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The Sprint to Trade Promotion and Customer Planning Foundations: Accelerated Approach to TPM Digitalization

Kevin Fouré
Product Manager – Implementation Tools & Integration, Kantar Trade Optimisation, Kantar
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CPG manufacturers come in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately have the same goal – growth. Though TPM (Trade Promotion Management) digitisation has demonstrated its effectiveness in helping optimise trade spend, many CPGs are hesitant to introduce new systems and ways of working because of the upfront investment of time and resources.

Yet, those who do not embrace the change will continue to face growth challenges and be less and less competitive in the market. For those making the inevitable move forward with trade promotion digitisation, you do not have to force a traditional approach to fit. There are multiple paths available that cater to different business objectives and constraints. An alternative to the traditional approach, for instance, is the Accelerated Approach.

Built off a market-specific solution, it delivers the needed foundational elements of trade promotion management upfront, providing a working environment sooner. More advanced capabilities can then be built upon this base, upscaling the solution environment while it is in use. This “grow as you go” approach results in a shorter implementation time, requires fewer resources and investments, and drives early adoption since key users begin using the system while it is still being refined. 

This also prompts a fruitful cycle in the organisation, as it creates more room for key users to engage and provide feedback based on their use of the solution during the Design phase.

Data is the core of any TPM system. An Accelerated Approach loads data from the beginning, using pre-defined data integration templates. This allows sales teams to understand the system through hands-on interaction, which builds a clear understanding of what is available and contributes to what should be added as additional features.

That’s why assessing your data and how it will impact your core teams and their processes before the project launch is key to implementation success. The availability of clean data that fits the sales processes prior to integration will allow the right insights to surface.

TPM processes are complex and driven by the market’s trade structure, the company’s route-to-market and its internal processes. Implementing a system is often about finding the best possible translation of that market reality into an IT tool. To make sure that the Accelerated Approach reaches the desired outcomes, the best option is to dive it through a market-specific solution template. The template must contain the core market features configured upon best practices and the associated ready-to-use documentation to accelerate the project cycle.

But what is a system without its users? Not much. Without user adoption communication between teams is disrupted and that “one version of the truth” that any TPM system aims for may be damaged.

The benefit of an Accelerated Approach is that change management is facilitated by design. Users have early exposure and interaction with the system, can contribute to system builds, and therefore adopt the solution quicker than with a traditional “waterfall” approach. Though the Accelerated Approach does not replace change management, it can make it smoother and help identify and mitigate potential risks from the get-go.

To sum up, keep in mind these best practices:

  • Agree on your data: Have a clear definition of the customer and product data, as well as your baseline sources, before loading data into your system. It’s a must-have to bring the right insights to life.
  • You will still need governance: Strong governance is needed throughout the project to closely follow the template and maintain the best practices that are built in. It will filter the “nice to have” features from the ones that drive value for the customer.
  • Change can happen incrementally: start with the foundational system elements and then build new features upon them. You can grow capabilities as your business scales, which will likely give you the flexibility to meet your shifting future objectives and constraints.
  • Trust your end users rather than whiteboard design: Since your key users will be accessing the system early, they will be in the best position to spot which changes to push to the go-live.

The Voice from Market: Learnings from the ASR Group Trade Promotion Accelerated Digital Journey 

“The accelerated approach was more beneficial to look at our data. We could look at the system and the processes with our information. And that was transformative in the way we do things.” 

“Data assessment is critical. It’s understanding the state of your data and how much you need to change. Who is going to help you with the data transformation and loading is critical. And as you go through that journey it will be about how the internal and external resources are collaborating.” 

“The US is a complex marketplace. We have many retailers of all shapes and sizes, each having their own go-to-market strategy, varying consumer demographics, geographies. So, it’s important to have a flexible, user-friendly system that helps us navigate those complexities, and be able to move on a dime.”

“We are transforming our sales managers into business managers. Now they have the ability to understand how their plans are directly impacting profitability. I have seen the engagement level is improving. It's driving conversations about what makes best sense for the overall business, and we have a lot more transparency now."

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