With each new step along their journey in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space, brands get deeper and deeper into the weeds of working with retailers, growing their business, bringing products to market that consumers want and need, and more. As they grow, the day-to-day operations of the company can get more complicated. Without the right tools, suppliers can often get tangled in aspects of their business that pull them away from areas that need their attention more.
Enter business intelligence.
These software-as-service tools can help CPG suppliers streamline business operation workflows in myriad aspects of the daily job, helping your finance and sales and marketing teams run like clockwork. Let’s take a deeper look at seven areas where business intelligence can help suppliers work smarter, not harder.
- Accounts payable. As a supplier working with multiple other companies, you have to be on top of who gets paid and when. Automating your invoicing system can help with that, meaning you can more efficiently generate and process invoices and payments to business partners and keep those relationships running smoothly.
- Demand planning. An element of demand forecasting, demand planning takes a look at a brand’s supply chain, checks it against what’s going on in the world, and then compares it to how consumer demand flows. Ideally, suppliers will balance having enough supply to give consumers what they want without having too much of a surplus. Not properly planning can mean lost business for a brand (if you don’t have enough) or having to spend time and money storing products that aren’t needed (if you have a surplus).
- Order management. You have a product. Retailers want it. So how are you managing the process of receiving the request and fulfilling it? Smart brands use order management software, which allows them to streamline their inbound wholesale orders, and ensure that all actions involved in getting products from warehouse to shelf are completed on time and as ordered.
- Promotion management. In almost all aspects of business intelligence, analytics are key to keeping operations running and business growing. This is particularly true when it comes to promotion management. Engaging with promotion management tools gives suppliers the insight to see where promotions are needed and how they can optimize those promotions to meet specific SKUs’ sales goals.
- Retail data visualization. If a supplier can’t see all of the data it generates and the accompanying picture it creates for the business, then they’re missing out on a ton of opportunity. From tracking sales performance to formulating sales strategies to creating pitches for buyers, engaging with the data can help suppliers better tailor pitches to buyers, and ultimately make a successful story from start to finish.
- Sales and operations planning. Suppliers need to ensure that processes are integrated throughout their company, and using tools to aid in sales and operations planning can do just that. By leveraging these tools, processes of getting product to shelf are transparent to all stakeholders and can help avoid strategies going off the rails or bottlenecking, and creating a disruption in service.
- Store locator. If consumers can’t find a supplier’s products, how can they buy it? The short answer is, they can’t. Enabling a “find a store” solution within a supplier’s website helps drive consumer sales by pointing consumers to your product. It also does double duty by generating data based on region, state, zip code, and more that can help teams understand where the consumers want their product.
Suppliers don’t have to do it all, and they don’t have to do it alone. Employing business intelligence services can help foster better business relations and streamline the operations that keep your business running smoothly, day in and day out.
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