Archive for December, 2006

Collaboration Key To Survival

December 29, 2006

Press enquiriesFor Economist Intelligence Unit: Joanne McKenna, Press Liaison: +44 (0)20 7576 8188 For immediate release:  Wednesday, November 15th 2006 

Collaborative partnerships will be key to corporate survival, reveals a new survey from the Rconomist Intelligence Unit

Companies believe collaboration with other companies has become critical to their long-term survival, according to new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit. More than half of the 187 executives polled for this report say collaboration will either form an important part of their firm’s competitive advantage or will actually be central to its survival over the next three years. In addition, 51% say that they have changed their business model over the past three years to take greater advantage of collaborative partnerships. Key areas of collaboration include sharing supply chain data, establishing sales partnerships to tap fast-growing markets, and collaborating on research and development. In each of these areas, collaborative partnerships are delivering significant rewards: 28% of respondents say their biggest collaborative ventures have delivered either more or much more value than expected, compared with 11% who say they have not. 

“What this research reveals is that companies of all sizes are engaging in, and benefiting from, collaboration with other organisations, either locally or in countries where they may have no direct presence whatsoever,” said James Watson, the editor of the report. “What is striking is that a significant minority of these companies acknowledge that they couldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the collaborative relationships they have engaged in.”   These findings are published today in Companies without borders: collaborating to compete, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by BT.  Other key findings of the report include:

Collaborating with other firms is now the norm for nearly all businesses. The majority of companies (64%) engage with up to 10 partners, although some have established agreements with more than 100. And nearly all firms expect the average number of partnerships they have to rise over the next three years.
Most collaboration centres on sales and marketing. Firms collaborate for a number of reasons: to provide products they can’t deliver alone, to keep up with competitors or to expand their global reach, to mention just a few. These partnerships are typically being driven by the sales and marketing departments.
 The biggest challenge involves finding suitable partners. About one-third of executives polled for this report say the biggest impediment to collaboration is simply being able to find an appropriate partner. And when they do, overcoming any cultural clashes between the two organisations is a major concern, along with more practical issues, such as getting system integration right or dealing with data security concerns.
Successful collaboration hinges primarily on people skills. Making partnerships work relies more on people than anything else. Survey respondents identified the skills of the personnel assigned to a relationship as the single most critical factor for successfully managing the partnership.

Andy Green, CEO BT Global Services, said: “This research shows the increasing importance of collaborating within and between organisations. The digital networked economy is enabling companies to create new business models, utilise global resources and work in real time with people anywhere in the world as if they were in the office next door. This erosion of the traditional barriers of time and distance means that the ability to partner and work effectively is more important than ever to achieve success in the global competitive environment.” Companies without borders: collaborating to compete
available, free of charge, at:


Noteworthy Trade Promotion Event

December 28, 2006

If your organization is involved in trade promotion the Accelerated Analytics team highly recommends this event.

The next TPMA conference “The Financial Impact of Trade Promotion Management”will be held February 11-13 at the Renaissance Vinoy, St. Petersburg, Florida. View agenda at,  Register Here.  For hotel reservations, contact the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel at 888-303-4430. Contact Mike Kantor at 646-442-3703, or with questions.

November & December Executive Moves

December 15, 2006

Home Depot: reported Frank Blake, currently VP of Business Development, was named to Vice Chairman.

Circuit City reported Michael Jones resigned as CIO.  William McCorey was named as his replacement.

Abercrombie & Fitch said Thomas Mendenhall resigned as General Manager.

Family Dollar appointed Michael Laurenti to VP Information Technology.

J.C. Penney Co. named Thomas Nealon to VP and CIO.

Gottschalks, Inc. named Robinsons-May as VP Finance and CAO.

Dashboards Make POS Data Analysis Easy

December 15, 2006

If you are selling products through a retail channel and your retail customers are willing to share POS data you have a great opportunity to increase your sales and optimize inventory – if you can create an effective solution to manage a large amount of data and distill it into smart business decisions.  This is where a dashboard can be a very effective tool. 

