What to Look for in a TPM Solution—Now & Long-Term

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 fschroeder@adesso-solutions.com.

Flamingle With Adesso!

Is Trade Spending a Significant % of Your Revenue?

Trade spending is often well over 25% of revenue for most CPG manufacturers.
How does this compare to yours?

Are you looking for an easier
and more accurate way to manage trade?

You may want to know more about a Trade Promotion Management (TPM) solution that’s tailored specifically to YOU, and that works for your budget.
It is less time-consuming and less prone to errors and inaccuracies than using spreadsheets. Your entire team has access to real-time, accurate information of your trade spending.

Why Adesso’s Flamingo Natural-Specialty TPM?

Flamingo Natural-Specialty TPM is a complete Trade Promotion Management system, specifically suited for your business, with supporting services that will help you make the best of your investment.

❶ It’s extremely affordable…

Historically TPM systems were too costly for the Natural-Specialty market. We have addressed that, and have the only system that is tailored to YOUR budget. You get the value of a full trade system, and we handle the administration.

❷ It’s quick to set up…

How do we do this?

All interfaces are pre-built and configured, so we get you set up immediately. In fact, you can be up and running within a week!

❸ It’s easy to use…

Flamingo Natural-Specialty TPM is intuitive to use, and has built-in reminders and alerts that guide you when there is something you need to take care of to better manage your trade spending.

In addition, we train you and your team…both initially, and ongoing.

Do you use QuickBooks?

Flamingo even talks to your QuickBooks, to make management of your promotions and manufacturer chargebacks (MCB’s) on a regular basis even simpler!

“Flamingle” with us!

We’d love to meet you!

Let’s have a conversation to see what Flamingo Natural-Specialty TPM can do for YOUR trade spending budget!

Fill out the form below. We can stop by to introduce ourselves at Expo East, and would be glad to set up a meeting to give you more details about what Flamingo Natural-Specialty TPM can do for you.

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Concerned about the cost and efficiency of your trade promotion spending – You are not alone!

Studies indicate that:

  1. 2/3 of CPG executives are concerned about the cost and efficiency of trade spending,
  2. 50% or more of the trade promotions do not meet objectives,
  3. 18% of CPG manufacturers admit they have no mechanism to measure effectiveness,
  4. over 40% of the trade promotion events are not ranked or analyzed,
  5. there are big capability gaps in critical areas of TPM products such as promotion planning, reporting and analysis, and account profitability.

The net result is that 70% of the CPG manufacturers surveyed indicate the number one area they want to improve is their trade promotion effectiveness.

What’s scary is that the majority of the companies in this survey are larger companies that have more resources in terms of people, time and applications than the typical small or medium sized CPG manufacturer.

So what does the smaller CPG manufacturer do? You need 2 things:

1 – A superior TPM System. The complexity of managing trade spending is just too hard to do with Excel, a 1990’s technology. Today the solutions have progressed significantly and with the advent of software as a service (SaaS) cloud technology it’s a subscription model where you just sign into an existing solution that is being used by multiple CPG manufacturers. Since it’s a common solution used by multiple CPG manufacturers the product improves with best practices at a faster rate. Also the implementation and integration into your ERP solution is also easier since it’s likely been done with your system before at another manufacturer. It’s simply a better, quicker, less expensive, and less binding process.
2 – But you need to go beyond just “managing” trade spending to maximizing trade promotion effectiveness. You need the expertise and resources to utilize the TPM product, integrate syndicated and SPIN data, and do thorough analysis of your trade spending by key retailers and key promoted groups. You will be amazed at how much money is being wasted or at best sub-optimized with some retailers. You can significantly improve your ROI. It comes down to finding people that are trade experts who worked at major CPG manufacturers with experience analyzing and managing trade spending. This is harder as the resources to do this are much less available, but they are out there.

Get the help you need: contact Fred Schroeder at 847-342-1095 ext. 4011 or fschroeder@adesso-solutions.com

Believe it or not – many small & medium size CPG’s are still using Excel to manage trade spending

At this point it’s tragic. Believe it or not – many small and medium size CPG’s are still using Excel to manage trade spending.

While the number of SMB CPG manufacturers using Excel has gone down from 2/3 in the mid 2000’s, some estimates have it as still more than 1/3 of the thousands of SMB’s are still on Excel – a 1990’s technology. Here’s the problem: Trade spending is just too complex. If you’re efficient and on top of it you can keep track of what you said you were going to spend by promotion by retailer. But once those deductions start coming in it’s a nightmare. Try to get a big picture perspective and you can’t aggregate anything meaningful. Cross your fingers and hope for the best when all the deductions are in then spend an enormous amount of time trying to find the variances. And that’s just deductions. Trying to do planning or getting reports with different views by retailer, or by brand, or by promotional event, or by region is impossible.

To add insult to injury – it’s no longer a big money issue or being locked into a long term custom solution that gets outdated. With a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution in the cloud it’s a small setup fee and a monthly subscription model. You don’t need to buy the house-renting is more cost effective and flexible. The setup is much quicker than the past – often less than 2 months since the solution is already up and running in the cloud so all your team has to do is log in. It is updated periodically throughout the year so it doesn’t become outdated. Finally, it’s based upon continually evolving and improving best practices so even training is easier because it’s not a custom solution it’s one that all the clients are using.

You are not alone! If you are concerned about the cost and efficiency of your trade promotion spending you have company

Studies indicate that (1) 2/3 of CPG executives are concerned about the cost and efficiency of trade spending, (2) 50% or more of the trade promotions do not meet objectives (3) 18% of CPG manufacturers admit they have no mechanism to measure effectiveness, (4) over 40% of the trade promotion events are not ranked or analyzed and (5) there are big capability gaps in critical areas of TPM products such as promotion planning, reporting and analysis, and account profitability. The net result is that 70% of the CPG manufacturers surveyed indicate the number one area they want to improve is their trade promotion effectiveness. Continue reading

Believe it or not – many small & medium size CPG’s are still using Excel to manage trade spending

At this point it’s tragic. It’s 2014, but believe it or not – many small and medium size CPG’s are still using Excel to manage trade spending
While the number of SMB CPG manufacturers using Excel has gone down from 2/3 in the mid 2000’s, some estimates have it as still more than 1/3 of the thousands of SMB’s are still on Excel – a 1990’s technology. Here’s the problem. Trade spending is just too complex. If you’re efficient and on top of it you can keep track of what you said you were going to spend by promotion by retailer. But once those deductions start coming in it’s a nightmare. Try to get a big picture perspective and you can’t aggregate anything meaningful. Cross your fingers and hope for the best when all the deductions are in then spend an enormous amount of time trying to find the variances. And that’s just deductions. Trying to do planning or getting reports with different views by retailer, or by brand, or by promotional event, or by region is impossible. Continue reading