Orchestro: Analytics and Technology for Consumer Goods Companies

PV Boccasam,CEOWith massive growth in the number of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), promotions and channels, across a global distribution system, the volume of data being generated and consumed by consumer goods companies is simply enormous. This requires fast, inexpensive storage. To find the non-obvious business insights in this data, companies need to leverage a predictive/preemptive analytics stack that can handle the volume, velocity and variety of data, as well as confirm its veracity.

Consumer goods companies need to ensure that business insights lead to profitable actions. And the increased interest in big data and analytics across all kinds of industries is driving new technologies for data storage, management and analysis particularly in cloud-based environments.

"These companies are facing serious challenges in what we call data orchestration and demand analytics," says PV Boccasam, CEO, Orchestro. "Data orchestration is the "first mile" problem; collecting and harmonizing the vast amount of consumer demand data received from retailer partners, brokers, and syndicated data providers, and then synchronizing it with internal data, such as orders and shipments. Demand analytics is more of a "last mile" problem analyzing demand data to deliver actionable insight, improve in-store and promotion execution, prevent lost sales opportunities, and maximize revenue potential."

Orchestro addresses the data orchestration challenge with its enterprise-class demand signal repository, Harmonizer. "Unlike competitive products, Harmonizer can collect and harmonize demand data from multiple retail channels, as well as from brokers and syndicated sources providing CPG companies with a true picture of consumer demand across all of their channels. Our Tango platform delivers (via web and mobile) the analytics and actionable insights
that CPG companies need to drive their business," explains Boccasam. The company's solutions help its clients proactively manage the day-to-day operational tasks associated with in-store execution whether for regular activities, special promotional events or new product introductions by providing alerts based on exceptions to normal business operations. These alerts or 'Cues' tell front-line sales or supply chain personnel when and where a shortfall in product delivery resulting in an out-of-stock event might be taking place. By acting on Cues, Orchestro's clients can prioritize field activities focusing personnel on problem areas, so that time and money aren't wasted. In addition, "we provide a range of analytic insights to help our clients more effectively partner with their retail buyers, better target promotional activities and improve overall sales," he says.

For the executive suite or headquarters-level staff, all of the analytics within Orchestro's system can be rolled up to provide a comprehensive view of how products are performing across retailers or regions. Executives can drill into these reports to see top and bottom performers, understand particular field issues or focus their efforts. Also with detailed analysis available at the touch of a button, executives can more easily and quickly make decisions. "In an industry with tight margins and where time is a critical factor in staying ahead of the competition, our solutions enable clients to quickly take advantage of potential opportunities. We also help CPG executives evaluate and grow their market share and better understand shopper and consumer insights helping them stay ahead of new trends in the market and respond to changes in consumer preferences," unfolds Boccasam.

Orchestro has served some of the world's largest CPG companies, whose products are sold by major retailers both traditional brick-and-mortar and online worldwide. Using the platform, these companies are strengthening their ability to execute with respect to on-shelf availability, promotions and new product introductions. This is helping them reduce lost sales opportunity, improve revenue and gross margins, and deliver superior service levels.

For instancea major pet food manufacturer was experiencing problems with on-shelf availability at one of their retailer partners. This means that customers who wanted to purchase their product were met with empty shelves and
the company was losingrevenue. "By using our product, the client was able to identify when and where 'out-of-stocks were occurring'. Alerts were delivered to field personnel who worked with store managers to correct the problems and find ways to prevent them from occurring again. Ultimately, our client was able to recover over $2 million in sales that had previously been lost due to these out-of-stocks," illustrates Boccasam .

Orchestro focuses on its customers' need in terms of analytics and technology to exceed their business goals. "In addition to listening to our customers, we employ some of the best minds in data science, analytics, and supply chain and retail technology foreseewhat's coming in the industry," he points out.Most of the company's competitors focus on a single retailer or provide retailer-specific views of the data, but Orchestro provides true 'cross-retailer' view of demand.Another differentiator is its flexible data model, which incorporates nearly any type/format of demand data, including point-of-sale, inventory, shipment, orders, distributor data and broker data. "In addition, we can bring in causal data, such as weather or demographics, which provide greater context to the analysis resulting in greater accuracy. We are focused on a predictive approach and a pre-emptive approach. While knowing what happened in the past is important, we feel that predicting what's on the horizon while preventing a bad outcome from occurring is even more important to our clients," illustrates Boccasam.

Boccasam credits technology with playing an essential role in his company's foundation, and hails his people who are developing the data science algorithms and specialized analytics that deliver value to their customers as the life force. The company has recently opened a new center of excellence in Pune, India to expand its ability to deliver advanced analytics applications, customized reports and 24x7 support.

"We're currently working on our next generation product architecture, which will enable us to deliver even greater scalability and faster analytic results.Perhaps the most important factor is the way our approach is relevant to people's everyday life to be sure that consumers can get the items/brands they want, when they want them, where they want to purchase them," Boccasam concludes.