In the latest issue of Retail Leader, Symphony EYC’s Dipu Mukherjee, Vice President of Product Management, CPG Solutions, analyzes the recent evolution of Joint Business Planning processes thanks to advances in technology which took place over the past few years. Dipu also introduces Symphony EYC’s new Joint Business Planning solution which allows for increased, faster and more efficient collaboration between Retailers and CPGs.
Engaging consumers through joint business planning (JBP) has long been a way to align the goals of retailers and CPGs to deliver products that people will like and buy. But that sought-after alignment was often cumbersome and not fully maximized for efficiencies, sales and profitability. The collaboration between retailers and CPGs wasn’t as much of an issue as the means and effectiveness of that collaboration. Recent advances in technology have made JBP less challenging and less expensive while improving scalability, according to Dipu Mukherjee, Vice President of Product Management, CPG Solutions, for Symphony EYC, a leading provider of software and services for retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers globally.
“We have built a tool to make JBP actionable for users and to also bring a sense of accountability amongthe key stakeholders. We bring in data and insights for decision makers to act fast, and ultimately, with shoppers in mind,” Mukherjee explains. Symphony EYC has launched its new tool to deliver automated JBP. The program simulates JBP best practices and process consulting, and integrates those with Symphony EYC’s customer-centric retailing platform to provide strategic insights and actionable results. “Traditionally, JBP has been very manual and labor oriented. Another problem is that there are many different ways people want to do it, and they may do it one way one year and another way the next year, making it a challenge to repeat. That lack of efficiency makes people think twice about doing JBP at all,” Mukherjee points out. ”By digitizing JBP, retailers and suppliers can store information all in one place to be shared whenever and wherever it’s needed. A retailer category manager, for example, can collaborate with a CPG account manager by looking at a single screen at the same time, something that also allows them to be flexible and do it ten times faster.”
Having easily-accessible, automated information helps retailers and CPG partners connect with consumers by making sure that the right assortment is in place at a particular store, leaving room for adjustments. “Automated JBP responds to shopper behavior and changes, and that’s where we want to go as an industry – to best understand the shoppers’ behavior and collaborate with one another to provide what they’re looking for,” Mukherjee says. Symphony EYC’s JBP tool is also versatile. A mid-sized regional retail chain may want to utilize a template with a Readiness Assessment to gauge the feasibility JBP with its various supplier partners, while a larger, mature retailer may look for other ways to optimize best practices and process consulting via automated JBP. Through a technology-driven JBP process, further innovations in product development, distribution and promotions can result. “This discipline in executing JBP ultimately leads to accelerated growth for both the retailers and CPGs while keeping the shoppers happy. So it leads to a win-win-win proposition for retailers, manufacturers and shoppers,” Mukherjee declares.