Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, Duke University research gathered 848 financial executives in the United States and asked, “What are your organization’s top three concerns?” The number one concern of these executives was “Being able to maintain margins.”
Another study, this time from Gartner, of 482 executives asked, “What is your biggest technological challenge?” The biggest challenge identified was “Properly measuring Product and Customer profitability.”
In other words: obtaining adequate profit margins has been a difficulty and a widespread concern among companies. In this article, we will shed light on some of the factors that may be causing this problem in your organization, and how you can reverse the situation.
In fact, we realize that the margins of organizations have fallen dramatically in recent years. This is due to several factors, such as the pandemic itself, pressure from government agencies, logistics problems, competition, and even increasingly demanding customers.
It is common to find companies that do not realize that one of their products is making a loss and continue to sell it below cost out of total ignorance! And in their eagerness to serve customers, organizations are often practically forced to give significant discounts – which in many cases ends up generating a loss-making sales operation, resulting in a significant impact on the overall profit margin.
In this context, it should be noted that those customers who demand a lot of effort from the organization are deficit customers. They are those who make special orders, impose a great logistical challenge of any nature, or require significant post-sales. Now imagine what it is like to sell to such a customer!
And, making matters worse, many of these clients are treated as “key” customers, because they buy a very large volume of goods (or in the case of the services segment, transact a large volume of services), often giving the false impression that they are “profitable” when in many cases they are loss-making!
On the “shop floor” the adversities are equally great. Every process or activity done in duplication, the rework, represents huge costs that the company must bear. Defective products or layout problems and high idleness are good examples.
If we go to the back office, several factors must also be evaluated in order to maximize the company’s profit margin. Is the size of the organization adequate for the challenges of producing, selling, delivering, and after-sales? Is there a way to be more efficient? These are some important questions.
These scenarios are reinforced by a study done at Harvard. The research found that on average, 20% of customers are very profitable, approximately 70% “stall”, and 10% are loss-making. The big challenge is to understand which ones they are and what to do with this information!
The issue of controlling profit margins is urgent for companies in all sectors. A pre-pandemic survey by Exame magazine pointed out that the average net margin of organizations in the last 10 years was 2.54%.
This means that a transaction made outside of compliance, or some additional discount offered to a customer is often the difference between profit and loss for the company.
From the moment we can measure costs and results properly, we can make the best decisions. Discount policies, salespeople commissioning, process outsourcing, exporting or not, opening new divisions, etc., are just some of the possibilities when we have true information for this decision-making.
Want to find out what is causing your company’s profit margin to drop and reverse this process? Contact our experts!