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Be Your Best Easier – Part 3

In this new 5-part series, we look at the role some of the foundational commercial processes that manufacturers and brands use to manage relationships with their most important retail customers, and how these are helping businesses to be their best.

Today we look at creating frictionless experiences for consumers. The idea is also a good way to describe the internal state best-in-class technology should create for employees and organizations to allow them to “be their best easier”:

  1. Frictionless planning: This is the ability to connect the stages of the planning process seamlessly and eliminate “over the wall,” siloed planning. In traditional business planning, each organizational silo is responsible for its own data, tools, templates, and assumptions. This process wastes time, money, and, most importantly, energy. An organization’s people have a finite amount of energy to dedicate to work, and the work environment itself governs how much energy is available. Nothing drags a team down more than pointless internal strife over whose numbers are right, whose template to use, which time horizon to set the forecast to, and whose assumptions govern the models. At Kantar, our Perfect Category solution is designed to solve this internal “energy crisis” and also save time and money.
  2. Frictionless trading: The days are gone when a trade promotion management/ optimization system was too clunky to be useful and when it was someone’s job to “put the work we figured out how to do in Excel into the system.” Nowhere is the journey from Excel to excellence more pronounced than in making optimized trade planning easier. Of course, not all of this is about the tool. Training people to use and understand the business rules that guide the tool is a critical step to frictionless.
  3. Frictionless automation: As AI and machine learning play an increasingly large role in commercial planning, the assumption is that they will simply make things easier. But implementing these new algorithms comes with a significant human component. The first step is overcoming any cynicism and distrust people may have over how the algorithm decides. Nothing disenfranchises people faster than the sense that “the system” doesn’t understand their business. The other thing AI should do is take people away from mundane analysis and provide them with insights that can help them make breakthrough, strategic, and business-building decisions, the types of decisions they are best-equipped to make.

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