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Harness the Power of Business Intelligence in Your Consumer Goods Business

Harness the Power of Business Intelligence in Your Consumer Goods Business


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Harness the Power of Business Intelligence in Your Consumer Goods Business

30 Sept 2021

Ken Weygand
Man on computer in warehouse

As a consumer goods importer and distributor, you know how important supply chain management is. The U.S. supply chain employed over 44 million people in 2018, and that number keeps growing as home delivery and direct-to-consumer sales expand.

Looking into ways to improve your bottom line and increase efficiency is key so that you can meet the challenges of this growing market. You want to effectively manage and optimize the supply chain. You want to make sure your team is performing. You want to know that you are operating at peak efficiency. To stay competitive, you need to recognize any potential weaknesses in your organization and find effective ways to surmount them. That’s where business intelligence, or BI, comes into play.

What is BI? In short, BI is a way for companies to use software and services to transform data into actionable insights. This can help you make informed business decisions, create intelligent strategies, and keep you abreast of sales trends. It’s a user-friendly set of tools that condenses data into charts, graphs, maps, reports and summaries to help you understand how your business is performing daily, as well as year over year.

Even if this sounds like Sanskrit to you, let’s break it down.  Here are three reasons why you need a BI platform for your consumer goods business.

1. Improved Employee Performance

Employees are one of the most valuable assets of your company. A well-equipped sales and marketing team can lead to a colossal jump in revenues—some 208%! You can also see 38% better win rates and better customer retention. Onboarding and training a new employee is far more difficult—and expensive—than training and developing your existing employees. So, using BI to help with managing, monitoring, training and engaging your team has almost limitless benefits.

With BI, it’s easy to leverage sales analytics and determine strategy. Your sales team can acquire better leads, while your marketing department will optimize their efforts by targeting the best clients for your brand. Once your team knows what their targets are, you can set up KPIs and track their progress. Meanwhile, your employees can see how they are doing, compare it to other people on their team, and work on achieving individual and company-wide goals. 

For employees that might be lagging, managers can set up additional training modules or mentor them. This can also help you put the right employees in the right spots. If you have a salesperson that is struggling, find out what their motivators are.  It could be that they want to be in marketing instead—with their sales background, they will already be familiar with your products and customers and will be an asset to your marketing team.

Your sales team will know how your customers and partners are doing using a sales analytics dashboard.  They will be able to analyze good and bad performers, and triage them accordingly. They can analyze historical customer data, which helps them upsell and cross-sell.  

For your purchasing and warehouse teams, BI is invaluable. Because BI creates a granular view, your team can examine costs at every level. They will know where cost issues are in the supply chain, sometimes before they even occur. For instance, one of your suppliers charges two cents more on a lampshade. While that cost seems negligible at first, with hundreds of orders, those costs rapidly increase. Knowing that their costs are higher, perhaps you can talk with the supplier to negotiate a better deal through bulk discounts. If shipping costs go up, you could use the data to predict future costs and negotiate a better deal with that carrier. BI allows everyone in the supply chain to better monitor progress and efficiency and make improvements and adjustments based on the data.

You can motivate your team with badges for meeting goals and allow them to incorporate feedback. Employees will know how they are doing at every step, which will help engage them. And you will have less turnover, because your employees will know that you’re willing to invest in them.

2. Make Better Business Decisions

Integrating a BI platform into your consumer goods ERP can help you make better business decisions. You’ll be able to analyze sales patterns instantly. You can then make decisions based on statistical analysis and data, as opposed to instincts. You then use this data to make decisions about entering new markets and what steps to take to mitigate risks.

BI lets you analyze operational processes and pull together data on performances of various departments. BI helps you figure out your organization’s strengths and weaknesses with tools to help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. It’s simple to set up alerts to track metrics.  This helps executives monitor the most crucial KPIs and make necessary changes.

Profit margins are a huge concern. Fortunately, BI tools can analyze inefficiencies and help expand margins. Aggregated sales data helps your team better understand your customers. This empowers your sales team to develop data-based strategies and tailor their efforts to each customer—which leads to happier customers, and even higher sales.

BI can help your organization synchronize demand and supply; anticipate production needs; and prepare and forecast distribution needs. You can even modify it to fulfill seasonal, regional, or individual customer requirements. You can ensure that production, warehouse, sales, marketing and customer service professionals are working with the same information.  When paired with your distribution ERP, your team has a single, integrated view of data. They can use this information to establish personalized views that meet the requirements of the end-user.

In short, BI can help you uncover discrepancies and problems, so you can be more proactive and quickly address them. Let’s say your company wants to better manage its supply chain. You can analyze your data via the BI tool to determine where delays are happening and where variabilities exist within the shipping process. For example, what if the problem exists with a particular product line? You know from your assessment that a particular supplier’s product is always delayed. With a quick BI analysis, you’ll know whether it’s the supplier that is the issue; whether it’s the freight carrier; or whether the delay is due to customs or the port. At that point, you can refigure your lead times and guarantee they are more accurate.

3. Better Revenue

BI can help you increase revenue in a variety of ways. It analyzes your on-hand inventory based on historical data to ensure that you have optimal levels. You can easily find overstock, understock and dead stock. You will know what products are selling, so you can avoid a situation where stores run out of your products. Combining all your disparate data sources turns that data into dollars.

In a simple, easy-to-read dashboard, you’ll find key tables and graphs that can be viewed from anywhere--in the office or on a mobile phone. These simple graphs tell you what is moving your business forward. And you can drill down for further details. By analyzing these reports, the management team can stay focused on key metrics to achieve business goals. Because changes in the business environment become apparent to everyone sooner, resources and money can be reallocated based on evidence of shifting conditions or customer trends. Your managers know instantly if they need to shift focus.

Another way that business intelligence can help your consumer goods business is to determine if a new product will appeal to your market. For successful product launches, your business must understand market segments and find the right target audience. BI can do a 360-degree analysis based on market, competitors and channels. That way, you can launch new products with confidence.

Speed and agility are important for consumer goods business. A BI platform keeps you nimble. But if you haven’t adopted a BI platform, you can bet that your competitors have.

Increasing revenue is the main goal for any business, including yours. By using data from BI tools, you can get better sales forecasts, a better record of hitting sales targets, and increased profitability per sale. What does that mean for you? Better revenue.

Are you ready to improve operational performance?  Are you ready to make more money? Aptean’s tailor-made BI Solution  is the answer. Talk to one of our business intelligence experts to find out how you can harness the power of business intelligence to take your consumer goods company to the next level.

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