Industry Spotlight: Manufacturer Point of Sale Analytics

We have been working with a NC-based manufacturer to more deeply analyze their point of sale (POS) data. This category leader sells through retail channels and their management team was eager to improve sales and widen their competitive advantage. The senior management team, led by their CFO, wanted to cascade key sales performance indicators to the sales, marketing and planning departments. They had established a dashboard, but it didn’t contain the detailed metrics needed to support timely and data-driven decision making, resulting in very light traffic to the internal website and little positive effect on the business.

Manually compiling point of sale data

When we began working with the manufacturer, they had to manually compile data for point of sale analysis, including justifying data from multiple sources and mashing up customer data in spreadsheets. This resulted in a small team of data “priests” who spent most of their working days dishing out nuggets of analytic gospel as requested.

Prototyping analytics to improve

We began by developing a prototype to confirm that additional insight would truly prove valuable and change the way decisions are made. After sharing the prototype with the senior management team, we got the go-ahead to build a complete POS analytic dashboard. The resulting solution:

  • Improves visibility into key point of sale metrics
  • Enables decision makers to access the most recent data by refreshing the data more frequently
  • Establishes a pattern for improved decision support that will be applied to inventory, budgeting and forecasting

In addition to the technical work of setting up the analytic solution, we gained a keen understanding of their business model and provided support for changes in business processes including:

  • Automating financial analysis that were done manually
  • Tracking movement of items being offered in promotional programs
  • Automating customer profitability analysis
  • Linking sales data directly to retail planograms
  • Generating more traffic to the internal dashboard
  • Cascading key sales performance indicators to product and channel managers and giving them P&L responsibility
  • Moving the organization toward self-service analytics, freeing up data priests to do their real, higher value jobs

Developing a culture of analytics

Now we are helping them establish a culture of analytics so that everyone can access the information they need to widen their competitive advantage.  Next, we will help them analyze their order fill rate, a key customer satisfaction and profitability metric. We’ll post details on how those engagements go soon.

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