Business Lessons from Mickey Mouse
Our industry is filled with businesses of all types from great distributors and suppliers to a few clueless types. It’s a crowded industry. Some build relationships and truly care about meeting their customers' needs. Others don’t look at the big picture and focus only on what they are comfortable with in their world. Many in our industry don’t do change well. It’s beneficial to be conscious of our business surroundings and react based on reality.
Price: Disney is very profitable because it has positioned its brand and business model to be that way.
Disney can sell a simple pencil eraser for $4 and no one bats an eye. Some of us have clients who will pound on us to save a few pennies. The price suppliers and distributors can charge is directly related to the perceived and real value of the products we sell.
Product Safety: Disney holds its vendors to high standards. It must protect its brand! We must also protect our client’s brand, but how many fully understand the importance of this? Product safety compliance comes with a price. There seems to be an increasing number of direct foreign factories that are very willing to sell direct to end-users as well as through our distributor network.
Buyers will risk using a factory that they have no relationship with to get a low price. Of course any additional profit or savings that could be generated may result in a huge loss should something go wrong. And things do go wrong. In addition, the product safety and general liability risk is significant. This has been talked about for years. My sense is that most don’t care, or understand their part in the supply chain. It’s just not a sexy topic.
The Happiest Place on Earth: Is Disney really the “Happiest Place on Earth”? One thing I can say is most of the “cast members”, which is how it refers to its staff, are friendly. That’s a key component of the Disney experience. Are we upbeat and actively engaged in creating a positive client experience?