The POS data dilemma is notorious. Every manufacturer knows that data arrives at different times from different retailers and third party sources in different formats. Data comes at sporadic times of the month, in a multitude of different formats with varying information. On top of that, retailers restate data, products change categories, duplicate data comes in, etc. All of these things are difficult and cumbersome to manage.
Internal executives want to see sales across retailers and compare with internal forecasts, shipments, orders, etc. The inability to look at sales across all retail customers down to the lowest possible level of granularity, typically sales by item/store/day is another aspect of the data dilemma.
The larger issue is the complexity of managing disparate retailer data and ensuring it is consistent and reliable for easy access by business users. The demand signal management process should correct 99% of these issues. It should also give you a mechanism for addressing the other 1% anomalies through a data management console.
It is amazing to see how many companies simply take the POS data that they get from retailers and simply store it in a database somewhere in case they need to get information out of it someday. Many companies don’t even realize they may have POS data from the retailers. If you are getting EDI feeds from your retailer, then chances are you are getting the EDI 852 file which contains daily, scan data. Have your EDI person check the files before spending extra money on third parties.
Most companies have point, reporting solutions for specific retailers that has demand data. This is not an enterprise demand signal management solution. Companies simply store the EDI files because hiring the resources to use it for report creation would be too costly due to the fact that they would have to hire a lot of people to regularly do the manual integration of data and report creation.
Because they are not using their POS, a lot of companies have a hard time understanding the value in it. The problem these companies will soon run into is that their competition does see the value in POS and they are taking action to leverage it for new insights and more accurate reporting.
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