Understanding the Dynamics of the Value Chain

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Access maps and analysis across supply chains from supplier to end customer across the entire universe of trade, retail and institutional channels. Build a clear picture of all channel metrics that include sales, concentration, mark-ups and other operational metrics to adapt distribution strategy and priorities. Understand who are your buyers, what, where, how and why and develop recommended approaches to improve existing channel performance. Map and understand the supply chain to develop partnerships and winning strategies with best-in-class channel partners.

Assess capabilities and local knowledge of distributors and retailers to screen for best partners. Consumer and retailer perceptions of manufacturer and brand value propositions. Profiles of leading retailers: needs and wants regarding suppliers and products, potential revenues, portfolio match.

1.3. The Framework

Evaluation of how your product or service compare to your competitors. Identification of accounts that are at risk or unlikely to renew. We support the evaluation of new initiatives and commercial due diligence with insights from trade interviews across the supply chain. Below, we cite observable instances of Trader Joe's' business that reflect the five primary activities of the value chain. Inbound logistics : Unlike traditional supermarkets, Trader Joe's does all of its receiving, shelving, and inventory-taking during regular store hours. Although potentially maddening for shoppers, this system creates a ton of cost savings in terms of employee wages alone.

Moreover, the logistics of having this work take place while customers are still shopping sends the strategic message that "we're all in this together. In primary activity number two above, "converting raw materials into finished product" is cited as an "operations" activity.

However, because converting raw materials is not an aspect of the supermarket industry, we can use operations to mean any other regular grocery store function. So, let's substitute "product development," as that operation is critical for Trader Joe's.

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The company selects its products carefully, featuring items that you generally can't find elsewhere. Its private-label products account for at least 70 percent of its offerings, which often have the highest profit margins , too, as Trader Joe's can source them efficiently in volume. Another vital piece of product development for Trader Joe's' is its taste-testing and chef-partnership programs, which ensure high quality and continuous product refinement.

Outbound logistics : Many supermarkets offer home delivery, but Trader Joe's does not.

How Supply Chain Dynamics can help

Yet here, we can apply the activity of outbound logistics to mean the range of amenities that shoppers encounter once they are inside a Trader Joe's store. The company has thought carefully about the kind of experience it wants us to have when we visit its stores. Among Trader Joe's' many tactical logistics are its in-store tastings. Usually, there are a few product tastings happening simultaneously, which create a lively atmosphere, and often coincide with the seasons and holidays. The tasting stations feature both new and familiar items that are prepared and served by staff.

Marketing and sales : Compared to its competitors, Trader Joe's barely does any traditional marketing.

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However, its entire in-store experience is a form of marketing. The company's copywriters craft product labels to appeal specifically to its customer base. Trader Joe's' unique branding and innovative culture indicate that the company knows its customers well—which it should, as the firm has actually chosen the type of customers it prefers and has not deviated from that model. Via this indirect marketing of style and image, Trader Joe's has succeeded in differentiating itself in the marketplace, thus sharpening its competitive edge.

Generally, you see twice as many employees as shoppers in its stores. Whatever work they are doing at the moment, the friendly, knowledgeable, and articulate staff are there primarily for you.

Employees welcome shoppers' interruptions and will instantly rush to find your item or answer your question. In addition, the company has always employed a no-questions-asked refund program.


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You don't like it, you get your money back—period. This list could go on and on before ever reaching the four support activities, as Trader Joe's is a wildly successful example of applying value-chain theory to its business. Business Essentials.

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Comprehensive Guide to Value Chain Analysis with Examples by Industry

Login Newsletters. Business Business Essentials. What Is a Value Chain? Components of a Value Chain. Inbound logistics : Functions like receiving, warehousing, and managing inventory.

Operations : Procedures for converting raw materials into finished product.