound
    Yahoo! It really exists
    The American International Pictures logo

    I looked up at that Capitol Building
    Couldn’t help but wonder why
    I felt like saying "Hello, old friend"

    Walked up the hill to touch it
    Then I unzipped my pants
    And pissed on it when nobody was looking

    Like a great eternal Klansman
    With his two flashing red eyes
    Turn around he’s always watching
    The Washington monument pricks the sky
    With flags like pubic hair ringed ’round the bottom

    The symbols of our heritage
    Lit up proudly in the night
    Somehow fits to see the homeless people
    Passed out on the lawn

    So this is where it happens
    The power games and bribes
    All lobbying for a piece of ass

    Of the stars and stripes of corruption
    Makes me feel so ashamed
    To be an American
    When we’re too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
    Trying to start another Viet Nam
    Whilke fiddling while Rome burns at home
    The Boss says, "You’re laid off. Blame the Japanese"
    "America’s back," alright
    At the game it plays the worst
    Strip mining the world like a slave plantation

    No wonder others hate us
    And the Hitlers we handpick
    To bleed their people dry
    For our evil empire

    The drug we’re fed
    To make us like it
    Is God and country with a band

    People we know who should know better
    Howl, "America riles. Let’s go to war!"
    Business scams are what’s worth dying for

    Are the Soviets our worst enemy?
    We’re destroying ourselves instead
    Who cares about our civil rights
    As long as I get paid?

    The blind Me-Generation
    Doesn’t care if life’s a lie

    so easily used, so proud to enforce

    The stars and stripes of corruption
    Let’s bring it all down!
    Tell me who’s the real patriots
    The Archie Bunker slobs waving flags?
    Or the people with the guts to work
    For some real change
    Rednecks and bombs don’t make us strong
    We loot the world, yet we can’t even feed ourselves
    Our real test of strength is caring
    Not the toys of war we sell the world
    Just carry on, thankful to be farmed like worms
    Old glory for a blanket
    As you suck on your thumbs

    Real freedom scares you
    ‘Cos it means responsibility

    So you chicken out and threaten me

    Saying, "Love it or leave it"
    I’ll get beat up if I criticize it
    You say you’ll fight to the death
    To save your worthless flag

    If you want a banana republic that bad
    Why don’t you go move to one
    But what can just one of us do?
    Against all that money and power
    Trying to crush us into roaches?

    We don’t destroy society in a day
    Until we change ourselves first
    From the inside out

    We can start by not lying so much
    And treating other people like dirt
    It’s easy not to base our lives
    On how much we can scam

    And you know
    It feels good to lift that monkey off our backs

    I’m thankful I live in a place
    Where I can say the things I do
    Without being taken out and shot
    So I’m on guard against the goons
    Trying to take my rights away
    We’ve got to rise above the need for cops and laws

    Let kids learn communication
    Instead of schools pushing competition
    How about more art and theater instead of sports?

    People will always do drugs
    Let’s legalize them
    Crime drops when the mob can’t price them
    Budget’s in the red?
    Let’s tax religion

    No one will do it for us
    We’ll just have to fix ourselves
    Honesty ain’t all that hard
    Just put Rambo back inside your pants
    Causing trouble for the system is much more fun

    Thank you for the toilet paper
    But your flag is meaningless to me
    Look around, we’re all people
    Who needs countries anyway?

    Our land, I love it too
    I think I love it more than you
    I care enough to fight

    The stars and stripes of corruption
    Let’s bring it all down!
    If we don’t try
    If we just lie
    If we can’t find
    A way to do it better than this
    Who will?

    This song was written in 1986. Unfortunately, I feel it is still an accurate summary of American politics. Do you agree with me? Or do you disagree, and if so why?

    The song is called ‘Stars and Stripes of Corruption’ and is by a band called the Dead Kennedys. It’s on the album Frankenchrist. They are an American band, by the way.

  2. It certainly covers all bases.
    Simply put though, I feel American politics is
    One side collects money for the wealthy, the other for the poor.References :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>