In a recent article Steve Pugh of Howard Products discusses how he is using dashboards to monitor sales at several thousand retail stores so he can direct buyers on the most effective purchasing strategies. 

Here is an exerpt from the article…

Dashboards can be home-grown, using the graphing and charting capabilities of Excel spreadsheets, for example. There also are specialized software applications. Howard Products, a manufacturer of wood care products, recently contracted with Rainmaker Group to install Rainmaker’s Accelerated Analytics, a Web-based dashboard application to monitor purchase order and sales data, in addition to inventories.

The process “allows us to quickly come up with exceptions reports showing when our customers’ inventory levels are too low,” said Steve Pugh, VP at Howard Products. Pugh said he can immediately identify quick-selling stores or regions, or even individual products.

“I did that just yesterday with a customer we rolled out nationwide,” Pugh said. “I can just hit a button and dump sales figures to a spreadsheet with colors, then direct it to the buyer saying we can do one blanket order to bring him up to speed.”

At Howard Products, there are different dashboards for different folks?generalized big-picture versions for top executives, team-oriented ones for regions, and job-specific ones for individual sales reps.

You can read the entire article here

Trade Promotion at Fresh Express

December 14, 2006

This is an expert from a very good article written by John Walsh in CPGmatters.  

Fresh Express Masters

TPM Selection Process

By John Walsh

Emphasizing that trade promotion management (TPM) is a crucial component of any consumer goods company’s strategy, a significant amount of time and due diligence must go into the process of selecting a TPM vendor and system, said Kiera Benidettino, Director of Trade Promotions for Fresh Express, the nation’s largest provider of packaged salads.

Speaking at the recent Trade Promotion Management Associates (TPMA) Conference in Chicago, she discussed why an effective

TPM system is vital and explained the process of choosing the

right system.

Concerning Fresh Express, she stated promotional lifts put “significant strain on our supply chain operations,” since lettuce is highly perishable and inventory cannot be stockpiled.  The shelf life of Fresh Express’ products is typically 15-20 days.  “This means our supply chain is measured in hours,” she explained.  So, for her company, a good TPM system must support a quick and eficient supply chain, which requires a “tremendous amount of coordination.”

Benidettino noted an effective TPM system is vital to consumer packaged goods companies:

  • Spending Magnitude — TPM is the Number 1 or 2 SG&A expense on a CPG company’s P&L.  In addition, expenses  have increased more than 12% annually over the past six years to the point where spending is, on average, 14% – 17% of   gross sales.

  • Questionable Results — Less than 50% of spending reaches the consumer and manufacturer, and retailer margins continue to decline.

  • Government Regulations — Sarbanes-Oxley mandates tremendous responsibility for internal controls.  In addition,  SEC and FASB regulations significantly impact forward buying practices, financial reporting and slotting fees.  FASB regulations require all expenditures be identifiable, so a TPM system must capture specifics on trade investment in real time.

For Fresh Express, effective TPM matters because promotional lifts impact its supply chain.  “The decision of how much to harvest each day is dependent upon results at the stores, so our biggest challenge in TPM is connecting promotions with our supply chain,” Benidettino said.  Its TPM system must support forecast accuracy to ensure service and product quality.  “Therefore,” she explained, “when taking steps to find the right TPM solution and provider ‘you must know our company’ including trade fund management capacity, IT resources and budget capabilities.” 

Newsletter launch

December 12, 2006

The Accelerated Analytics team is launching a newsletter for POS data analysis best practices and vendor compliance news.  Take a moment and sign-up here.  Our first issue will be sent out in a few short weeks with the lead article summarizing our research on the “POS Data Analysis Maturity Model.”

Howard Products Selects Accelerated Analytics

December 7, 2006

The Accelerated Analytics team is pleased to announce the addition of a new client to our growing list of valued clients.

Read the articleto see what Steve Pugh of Howard Products has to say about using Accelerated Analytics for POS data analysis and reporting.