Forget Big Data, give me Real-time Data now

By | Big Data, Data Analytics, Marketing Procurement, Point of Purchase, Retail Fixtures, Supply Chain | No Comments

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There continues to be significant discussion on the topic of Big Data. Big Data is the term used to describe very large data sets that need to be analysed computationally as they are simply too large to be reviewed in a manual way. By using the latest analytics software, you are able to identify and reveal patterns, trends and associations between the huge numbers of data points. This helps you better understand the relationships at play, how various parties are behaving and what interactions are taking place. This unearths new opportunities or potential challenges that were previously hidden.

So how does this relate to a Marketing Procurement function? It is likely that more data is now being captured on the goods and services that marketing are procuring. As these data sets increase in size, analytics can help uncover hidden value. However, what is more important is understanding which data points are valuable and can be acted upon. I like to refer to this as Small Data. Not all data has the same value and it is therefore imperative to identify what data is critically important and can influence commercial performance. The second step is to make sure that the quality of this data is accurate, robust and able to be analysed.

An obvious example is, how you might classify all the goods and services that marketing are buying. If there is no standard classification system in place and every party is using their own unique terms, then you would need to rely on key word analysis and this is less than optimal. The second factor is the degree or depth of classification system you use. If every display rack is just classified as “Display Rack” then counter units, floor-standing units, wall mounted units and promotional units would all end up being classed the same and any analysis would be just too high level. 

The starting point, when approaching data analysis, is to not only look at the data you have but more importantly to identify what data you NEED. Data has no value if it cannot be actioned. Identify the actionable “Small Data” that you require and then put in place structured processes that enable you to capture this. For Marketing Procurement you need to look at the various supply chains as your means to capture this data.

The other factor that is critical for Marketing Procurement is the need to gain access to the data in real-time. If you are able to capture data from the supply chain, at the start of the process and in real-time, there is a huge opportunity to influence and add value. If your only access to data is internal data (Purchase Orders) and after the event, the opportunity to add value has gone. Here is why:

  • Marketing investments are constantly changing, so having historical data for an investment that won’t happen again has limited to no value
  • If there is missing or inaccurate information, trying to obtain this after the event is very time consuming and in many cases futile as suppliers have no incentive to help
  • After the event, there ends up being a reliance on the supplier to provide the information you need, on their timeline and in their format
  • You will always be the last to arrive at the party and as such the level of influence you can bring will be dramatically reduced

So, how can Marketing Procurement use data to transform how they can add value. Here are some tips:

  1. Identify what data you need
  2. Establish the standards by which that data needs to be provided
  3. Identify the supply chains where that data will originate
  4. Ensure you identify the front-end of the supply chain and always include that is your approach
  5. Introduce new processes, procedures and systems to those supply chains to make sure they are fully transparent and can provide you the data you need, when you need it

The reality is that if you are involved from the beginning and you are able to obtain the data you need in real-time, your ability to influence will increase exponentially. End-to-end supply chain management with a strong data – insights driven strategy will unlock significant value.

This is the approach that sits at the very heart of why LeanPie was founded. If you are looking to transform how you design and procure retail fixtures and Point of Purchase materials, you should look no further. We commit to “Clarity and Control through Precision” based on:

  • Clarity – transparency – cloud technology (transparent data)
  • Control – governance – lean processes (real-time data)
  • Precision – engineering skill – talented experts (structured data)

There is no downside to talking to us and you might unlock some data that you didn’t know before. We look forward to hearing from you at david.newberry@leanpie.com