FDBuyer: Unleashing DSD Efficiencies
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Dairy Buyer magazine.
"Pioneers get the arrows," the saying goes. So despite the agreed-upon potential offered by new concepts, people often are hesitant to be the first with full-blown implementations. (Those arrows can really hurt.)
We’ve seen this with scan-based trading (SBT). The basic ideas have been widely accepted for decades, but there’s that nagging fear of arrows. As a result, SBT has not come close to reaching its full potential.
However, we may now be entering a new era. For some retailers and manufacturers, the time for caution with SBT appears to be over. That’s the view of Tal J. Zlotnitsky, chairman and CEO, iControl Systems USA, Rockville, MD. Mr. Zlotnitsky has seen some DSD category sales more than double from SBT partnerships and resulting data analyses.
Mr. Zlotnitsky spoke on this subject at the recent ProductivityPlus Conference put on by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. During the conference, he also met with FDBuyer to describe how retailers are seeing bottom-line benefits from SBT.
Mr. Zlotnitsky believes that the industry’s focus has shifted away from building and integrating massive legacy information systems. Today, "Winning retailers have started to turn their attention toward using information system collaboration with their suppliers to drive smarter merchandising decisions," he said.
The foundation of these successful partnerships is synchronized data, one of the earliest SBT requirements defined in the 1996 report Scan Based Trading: Using Scanner Driven Technologies to Change Direct Store Delivery Practices — A Pilot Study (published by Grocery Manufacturers Association). "We are now in the age of the third-party intermediary," said Mr. Zlotnitsky, "who is trusted by both retailer and manufacturer to be the keeper of the data."
Mr. Zlotnitsky said retailers who have successfully implemented SBT relationships with DSD suppliers, have reduced the amount of time spent by their internal resources on activities such as item and price file maintenance, invoice audits and accounts payable functions. Instead, they allocate more time for activities that drive sales.
"Retailers are looking for people in their organizations who are doing things right and supporting them with analytics to make better business decisions," said Mr. Zlotnitsky. "Companies are moving away from the negatives of scorecarding and toward the broader adoption of positive performance techniques."
Discussion Questions: Do you see retailers and manufacturers increasingly embracing scan-based trading (SBT) partnerships? Do you see 2012 as a breakthrough year for the use of SBT?