To Become Agile in Private Brands, First Break the Iron Triangle

Private brands need to be agile. It is no longer commercially viable for new product development to take forty or fifty weeks. There is the need to be more responsive to competition, customer demand and customer trends. We have seen this more than ever with Covid-19 driving changes in both purchasing behaviour but also in consumption. Food-on-the-go has reduced with lockdown, replaced with an increase in scratch or kit cooking at home. Breakfast has become more common as a main family meal with school and commutes impacted.

But the “iron triangle” model tells us that you cannot go faster without compromising cost or quality (or both). If you’ve ever pulled out all the stops to get a project done quicker, you’ll know this. The “iron triangle” cannot be broken. It’s the same if you try and cut the cost – time or quality will suffer.


But there is a way to break the triangle. Do things differently. Adopt new processes and supporting tools. And the great opportunity in private brands is to work more collaboratively as ‘one team’ with your private brands suppliers.

If you’re ready to start the journey, help is at hand. The partnership of S4RB and Oracle has helped numerous retailers around the world “break the triangle” and improve the performance of their private brand programs.

S4RB provides the collaborative tools specific for retail private brands with the S4RB AffintyTM Platform that provides private brand teams and private brand suppliers ‘one view’ of the supplier and product performance, such as customer feedback, complaints and returns. Which provides the key performance indicators and tools to work as ‘one team’ to drive private brand success.

Oracle Retail Brand Compliance (ORBC) provides the collaborative tools for private brand product development and product management to manage accuracy, provenance, traceability and risk; to protect the brand. But more importantly to leverage collaboration to increase speed to market and deliver the agility increasingly required by retailers to develop competitive private brands.

“As own brands move from a ‘buying mentality’ of National Brand Equivalent (NBE) products to deliver winning own brand products, retailers need to effect a change in mindset both internally and within the supplier-base. And given the scale of successful own brands – thousands of products, from hundreds of suppliers – this requires the right collaborative tools. ORBC provides both project management and specification management tools that allow this to be done collaboratively, at scale” explains Doug Macdonald, Business Development Manager, Retail Brand Compliance (Oracle).

“This helps ‘break the triangle’” explained James Butcher, CEO (S4RB) “because, rather than traditional document management solutions, private brand team and their suppliers can both access, feedback and amend the specifications in a solution designed specifically for the requirements of private brand retail”.

Here more from Doug Macdonald and James Butcher at this years Velocity Global conference, hosted by My Private Brand. 

James Butcher

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