The value of having a source of high quality, trusted, shared data between a retailer and its suppliers, or more specifically the workflows and governance processes relating to product, pricing and promotion data, is too often overlooked by those seeking to establish genuinely collaborative relationships.
A retailer will likely have a multitude of personnel, processes, and systems to manage how data is exchanged with its suppliers. There may be a team to manage local or direct suppliers’ data that uses spreadsheets and manual inputs to create or update product and pricing information, which then feeds into aging systems, . On the other hand, larger suppliers may provide a direct data feed into an automated system. This type of inconsistent approach creates complexity within a business, which in turn increases exposure to error and risk.
On the supplier side, each organisation will have its own systems and processes to manage, extract and provide data. Data will therefore be sourced and provided to the retailer in a variety of different formats, each needing to be received and ingested on arrival, a problem that is magnified the more suppliers that a retailer works with. Retailers must bring order to these data sets to manage and control product information, pricing strategies and promotional activity, to ensure margins are protected.
One example of how data conflicts can arise becomes apparent when looking at how the different parties might use different parts of various data sets to identify a product. Retailers and suppliers have several identifiers to work with – item and case SKU codes which are unique and internal to their own businesses, as well as the ubiquitous item and case barcodes. Many retailers struggle to marry these master data elements together to create a “golden record”, which provides one shared view of the product, removing duplication and discrepancy.
Disordered and mismatched data lead to error and confusion, in turn causing unnecessary queries and resolution effort for both parties. The ensuing conflict this often generates, not to mention the wasted time and therefore cost, can place unnecessary strain on the retailer-supplier relationship. This time and money might be put to better use elsewhere, in value-driving activities.
If a retailer had a solution that could unify the wide variety of processes across all of its suppliers, automating the work of updating costs, promotions, and creating new products, as well as providing the structure and governance to ensure that errors could be minimised, the benefits to both the retailer and its suppliers become quickly apparent.
At rascal systems we work with this wide array of retailer and supplier data sets to better connect systems, processes and people. Our Empower Master Data Management Platform ensures that suppliers feed their data into the same place, in a standardised way. This enables a single source of all product, price and promotion data to be shared by both the retailer and its suppliers, removing multiple sources of conflict and supporting an environment where relationships are based on closer collaboration.
Stay tuned for a closer look at the different data relationships between retailers and suppliers, and how rascal system’s Empower MDM Platform can deliver tangible value to retailer-supplier relationships.
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Meet the author
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Jonty Edwards, rascal system’s Commercial Director. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay up to date with future posts and industry thought-leadership.