Executive Update

How Well Are You Managing Your Demand Chain?

“What is the demand chain? It started with a group of similar people in a similar room,” explained Rick Kash, founder and chairman of The Cambridge Company.  “The manufacturers said they focused on consumers, retailers said they focused on shoppers, and media said they focused on readers, viewers and listeners. And someone yelled out ‘those are all three exactly the same person, viewed through three different lenses.’ What if you combined those lenses, and it became one single collaborative network, all looked at through one single lens? And thus was born the demand chain.”

This panel session, featuring J.P. Bilbrey, CEO of Hershey; Dave Peacock, CEO of Anheuser-Busch; Linda Hefner, executive vice president of Sam’s Club; Dave Calhoun, chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, The Nielsen company; and moderator Rick Kash, addressed managing the growing demand chain and shared some innovative and profitable ways their companies have succeeded in gaining growth and a competitive edge.

Dave Peacock, President, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., explained, “What the demand landscape, and view of demand has done is helped us understand our business better, understand our consumer and understand how to reach our consumer in a more effective way for our customers. What Anheuser-Busch focused on was the launch of profitable innovations. “Our launch innovation was low. We had a bad batting average if you will. This demand landscape really helped us understand what white space was and helped us manage the business with more precision. We’ve gone from nine products when I started in 1992 to 97 today.”

“Our brand promise is simplifying our members’ lives by helping them make smart choices. Because our members pay to shop at our stores, every year we ask our members to renew, so every year we give them a chance to stop and reflect on the value of Sam’s Club,” explained Hefner. “Our membership retention is currently at an all-time high, and Sam’s club is reflecting better and better delivery against that brand promise. Therefore, we see our strategic imperative as delivering on our members needs in a uniquely Sam’s Club way, and that means understanding the demand chain that our members create.”