Making POS Data Useful for CPG Manufacturers

Blue Agave rolls out solution to let consumer packaged goods firms better leverage point-of-sale info

Blue Agave rolls out solution to let consumer packaged goods firms better leverage point-of-sale info

Cambridge, MA — February 9, 2004 — Enterprise performance management specialist Blue Agave Software has rolled out a new solution intended to give consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers the ability to use point-of-sale (POS) data to improve retail performance in real-time.

Blue Agave says that its ActiveCustomer solution combines information from systems such as Wal-Mart's RetailLink, as well as manufacturers' transaction and planning applications, to drive operational decisions, with the goal of strengthening margins, maximizing store in-stock levels and improving the effectiveness of promotions.

While retailers update and make POS information available to their suppliers on a daily basis, the complexity and scope of the information has made it difficult for CPG manufacturers to use it to influence daily operational decisions. ActiveCustomer is intended to help companies leverage this data in real-time so that sales planning and customer service teams can avoid stock-outs or late orders that can result in lost revenue, Blue Agave said.

According to the solution provider, ActiveCustomer continuously analyzes consumer takeaway, retail store and distribution center inventory data, along with a CPG manufacturer's planning, fulfillment and inventory systems, to identify and resolve challenges that affect service levels.

Automatically interrogating large volumes of data — hundreds of SKUs moving through thousands of retail stores — across multiple systems of record, ActiveCustomer is designed to present the relevant operational information to decision-makers in a timeframe that lets them take meaningful action.

This real-time insight into constantly changing store-level and internal business conditions can help CPG companies maximize revenue opportunities by giving them the ability to respond to gaps between forecasts and real consumer demand, according to Blue Agave.

"The constant pressure of shorter order cycle times, everyday low prices and higher service levels means that CPG companies must get closer to their customer," said Keith Belton, vice president of marketing for Blue Agave. "By continuously tapping into retailers' most up-to-date information, ActiveCustomer extends a manufacturer's real-time visibility all the way to the store shelf."

The provider says that the new solution identifies actual and potential problems in key operational processes that could affect the bottom line, the idea being to identify issues with enough time to take action and make a positive impact. That can help manufacturers respond to demand shifts or variances, providing planners with appropriate context, including demand and supply at retail distribution center— and store— levels, the solution provider said.

Companies can use the solution to improve service levels to meet retail performance or in-stock thresholds by leveraging a real-time understanding of consumer takeaway rates and on-hand inventory at each and every store; to maintain ideal inventory levels at the lowest possible level by continuously monitoring store-level takeaway rates with store and distribution center inventory levels as well as with replenishment plans; and to understand promotional lift versus plan in early days of a promotion, by region or store level to make real-time adjustments in execution, such as rebalancing inventory across distribution centers or modifying replenishment policies, according to Blue Agave.