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Toy Industry Value Chain

Toy Industry Value Chain

When I first entered this industry, my focus was on the fun elements of it, the lack of stiff formality, the amazing product and the glamour & gleam of big entertainment driven launches. The longer I remain part of the toy industry (sure someone will kick me out one day, but until then…!) the more success seems a matter of formula, risk management and process.

Process management. Not a very exciting topic really when there’s so much whizzy stuff to look at in our industry. However, despite the lack of glamour and shiny-ness process management is probably the most neglected business discipline in our industry, and has the potential to make the most quantifiable £ difference to so many toy companies.

Far be it from to suggest that many toy companies develop products on a whim, chuck them at the wall and see what sticks…but it’s surprising how many companies do that! It’s even more surprising how often companies roll into very expensive marketing collateral creation, or manufacturing without enough structured process. And even more importantly, it’s often shocking to see how ad-hoc management sign off processes are.

Within our industry there are some easily compartmentalised parts of our process with only so many categories of variables. For instance we would normally split by function i.e. R&D, Marketing, Sales, Sourcing, QA, Finance etc., in smaller companies some people have responsibility for several of these functions, in larger companies there are normally separate departments for each.

In scintillatingly exciting project management terms, if you look at the value chain involved with all these departments in conceiving of a toy product or range and getting finished product on and off retail shelves there are literally hundreds if not thousands of moving parts. Taking an ad hoc approach to managing this morass is not a formula for success.

You may not have ever written down all the parts of your moving jigsaw. If you haven’t you should do it now, and consider how in control you are of the overall process and the many micro parts of it.

Effective project management should include a senior management risk review & signoff process, a pitching process for potential & existing suppliers, clear process milestones i.e. concept sign offs, sales forecasting, manufacturing sign offs and more. For each area there should be a clear understanding of who is responsible for what, and what needs to be more clearly thought out/signed off further up the chain of command.

For sure you still need brilliantly persuasive sales teams and amazingly talented creatives, but above all to succeed you need to deliver via following successful formulas & managing efficiently & effectively. In the end this approach will likely be less entertaining, but significantly more lucrative.

We run a Consultancy business for toy companies. We work with major toy companies through to start ups and one person bands. For more information on how we help toy companies grow their distribution around the world:

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