Yes, that’s a terrible pun for such a serious initiative. However, I was surprised to learn recently how much reality there is behind that play on words.
We were very fortunate to have Colby Beland, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CaseStack, as a guest on the Conference Call podcast. I enjoyed talking with Colby about Walmart’s On Time In Full (OTIF) initiative and wanted to know more from his perspective. He’s unlike many guests we’ve had on this topic.
For starters, Colby was there when Walmart first announced enhancements to what was the Must Arrive By Date (MABD). He and his team at CaseStack have also monitored MABD’s evolution into OTIF and the impact for suppliers. CaseStack has since been active in the supplier community to help with processes that bring suppliers up to their OTIF goals. Working so closely on the front line with suppliers for so long, Colby gave some unique insight on the reality of the new initiative.
Supplier Sentiment Has Changed
The first thing we covered is how suppliers adapted to the idea of OTIF. “When it was first announced, no one thought it was possible,” he explained. “However, now suppliers see the information available to them through Retail Link and their scorecard.
“Also, through conversations they have with their replenishment teams and buyers, I think everyone has come to the realization that OTIF is real and they need to prepare for August.”
OTIF Behind the Scenes
The goal of OTIF has always been very simple. Walmart wants to have product on the shelf for the consumer. In speaking with Colby, it’s very interesting to deep dive into the real background of the total project. He clearly laid out the the initiative beginning, strategic steps to this point, and ultimate hope.
“Walmart isn’t investing more money in their regional distribution network,” he explains. “They’ve publicly announced that for quite some time now. Walmart is investing more on the e-commerce side. So, to still offer the assortment they want in the store, they have to be able to get more product through the distribution networks.
“OTIF is a flow initiative. The whole idea is for product to arrive at the distribution center and not be warehoused. They want it to flow through. Basically, Walmart is turning its regional distribution centers into cross-dock facilities where the product will go straight from the distribution center to the store.”
Everyone Wins with OTIF
Before we ended our visit, I asked Colby what he saw as the best part of OTIF:
“The biggest benefit of OTIF goes back to On Shelf Availability (OSA),” he concluded. “The whole goal of OTIF is to improve the flow to ensure the product is on the shelf when the consumer comes to buy it.
“If Walmart and suppliers execute OTIF successfully together, then the product will be on the shelf for the consumer. That turns into sales for the supplier, sales for Walmart, and it’s a win-win for everyone.”
To hear our complete interview with Colby, check out the 8th & Walton Conference Call podcast.