How are my brands’ sales performing versus plan? What is my brand’s market share versus competitive brands? Like most CP companies interested in tracking sales performance and market share, Beiersdorf AG, maker of leading skin care brands such as Nivea and Eucerin, certainly wanted to know.
Easy. Right? One might think that these are straightforward question that most consumer products companies can answer anytime with standard reporting. Unfortunately, while straightforward on the surface, the reality is that getting to consistent, reliable and timely answers for questions like these has been challenging.
First, CP companies have to rely on third-party data in order to generate these reports. Whether that data is syndicated retail measurement data or retail POS data, the data is often expensive and challenging to acquire across retailers, channels, brands and SKUs. And, in the case of market share, analysis, the company often has to acquire data on its competitors’ products, in addition to its own.
All of this data is big. Tracking consumer sell-through at the point of sale for owned brands and competitors’ brands creates massive volumes of granular data that’s not only challenging to acquire, it’s also challenging to maintain cost-effectively.
And, finally, harmonizing the data consistently and accurately is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. Data from different sources arrives in differing formats, at different points in time, covering varying time periods and at different levels of granularity.
Here’s an example. A CP company wants to assess overall sales performance and market share for a brand. Some retailers provide point of sales data, but those that do provide the data in varying intervals – some daily, others weekly. To include retailers that do not provide point of sale data in the analysis, the reporting incorporates retail syndicated measurement data which, here again, is available at differing intervals – weekly, monthly, etc. – and at aggregate levels that differ from the SKU-level point-of-sale data available directly from the retailers.
Reconciling the varying data formats to get to a consistent view product-level sales across retailers and channels is actually the easier part of the challenge. Even with consistently harmonized data, there’s still the challenge of assessing brand performance and market share over time when the data is available in varying intervals.
For example, if one retailer provides point of sale data daily, while another provides the data weekly, and other syndicated data arrives monthly, the company never has a complete view of total actual sales performance in any given time period.
How did Beiersdorf address this challenge? Working with SAP, Beiersdorf adopted the SAP Demand Signal Management solution powered by SAP HANA. The SAP Demand Signal Management solution is specifically designed to acquire, harmonize, integrate and manage large volumes of highly granular quantitative and qualitative internal and external data – all in real-time via the power in In Memory Computing with the SAP HANA Platform.
With these powerful capabilities in place, Beiersdorf was able to develop two very innovative approaches to sales performance and market share reporting. First, by eliminating the need to aggregate data from different sources into a common level or levels, the company can access and leverage point of sale and syndicated data directly at any level of granularity and in real-time.
And, perhaps more importantly, to compensate for varying data availability across time periods, the company can leverage the data to assess actual historical demand over time and use that information to develop analytical models that accurately project forward-looking demand. Armed with this information, Beiersdorf now has the capacity to determine actual sales performance and market share at any given point in time.
Portions of the analysis are based on forward-looking projections, but due to the strong capacity to forecast demand based on historical performance, the company can both state results with a high-degree of confidence and further refine the models over time by comparing forecasts with actual results. Internally, this information is exceptionally valuable but the company can now also bring a new level of analysis to its discussions with retailers and other channel partners, and in a way that its competitors can’t – at least consistently.
In this way, SAP Demand Signal Management powered by SAP HANA is enabling Beiersdorf to develop competitive advantage. Interested in learning more? Join us at SAPPHIRE in Orlando on Wednesday 4 June at 8:00 a.m. ET in the Industries Campus Theater (Session ID # IN13987). Representatives from Beiersdorf will discuss the co-innovation project it ran with SAP to deliver the data and functional foundation to enable standard sales performance reporting for its brand managers – capabilities that are now available via SAP Demand Signal Management powered by SAP HANA – along with the business benefits and results they’ve achieved.