By Dan Muldowney, Strategic Account Executive
One common characteristic I have found with many retailers that I have worked over the last six years is that category managers spend far too much of their valuable time on price maintenance. Strategy often takes a backseat to other priorities such as shifting costs and competition. In many instances where the category managers have pricing analysts to assist, the majority of their time is spent on price oversight and approval as well as negotiating promotional events with vendors and still not strategic.
By: Susan Boyme, Vice President of Marketing, Revionics, Inc.
As Revionics announces the release of Collaborate, our new supplier portal for retailers, it causes me to reflect on the web-based trading exchanges, marketplaces, and other “one-to-many” and “many-to-many” models I have bumped into over the past 15 years. Regardless of model, the most successful initiatives have one thing in common – the party sponsoring the initiative must be the buyer. Supplier-driven models are well intentioned, but don’t get traction.
Ideas are like tomatoes. They start out small and green, but if the circumstances are right, they grow and ripen until they bear fruit. That is definitely the case for Revionics’ idea to provide retailers with One Integrated Forecast.
The idea was born years ago. At the time retailers had multiple contradictory forecasts: one forecast was used for financial planning; another for replenishment; another for workforce management. There was a store forecast for all categories and a category forecast for all stores---but the two did not match at the enterprise level. There were forecasts at daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual levels---when rolled up these didn’t match either. None of the various forecasts provided the accuracy necessary to make good business decisions. Retailers could not accurately or consistently predict their business. If a business is not predictable, then how can it be managed?
“Another bad UPC from a vendor! Why are we still using pen and paper to manage vendor deals?” This is a real quote from a retailer I was working with last year on a promotion planning project. This retailer was depending on vendor’s hand-written information. The UPCs entered on deal sheets were frequently in error. “There must be a better way!”
Yes there is a better way and help is on the way. Revionics is on schedule to release RAPS Collaborate in April this year. This vendor collaboration portal is a common platform for retailers and their vendors to exchange information, plan deals, and execute reporting.
By: Christie Frazier-Coleman, VP Consulting, Revionics, Inc.
Frank Badillo a Senior Economist for Retail Forward in his November 6, 2009 Washington Post article stated:
“Don't expect shoppers to abandon their hard-earned lessons in frugality even if the economy starts picking up. Households remain focused on shopping for needs, and this kind of cautious shopping behavior will restrain sales improvements.”