Whilst the number of SKUs suppliers manage can vary, what should remain a constant are the basic analytical metrics used to manage these SKUs. Of course, there is a time and a place for more advanced and complex insight, but what can often be overlooked is getting the basics right.
The below metrics are those which we believe need to be monitored daily, not weekly and definitely not monthly. If you want to drive action and get real value from your insights then looking at month-end figures will do very little to contribute.
1. Sales volume
The simplest of them all, have your sales increased/decreased in comparison to yesterday or that same day last week. Why is this so important? Because it's the most obvious signal as to whether there are any changes coming to your forecasts, which will impact production and orders.2. Supplier cases shorted
This means examining what's been delivered compared to what's been ordered. If you are regularly under delivering or not fulfilling orders it will eventually lead to a breakdown of the working relationship between yourself and the retailer. Not only this but it will impact your organisations on shelf availability, which consequently negatively impacts sales.3. Depot cases shorted
If the depot is short of stock, it could be an indication that whilst you may be delivering enough stock on a total level, it may not be getting distributed to the right depots. This leaves some depots overstocked meaning excess product and therefore excess waste (especially for fresh products), and some understocked leaving shelves empty in certain regions - which again results in a loss of sales.4. Lost sales/On-shelf availability
This allows suppliers to see the financial impact of shelves not being full. This often hits harder than only seeing the sales volume decrease as its always a negative number.
To recap, not only is it important to get the basics right, it's also important to monitor these metrics daily in order to maximise product availability and identify any potential issues. This is perhaps made more complicated when suppliers realise the difficulty of existing retailer analysis systems. Or even, when they begin to think about the thousands of rows of spreadsheet data they will have to examine to attain such analysis.
All of this may sound like heaps of work, or maybe even impossible for companies with little resources, but with the right systems in place it doesn't have to be that way.
In fact, the whole process can even be automated so the supplier doesn’t have to waste time data mining, or even lift a finger at all. Below is an example of the daily KPI email all suppliers receive as standard when using SKUtrak (this varies dependent on retailer).
If you're a UK grocery supplier you can sign up and use SKUtrak for free. From there, your KPI emails will automatically start pulling through for your selected retailer(s) once the dashboard is built.
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SKUtrak from Atheon Analytics provides a rich, visual, interactive analysis of trading performance to help consumer goods businesses build better, more valuable relationships with their retail customers.