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Be Your Best Faster – Part 2

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 the speed.

One of the goals of any implementation should be to save massive amounts of time in core planning processes. While saving time costs less, it really allows a solution to get to an opportunity before the opportunity disappears. Joint business planning has historically been a labor-intensive and relatively slow annual process between retailers and suppliers.

As retailers continue to speed up their decision-making processes, manufacturers must speed up in kind. The recent IRG study cited another critical capability of overperforming companies: the ability to be “anticipative.”

“Being your best faster” — or being able to mount a quick and organized response — requires best-in-class technology that can:

  1. Rapid testing: An abundant view of market growth may drive solutions that are markedly different from the ones that exist today. Those solutions may require more robust proof than a simple planogram revision, for instance, so the ability to road test these new strategies is an integral part of being your best faster. Tools like Rapid Shelf Validation (Kantar’s process using virtual reality and efficient research protocols) help prove the effectiveness of new shelving solutions in a matter of weeks.
  2. Rapid iteration: One of the major applications of automated learning techniques like AI and machine learning will be in using data to adapt strategies on an ongoing basis.

Rapid decisions: Trade management will need to accelerate decision-making. An omnichannel pricing and promotion environment will require more real-time adaptation of centrally developed plans as marketplace conditions evolve. A trade promotion system will need to live in the business, not in a central planning/finance hub, and field teams will need to be well-trained in how to use the system to iterate and refine their promotional strategies as circumstances shift. Predictive modeling will work hand in hand with that training to enable best-in-class responses to market performance.

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