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Buffalo’s CDM Software Less Complex Thanks to Computer Market Research’s Channel POS Solution
Computer Market Research (CMR) will be delivering CDM software support to its newest client, Buffalo Technology (USA), a global provider of award-winning networking, memory, storage and multimedia solutions for the home and small business environments as well as system builders and integrators.
It is a huge benefit to be able to accurately forecast what we need on the manufacturing side and communicate our expectations to our manufacturers based on current run rates and current inventory levels.”
Kathy Brown, Reseller Program Director, Buffalo
Buffalo Technology CDM Challenges
With four major distributors in the United States and direct sales to leading retail chains such as Best Buy™, Micro Center and Fry’s Electronics, Buffalo’s ability to get accurate, timely snapshots of POS and channel inventory data is critical to their CDM process and the success and continued growth of their business.
Toward this end, Erny-Jay Mezas has used many different tools during his career in marketing and sales. But it wasn’t until he joined Buffalo Technology as Director of Sales in 2004 that he found a solution that was truly flexible enough to meet all of his department’s needs.
“It’s not enough to have raw data,” said Mezas. “You must also trust the data and be able to manipulate it to meet your day-to-day requirements.”
At Buffalo Technology, collecting usable data has always been a top priority. “Fortunately, we’ve always been able to work with our partners so that the files they send us are fairly uniform,” Mezas observed. “Even so, there is always some cleaning up and validation that has to take place.” For several years Buffalo Technology has relied on San Diego-based Computer Market Research’s CDM software to transform raw POS and channel inventory data into actionable business intelligence. Mezas no longer has to worry about collecting, cleaning, standardizing, and processing Channel data in-house. Once a month, Buffalo Technology’s Channel partners send POS data to CMR.
In a matter of hours, the data is processed using CMR’s Channel POS solution and made available in Crystal Report and OLAP cube formats. Channel inventory data is processed weekly in a similar manner using CMR’s Channel Inventory tool.
CMR Adds Value By Offering Customization Servies
Mezas’ team also benefits from the ability to view detailed snapshots of the day-to-day business – such as sales revenue, results of promotional activities, inventory levels, and other trends. But, his strongest kudos are given to the customization services that CMR offers.
“The most valuable benefit of CMR is its ability to customize and cater to our specific needs,” Mezas commented. “They can adapt our reports and make changes quickly. That’s definitely important to the agility of our business and something that is a very rare service in our industry.”
In addition to creating customized reports for the sales team, CMR has also designed OLAP cubes that are populated from different fields within the CDM software. “We have a choice,” said Mezas. “We can view a Crystal report that has been specially designed to suit a given purpose, or we can get the raw data in an Excel spreadsheet that we can format and sort on our own.”
Calculating Sales Commissions Is Now A Breeze
In the past, Buffalo Technology had to calculate sales commissions for its manufacturers’ sales representatives manually. The process of extracting the data, making the calculations and verifying their accuracy took several days. Now, using customized CMR reports, the entire process takes under two hours.
Revenue is broken out by state. Within each state of the CDM software processes the data and is further sorted by product category. “It’s easy for us to see each sales rep’s territory,” Mezas said. “That ensures that we are paying appropriately, and it also helps the reps see how well they are doing and identify which product areas to spend more time on.”
CMR PartnerPortal And Reseller Profile Eliminate Paper
Buffalo Technology also uses the CMR PartnerPortal and Reseller Profile programs to administer the company’s VAR program. From a customized Web site, prospective resellers can submit an application to become a VAR. The applicant’s profile is automatically sent to Kathy Brown, the director of Buffalo Technology’s reseller program. Once a prospect has been accepted, a welcome letter and additional instructions are automatically sent to the new VAR.
“I don’t have to do anything on paper,” explained Brown. “There are no lists to keep, no Excel spreadsheets to update daily. Everything is collected for me automatically. I receive more than 100 applications per month, so this is a tremendous timesaver for me.”
In addition to automating the application process, Buffalo Technology uses PartnerPortal to track revenues from resellers. Each VAR can also use it to view its own sales goals and actual revenues.
“In addition to top-level summaries, I can drill down by territory and product category with just a couple of clicks of the mouse.”
“It is a huge benefit to be able to accurately forecast what we need on the manufacturing side and communicate our expectations to our manufacturers based on current run rates and current inventory levels.”
“Channel POS saves sales reps an incredible amount of time that can be used to sell to new accounts. It tells them immediately if their revenues are on target, both for the overall customer base or down to a specific customer.”