In most retail environments, consistency isn’t a word that is used on a frequent basis.
Millions of dollars are being spent annually on gaining knowledge around Category Process ( category management ) and Best Practices and yet most businesses operate in silos. If you walked into an average retailer and asked for their Category Review presentation documents for their top 25 categories, odds are that most of them would be different. You would find inaccuracies; from small format and brand issues, all the way to inconsistencies within the process and reports being used. Yet there are defiantly strong similarities across the majority of categories when it comes to analysis. So why can’t we drive consistency in this process?
In order to truly understand the performance of a business, it is imperative to have the ability to analyse across categories ( category analytics ). The only way that this can truly be achieved is to drive consistency in relation to the process and deliverables. The easiest place to enable this approach is through the introduction of standards and templates within the review process and presentation generation. By creating strong templates, it is possible to share information, ideas and success.
For many years, PowerPoint presentations have been the language of business. Although a number of companies have tried to reduce their use, they are still prominent to convey messages, both internally and externally. However, the creation of these presentations can often be labour intensive and introduce a potential minefield when looking for consistency.
This is the area where consistency can be enabled.
When conducting a full or everyday category review, the process steps are usually well defined. Within each process step, there are one or more reports that enable that section to provide learning and insight. If these reports are enabled and readily available on a dashboard, then they should be also leveraged in presentation templates, based on the requirements of the meeting or task. This could apply to internal executive reporting, collaboration meetings between the Retailer and Manufacturer or any stage of the category review life cycle.
What this requires is that the presentation becomes an automated process, based on the latest, refreshed data set, and can be run at any time, on any device. The templates also need to be interactive, so that the user can add, remove or duplicate slides on the fly. This allows the user to tweak the message, yet stay faithful to a consistent process and also learn from colleagues.
So often, all the effort will be aimed at one or two reports that drive an answer, when it’s actually the bigger picture, the story, where the key benefit is found. Automating this process, will introduce consistency, allow knowledge transfer between teams and also drastically improve the collaboration process with the Manufacturers.