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Decoding the New Normal

EBM Catalyst Introduces 3 New Apps to Help Businesses Manage Through the Crisis.

In a recent Associated Press article on statistical modeling for the coronavirus, Temple University mathematics professor John Allen Paulos was quoted as saying, “Uncertainty is the only certainty.” The same can no doubt be said about operating a business in these times.

As we see some statewide lockdowns being lifted and areas of the economy begining to reopen, the rules of engagement in retail have changed dramatically. With constantly shifting conditions which may limit traffic or the number of stores open, put limits on production, or significantly alter the supply chain; time-relevant data will be more important than ever. You simply can’t wait 4 to 6 weeks for insights into what is happening. The “new normal” is anything but normal, and running a thriving business during this time requires real-time insight.

Our team has been working with top executives across a multitude of industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there have been three recurring areas where our team is being asked to lend a hand: point-of-sale insights, working capital insights and profitability insights.

Through the process, we’ve been streamlining a series of solutions to help businesses of all kinds address these top “make or break” areas of concern during this time.

Through the EBM Catalyst software, we’ve developed a series of three new Apps, which can be deployed in concert with a Catalyst implementation or as a standalone analysis. They are the POS Insights App, Working Capital AR/AP Insights App and the Profitability Insights App. Each can be completed with a full analysis available for your team in one week, start to finish. 

Let’s explore each one:

POS Insights App

Much data is generated at the point of sale, but few companies actually have the ability or visibility to fully utilize it. For many companies, the task is outsourced to an analytics company, who delivers a monthly report. In this case, the data you’re looking at is often 4-6 weeks old. And while the value of most data generally depreciates over time, the fuse is burning faster now than ever before.

Think back 4-6 weeks. How useful is that data now in these conditions? Not very. Now think ahead. The conditions 4-6 weeks from now are likely to be completely different than they are today. The traditional methods of analysis hold very little value these days. You need to see what is happening now.

The Catalyst POS Insights App allows you to do more, and do it faster. Now you can see what’s happening this week, instead of last month, with daily or weekly intel. See trends, create better forecasts, and get better visibility into inventory and out-of-stocks. Analyze at the city, state or store level. Drill into product lines and individual SKUs. It allows you to truly see what is happening at the point of sale, right now.

The POS Insights App also allows you to marry up data you never have before, to get valuable perspective for fully-baked insights. Combine or independently analyze retail customer and point-of-sale data, manufacturer wholesale shipment data and Nielsen/IRI Data – all in one place, in less time than you ever thought possible. Integrate other existing company data sets quickly (such as shipments, trade spending, etc.) to get instant visibility into everything from discounts and margins to channel inventory.

This app is your single command center for all things that touch POS.

Working Capital AR/AP Insights App

Working capital has been on the forefront of pretty much every CFO’s mind since this crisis began to rear its ugly head. How much insight do you have into your AR & AP? Now more than ever, deep understanding of your cash flows (in and out) receivables, and inventory are critical in making strategic decisions.

Our Working Capital AR/AP Insights App is designed to give you just that, with Dynamic Analysis Cubes and Power BI Dashboards for managing Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Inventory.

Gain unparalleled visibility into your cash flow, and assess whether it is tight, or even negative, and if working capital should be used to cover the gap. Quickly dive in and assess the reliability of receivables, and tightly manage payables to ensure you stay above water, if and when things get choppy.

Once again, this full service – data load, tie-outs, alignment and analysis – everything is up and running for you in one week.

Profitability Insights App

Our third app comes from an area where clients frequently tap our team for expertise, profitability. Getting a true understanding of SKU and customer profitability, and where those things join, is a traditionally difficult exercise for the vast, vast majority of businesses. The Pareto Principle applies to profitability as much as anything else. Typically, 80% of your profits come from your top 20% performers, in terms of SKUs and customers.

The Profitability Insights App will help you understand the true profitability of your SKUs and customers, from top performers to lowest performers, so you can properly rationalize your portfolio. Quickly identify dead inventory to reduce costs, and cut procurement, production and distribution complexity. Approach a problem from multiple directions and see profitability by customer, store, geography and more.

In these delicate times, having an in-depth understanding of the margin structure of the business puts you at a huge advantage. If, for example, your state imposed social distancing regulations that affected your production line output or supply chain, how would you go about managing your product portfolio to absorb the hit? If you have a great understanding of where and how you make money, you’re ready to make that call.

Helping companies get the visibility they need to make good decisions is one way we felt we could step in and do our part during this difficult time. Developing apps that could offer an unparalleled level of insight in just one week has been the central focus of that initiative, as time is such a precious asset right now.  

If your business is in need of any of these insights, please get in touch with us. We would love to show you the transformative power they have to offer.

What other challenges is your business facing during this time? We’d love to hear from you. Sound off on social media now and join the conversation.

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