The power of data. Wake up and smell the coffee …

Posted 03/09/2018 | Tanya Pepin, Director

Co-Founder and Director of TWC, Tanya Pepin talks about the power of data and the need to wake up and smell the coffee.

In the words of Phil McKinney; “When it comes to innovation, an ounce of execution is worth more than a ton of theory”.

And, if we consider how suppliers can accelerate profitable sales growth, we should ask ourselves, has the industry truly ‘woken up’ to the power of what data insight can do when it comes to strategic planning for sales growth, maximising points of distribution and optimising every promotion through Wholesale, Retail Convenience or Foodservice?

Is successful data management about new discoveries or is it more about engineering practical uses for those new discoveries? Certainly for every £ that a business spends on its data management, it can expect to see a return of many times its initial investment back, straight to the bottom line.

Maybe it is time for the industry to reinvent and re-engineer itself when it comes to looking at how it approaches the whole question of collection and management of data, in what is an increasingly sophisticated marketplace.

There is one inherent challenge that the industry faces which is critical to future success – whether a supplier, a wholesaler, or a retailer. And that is overcoming vested interest to enable visibility and transparency across every channel, and every facet of supply. The current status quo is that because all independent retailers buy from multiple wholesalers, you cannot actually calculate distribution even though all wholesalers now sell data.

The distribution calculation is distorted because a wholesaler might, for example, report via its data that Kit Kat 4 Finger has 65% distribution – i.e. the number of confectionery customers buying Kit Kat whereas in reality, Nestle Rowntree knows that it has Kit Kat 4 Finger in every store. What this means is that 35% of the wholesaler’s confectionery customers are buying Kit Kat from elsewhere – but where?

Imagine a world where your sales team has a data set that contains a single version of EVERY retailer. From this, they can then calculate your true distribution. They can identify retailers who are selling bucketloads of product – i.e. big successful, high volume retailers but who may have category or product gaps. They could truly demonstrate the size of independent retail and highlight the scale of it as a route to market and evidence accurate numbers…

There is no wealth like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance…..

Of course, collating data that shows a single version of every retailer would prove very difficult. Understandably, vested interest comes into play as every wholesaler wants to retain control of access to their retailers.

The big question is – can wholesalers look beyond vested interest to appreciate that the ‘whole is bigger than the sum of its parts’ and by doing so, put in place a chain reaction that enables and empowers the industry as a whole to see deeper and wider for collaborative benefit to all.

We are at the cusp of a much bigger journey in how data is seen and used but there is no doubt that with the willingness and collaboration of stakeholders, we can work towards a common goal that for suppliers, retailers and wholesalers giving visibility on a scale previously unseen allowing them to understand the market in ways that they could only have dreamed about historically.

“The good news is; that we are seeing a culture shift with suppliers and wholesalers recognising the transformative advantages that smart data can provide. And in an era where the numbers of ‘feet on the street’ are shrinking and giving way to smart-technology and mobile apps, suppliers cannot afford to be left behind. Exploiting opportunities quickly and decisively is becoming a requisite to gaining commercial advantage.

Whether we like it or not, information technology is at the core of how we all do business today, and how we approach data in the future will enable us to share, learn, and grow…..

Ok, lets get together…

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