Big Data could be the best friend that foodservice manufacturers have ever met. So much so that adequate analysis of the information provided by Big Data — using a TPM (Trade Promotion Management) program — can play a significant role in boosting a company’s performance or even turning around a struggling company.
One of the reasons Big Data is so valuable is that it combines information from recently emergent sources, including social media, blogs and forums, with traditional sources. Using foodservice analytics, this vast amount of information, sometimes running into millions of items, can reveal behavior patterns, discover unusual associations between factors, and reveal new insights into trends in the foodservice industry. In turn, the information paves the way for more effective strategies and marketing techniques.
The broad sweep that Big Data offers also opens the door to more efficient handling of a vast number of financial transactions on a daily basis.
Here’s a closer look at some of the ways in which Big Data and a TPM program can help foodservice manufacturers run their businesses more effectively.
Identifying purchase trends
Foodservice data analytics will point to patterns in the industry that many company executives would fail to detect using just their observations or their intuition. No longer can a sample be relied upon in itself to provide a true image of what is happening within the industry or identification of the new patterns that are emerging. Correlations between one type of behavior and another, comparing one geographical region as opposed to another, for example, that had not been predicted or even expected will show up using today’s foodservice data analytics. The results can be surprising.
An analysis using Big Data enables manufacturers to spot those products that are performing poorly, those that are doing well, and those that are not performing at all.
Once foodservice manufacturers have identified these trends, they can take a closer look at such factors as estimated sales and compare them with actual sales. The result can be a significant change in a company’s operations, its production, and even its marketing techniques.
Enabling a company to move quickly
Using high speeds of data processing, Big Data can today be analyzed almost in real time, enabling the results to be tabulated and presented in a comprehensive picture faster than ever before. As a result, foodservice analytics can enable a company to pinpoint ways of doing business more effectively and can implement the insights indicated by the results not long after learning of them.
Quicker implementation provides an advantage over competitors, particularly those who are not using Big Data to the fullest degree.
Managing deductions more effectively
By processing large amounts of information in a short time, analysis of Big Data can enable foodservice manufacturers to gain immediate insight into deduction balances that are rebillable and to identify those distributors who are failing fully to live up to their commitments.
It becomes easier to track deductions and, where necessary, request repayment. The use of Big Data will speed up detection so that the repayment of deductions is quick and on time before a contract runs out.
By accurately and rapidly identifying those distributors who are tardy, foodservice manufacturers will be able to take their actions into account in future dealings they might have with these distributors.
Financial transactions take place so rapidly daily in the foodservice industry that they should be watched and continuously overseen to avoid uncertainty and mistakes. Such monitoring is possible using Big Data.
For example, using analytics, a company can spot where distributors and operators are accepting payment for the same products. Also, through examining expenses and income more accurately, a company can identify where money might be leaving its hands when it should not be doing so. Identification of discrepancies and their causes are trackable so that they are less likely to occur again.
Identifying invalid payments
Big Data can rapidly compare claims and detect duplications. By analyzing the information on the terms of the contract with the actual sales data, a foodservice manufacturer can avoid paying an invoice twice or paying an amount that differs with the amount on the original invoice. Such discrepancies can be spotted quickly, and action is taken to correct them and ensure they do not happen again.
Overall use of analytics in this way helps to ensure payments made are accurate and valid.
Offering insights on forecasting
Trends are not always easy to spot. Changes in customers’ buying patterns might be subtle and gradual, so they are not always noticed. By analyzing Big Data, however, trends will emerge across an entire spectrum. In this way, foodservice manufacturers are able more accurately to focus on future trends in the industry and to anticipate how sale patterns might change.
Creating new products
When new trends within the industry are indicated on an analysis of the data, foodservice manufacturers can take advantage of these trends ahead of the competition, enabling them to meet customers preferences and wants quickly and more effectively. Existing products can be fine tuned, and new products can be developed.
Expanding opportunities for storing data
As its name implies, Big Data is the storage of vast amounts of information. Foodservice manufacturers are able not only to draw on this information through analytics but are also able to store their own data, usually on the cloud.
This storage helps manufacturers to build up their data sources more quickly and efficiently without having to worry about the data being accidentally, or even deliberately, destroyed. The ability to store data is being offered at a relatively low cost, and the amount of storage available is continuously being expanded.
Start Using Big Data Now
Few foodservice manufacturers can doubt that now is an ideal time to take advantage of foodservice data analytics offered through Big Data and a TPM program. The sooner they can plug into its benefits, the sooner they can improve their companies’ performances.