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Consistently Delivered – The Importance of Category Analytics

In most retail environments, consistency isn’t a word that is used on a frequent basis.

Millions of dollars are being spent annually on gaining knowledge around Category Process ( category management ) and Best Practices and yet most businesses operate in silos. If you walked into an average retailer and asked for their Category Review presentation documents for their top 25 categories, odds are that most of them would be different. You would find inaccuracies; from small format and brand issues, all the way to inconsistencies within the process and reports being used.  Yet there are defiantly strong similarities across the majority of categories when it comes to analysis.  So why can’t we drive consistency in this process?

In order to truly understand the performance of a business, it is imperative to have the ability to analyse across categories ( category analytics ).  The only way that this can truly be achieved is to drive consistency in relation to the process and deliverables.  The easiest place to enable this approach is through the introduction of standards and templates within the review process and presentation generation.  By creating strong templates, it is possible to share information, ideas and success.

For many years, PowerPoint presentations have been the language of business.  Although a number of companies have tried to reduce their use, they are still prominent to convey messages, both internally and externally.  However, the creation of these presentations can often be labour intensive and introduce a potential minefield when looking for consistency.

This is the area where consistency can be enabled.

When conducting a full or everyday category review, the process steps are usually well defined.  Within each process step, there are one or more reports that enable that section to provide learning and insight.  If these reports are enabled and readily available on a dashboard, then they should be also leveraged in presentation templates, based on the requirements of the meeting or task.  This could apply to internal executive reporting, collaboration meetings between the Retailer and Manufacturer or any stage of the category review life cycle.

What this requires is that the presentation becomes an automated process, based on the latest, refreshed data set, and can be run at any time, on any device.  The templates also need to be interactive, so that the user can add, remove or duplicate slides on the fly.  This allows the user to tweak the message, yet stay faithful to a consistent process and also learn from colleagues.

So often, all the effort will be aimed at one or two reports that drive an answer, when it’s actually the bigger picture, the story, where the key benefit is found.  Automating this process, will introduce consistency, allow knowledge transfer between teams and also drastically improve the collaboration process with the Manufacturers.

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April 28, 2014 | Shaun | Category Management, Category Review

16 Comments

  1. GV Says: April 28, 2014 6:22 pm Reply

    Strategize, set your goals, gain insight, optimize, execute, evaluate….and tweak your strategy again. Category Management is a fluid process and requires consistency in approach across an organization.

  2. Stephen Yoon Says: April 29, 2014 2:22 pm Reply

    Consistency is rare and difficult as the number of ways to slice and analysis the consumer data is numerous. However, establishing a gold standard not only ensures consistency but helps promote a greater understanding of what is happening on the consumer packaged goods industry.

  3. JC Says: April 29, 2014 5:18 pm Reply

    Following a proven process for Category Reviews just makes sense. Adjustements will always need to made, but the correct process will have the architecture to support it.

  4. Tammie Says: April 29, 2014 6:24 pm Reply

    Consistency is key however keeping a process fluid enough to allow for change will gelp a category manager to make good, solid decisions.

  5. marenos Says: April 30, 2014 2:28 pm Reply

    To me, “One Source of the Truth” is paramount for both CPG Manufacturer and Retailer. A robust Category Management Process combined with this kind of technology is the largest opportunity for collaboration.

  6. Katherine Scorcia Says: April 30, 2014 2:40 pm Reply

    It is important that companies have a standard and pass on this information consistently employees no matter what department they work in.

  7. Monica Says: April 30, 2014 3:09 pm Reply

    Analysing various categories accross the board consistently is no doubt key to better understanding of the whole process and industry in general

  8. MC Says: April 30, 2014 3:20 pm Reply

    There is a lot to be said for consistency and uniformity, which is often overlooked in business today. One big plus to this is moving people around within your company. If your category managers are all doing the same thing, it makes it much easier to shuffle the deck when needed without worrying about losing knowledge.

  9. Joe Catella Says: April 30, 2014 6:04 pm Reply

    Using ToolBox Solutions Category Review tool is an effective way to save time, and provide consistency various departments

  10. Shaun Says: May 1, 2014 12:01 pm Reply

    Category Management processes have changed so many times over the years, it has become very hard for retailers and manufacturers to drive consistency.

    Through optimised processes and presentation automation, it is possible to create standards that will drive the business forward.

  11. Kim Says: May 1, 2014 2:25 pm Reply

    Using the built-in presentation generator in ToolBox Solutions “Advantage” platform is a great way to start a Category Review that is consistent among markets/accounts and categories.

  12. Graeme Says: May 2, 2014 1:51 pm Reply

    Consistency and the bigger picture go hand in hand in retail environments. Its the things the CEO looks at daily, even if they don’t get to see all the little gears turning.

  13. Brenda Says: May 2, 2014 8:46 pm Reply

    Using the Toolbox Advantage platform to start up Category Review which consistently looks identifying key findings in category segments and brand performance.

  14. Matt Campbell Says: May 5, 2014 3:17 pm Reply

    Having consistency in the data is often one of the largest challenges facing retailers. Toolbox Advantage can be a great tool for providing the category analytics required for consistent category reviews.

  15. David Says: May 23, 2014 3:42 pm Reply

    Automation is the name of the game, taking human error out of the equation increases confidence and allows for consistent and repeatable category reviews.

  16. Jason Says: May 29, 2014 2:48 am Reply

    A standardized category review only takes about a minute to run. This makes a previously long and painful process of collecting data very simple. People can focus on finding answers instead of assembling data.