Using Manual Processes to Normalize Channel Data Leads to Financial Complications and Lost Opportunities.
In order to facilitate sustainable growth, channel-driven producers need detailed visibility into the performance of products and partners.
The lack of normalized and timely channel data not only stunts growth but also increases issues with budgeting, resource allocation, cash flow and production.
Given manufacturers’ growing dependence on indirect sales funnels, traditional channel data management (CDM) processes simply cannot support the complexity and quantity of information that comes in and out of the channel.
Using manual processes to cleanse, centralize and normalize channel data all but ensures errors in the reconciliation of special pricing requests and reimbursement claims.
On the other hand, supply chain producers that demand channel partners to provide complete channel and inventory data is an unrealistic ultimatum that all but ensures inaccuracies.
The best solution for effective channel data management is via an automated, centralized platform that efficiently correlates the sales channel with inventory and production processes.
Following are 3 of the most basic, but important areas in which an improved CDM solution helps channel-driven companies improve their bottom line:
1.) Inventory-level accuracy leads to money well-spent
Estimation of channel and inventory data is a flawed, and potentially dangerous mechanism for production scheduling and meeting customer demand.
Because it’s common for manufacturers to rely on approximating inventory levels months in advance, they cannot guarantee their partners supply will be available.
When partners don’t have confidence in suppliers’ ability to satisfy customer requests, they tend to look elsewhere at companies that do.
To counter this occurrence, manufacturers frequently overproduce, which costs thousands and millions of dollars to be lost due to stale inventory and price protection reimbursements.
When manufacturers have real-time insight into ‘what’s on the shelves’ and the performance of specific products, they can safeguard availability to partners more consistently.
Access to this data improves production scheduling, as manufacturers don’t have to “cushion” their supply levels in fear of stockouts.
As a result, companies can allocate resources into ‘more pressing’ areas of business thanks to added funds and manpower available.
2.) Reduced potential of lost revenue and opportunities
Manufacturers are required to make critical business decisions regarding output forecasting.
However, the flow of incomplete and inaccurate channel data constitutes for a catalog of financial losses and missed opportunities.
As with all manual processes, there are inevitable breakdowns and/or missing elements in crucial areas that directly impact the financial status of your company.
These complications affect but are limited to:
Settling incentive disputes timely and accurately
- Time to close books
- Turnaround time on partner reimbursements
- Missed opportunities on potential ‘game changing’ deals due to insufficient supply
- The integrity of channel partners to submit accurate claims
- Inaccurate validation of reimbursement claims, which lead to erroneously credited reimbursements
- False channel data leads to over/underproduction of supply
- Partner satisfaction and mind share due to complexity of doing business with supplier
Managing disparate channel partner data feeds on Excel spreadsheets and other manual processes put a company in a vulnerable position that ultimately affects its bottom line.
With a centralized platform for analyzing channel data, channel-driven companies can be more adapt to changing market conditions (e.g., demand spikes, competitor pricing) while maintaining partners’ confidence and influence.
3.) Improved pipeline visibility provides a clearer understanding of the marketplace
Incomplete channel and inventory data (e.g., only detailing quantity of units sold over a specific timeframe) fail to provide the information needed to make sound business decisions.
For example, intelligent channel data collection that provides real-time insight into:
- How fast certain products are being sold
- Which products are being sold and to whom
- Why they are being purchased
- What price end-customers are willing to pay for specific products
Comprehensive understanding of these areas allows channel producers to better predict/prepare changes in the market, as well as realize which products to focus more on or improve.
Ultimately, in today’s convoluted and competitive channel industry, manufacturers need data that’s accurate, timely, comprehensive, normalized and centralized.
Robust channel data management solution providers, such as Computer Market Research, empower companies to make better decisions, save time, capitalize on opportunities, win more deals and establish strong, strategic and long-lasting relationships with channel partners.