Mark A. Smith in his Information Management Blog titled “Consumer Goods Companies Need Analytics to Compete” contests that given the cutthroat competitive landscape among consumer goods manufacturers, from food and beverage to electronics and automotives, capturing the minds and wallet share of customers, by reaching out to them with the right product and right price is no easy task.

Optimizing business efforts from manufacturing to product and throughout the supply chain to customers requires a comprehensive set of tasks that cannot be done without insights on what has happened in the past and where current activities are going.

Those event-driven and demand-driven insights can come through analytics that assess the small but important details of pricing, trade promotions and processes in the supply chain to keep retailers satisfied with inventory levels.

These days it is insufficient to apply analytics only to data representing historical activities; also needed is predictive analytics based on models and variables that can provide forward-looking projections of what will likely happen based on the planned activities.

All these demands are driving many consumer goods manufacturers to build new competencies in business analyst teams and seek tools and technology to apply analytics most effectively. Analysts then can cross lines of business to work more closely together than just focusing on their individual department’s functions.

To optimize consumer brand recognition and profitability, companies must re-examine their current analytic processes and use data to determine if there are faster, better and, yes, cheaper methods to meet never-ending demands from a variety of business areas.

Working collaboratively across business and IT is one big step in the right direction.

In addition, Finance is not just along for the ride any more as it looks to get more engaged in the effectiveness of spending and balancing financial resources to meet the margin targets for the quarter. This can be accomplished through costing and profitability analytics that examine product and marketing investments across the business.

Organizations need to know how much and when to invest in marketing and product activities where pricing and promotion can generate only limited benefits in this busy marketplace of ever more competitors and changing economic conditions.

(See: “Analytics in Retail: An Operational and Financial Mandate“)

Mark Smith also blogs at