So… you want to break into a market as a new entrant that already has established players?  While this is not an easy task, the opportunity to shake up an established category is one that can create great returns for delivering innovation to a stale, overlooked category.  Some great examples of category disruptors are Dollar Shave Club and Dyson vacuums.  These two companies delivered innovation in old categories, which differentiated them and their products.  

Dollar Shave Club created a unique, customer oriented approach to deliver an increased service level and quality shaving products.  Dyson has built the coolest vacuum cleaners in the world but has reached their market through quality product delivered on-time.  

In order to make this successful, the business must build out a detailed understanding of the target market.  

    • Identify the market size and growth potential

      • Understand the customer set and their needs and pain points

      • Understand the supplier set and their goals and differentiators

      • Create hypothesis of unmet or underserved needs in the market

    • Entrenched supplier base that lacks motivation to innovate

    • Eroded service expectations

    • Research and understand category barriers

      • Market concentration or Established brand equity 

      • Government Regulation

      • Proprietary technology required

These questions are the starting point to build the business case whether or not to enter a new market.  Establishing a new market or category is another path to pursue, but as this is a completely different option, we’ll leave this for another blog.  

We’ll focus on how manufacturing and service, measured as on-time in full, can be the differentiator for entering a new market.  On-time in full (OTIF) is an important, direct measure of a business’ operational performance.  This metric expresses whether or not the company can ship what’s required to the customer by the agreed receipt date and including all the requested quantity.  

With all the recent supply chain disruptions of the past few years, OTIF is a key differentiator and driving force behind the current reshoring trend.  OTIF is a key performance indicator that deserves to be highlighted and is one that differentiates businesses in a crowded, established field of suppliers.  

As a business that excels at execution and delivering at a high OTIF, then you should be positioning yourself to broadcast this differentiator to reach and gain more customers.  However, there’s not a meaningful way to validate operational excellence.  Typically, most businesses point to their longevity or market share as proof of their capabilities. When it comes to adding incremental business, this is not always a great indicator that the company can absorb the new business without suffering service level degradation or increasing lead times. 

To signal operational excellence, the Credential Program exists to distinguish businesses that excel at operational excellence and can scale quickly to meet demand while maintaining quality and service levels.  These businesses put in a lot of work to deliver for customers and deserve to stand out in the crowd. 

To tackle the next market, make sure your business has the mark for operational excellence to distinguish itself from the competition.  Likewise, the credential is a great place to find like-minded partners to make it happen when taking on the competition. 


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Pete Conrad

Written by Pete Conrad