by Fred Schroeder
How often have you thought about replacing your Excel spreadsheets with a TPM Solution to address your lack of visibility into trade spending? I’m sure it’s crossed your mind! And if you’re like most, you can’t spend countless hours developing an RFP (not that this is the best course), nor do you want to worry about the cost, time to value or other areas of uncertainty that process would bring to your life. So, the spreadsheets will be fine for another year or two.
If you do start to explore the market, you might do an internet search, find a few ‘vendors’ that do this, and check out the websites of 2, 3 or 4. You then make your request, “Can we get a demo of your product?”
Having been in the CPG industry my entire career, and on this side for about 15 years, I know that the odds are, you will stay with Excel. Why is that? After multiple vendor demos, they all look the same.
In reality, we – Adesso and others in our industry – have done a rather solid job of creating software to address planning promotions, clearing deductions, creating some reporting, and all the basics of trade management.
However, there is a long-term reality here. This is not a recent problem, it’s far from simple, and you don’t have a 7 figure budget to address it.
You need a long-term partner, and a short-term plan to get started.
It takes significant CPG & trade spending experience to understand that it takes a system, PLUS clearly defined, successful and cost-effective services for the short term, such as administrative help, training and insights. If needed, you move into retailer analyses and even some assistance in trade strategy.
An experienced partner will contribute specific client results to help you make sense of it all – our clients even share success stories and challenges with each another as a community.
Finally, you need a chance to relax.
Imagine not having to worry about this constantly every period closing – knowing all the numbers and accruals throughout each month. The ‘monthly close’ becomes a snapshot in time, as it’s supposed to be.
You watch your kids play soccer, spend time with your spouse, play with your grand kids, whatever you want to do – without worrying incessantly about trade. At the end of the year, you’ve met your objectives and take a vacation or two. You earned it.
Fred Schroeder is CEO of Adesso Solutions, makers of the Flamingo TPM System. He understands the complexity of trade promotions, the mental barriers to getting started, and the importance of getting it under control so you can finally relax. You can write to Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org.