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Transform Your Best – Part 5

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.

In our final series, we look at the goal of major technological change – to drive both incremental improvements and commercial transformation. The incremental improvements are critical. They are often the easiest way to justify the people and time investment required to bring the technological transformation to life. Everyone is happier participating in the hard work of retooling if that retooling brings relatively fast and broadly distributed improvements in commercial results. These quick, easy wins are often by nature incremental. The key to generating a long-term return on the time and money invested in systemic change is to drive transformation. Over time, we expect the transformation in the analytic ecosystem to be profound as AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics automate core work and define growth opportunities in new and exciting ways.

But today, transformation is one of the five most overused words in business. No sensible person doubts its importance, but many intelligent professionals, if pressed, struggle to define what it means for their businesses. In our case, as the core commercial processes we are discussing are reinvented, we see five indicators/benefits of this type of transformation:

  1. Seeing growth opportunities more easily: If your best is made better, you will have built tools, capabilities, and processes that diagnose and define more growth opportunities more quickly. This involves a strong link between outward- looking insights and internal commercial processes. Category reviews, annual promotional plans, and opportunity assessment meetings should all have external, usable insights piped in to enable fresh looks at growth opportunities. These insights will have their strongest commercial impact in driving the top line, but they will also help the bottom line by avoiding wasting resources on finding growth where it has not been found, which is often paid for by aggressive and nonstrategic promotional commitments.
  2. Develop growth strategies more quickly: Tools that can help design assortments, shelves, and events more quickly and test them more efficiently and effectively will lead to stronger top-line growth as opportunities that would have been missed are converted.
  3. Breaking down siloes and lag times: The cost of reworking plans and ideas across multiple groups with multiple agendas needs to come down dramatically. Integrated processes that tie different commercial activities into a shared platform will transform not just what gets done, but how.
  4. Increasing the number of executions and plans that drive positive results: No one will ever succeed 100% of the time, but the ability to both manage and optimize promotional activity throughout the organization in closer to real-time will change the mindset around promotions to make them more strategic. Also, the ability to test more ideas at a lower cost not only makes testing cheaper but also allows more ideas to be tested. These tests build up a knowledge base that, if properly applied, will dramatically improve the success rate of new initiatives.
  5. Transforming the company through people: For all the talk about technology and analytics, the most obvious signs of organizational transformation will be deeply human. Properly deployed, new tools should make people more energized, more collaborative, and more aggressively seeking commercial improvement. But this is not a necessary outcome. Successful transformation involves changing tools, skills, process, measures, and culture simultaneously, with equal energy dedicated to each spoke of that wheel

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