Demand Forecasting - Building a Healthy Inventory

Demand Forecasting is a critical component to success in the Wine, Beer & Spirits industry. 

The article below by Robert Byrne, Terra Technology, points out the critical importance of accurate demand forecasting in optimizing inventory management:

The success of Inventory Optimization and Supply Chain visibility ultimately depends on an accurate Demand Forecast.  Behind every strong supply chain is a healthy inventory that carefully balances service with cost: too much stock ties up valuable working capital that could otherwise be used to grow the business, while too little stock compromises service objectives and impairs revenue growth.  Striking the right balance is the key to achieving long-term profitable growth and is especially important in Asia where volatile markets and changes in consumer demand continually challenge manufacturers.

The first step towards creating a healthy inventory is to improve forecast accuracy. While customer behavior has always been hard to predict, major demographic shifts underway in Asia are making it even harder. With markets expected to double in size within 30 years, the concept of using historical sales to predict demand has become increasingly irrelevant. Leading multinational manufacturers have abandoned this approach in Asia and are now looking at current data from within their supply chains to sense demand – and in some cases, even peeking into their distributors’ networks. The use of current data to sense demand significantly improves forecast accuracy.

Read the full article appearing in Supply Chain Asia, 7/8/14, at link below:

Customer Analytics Drives Growth

Free Webinar: "Ten Critical Business Insights Every Marketer Needs" - Weds, Jan 22 - 1:00 EST

Growing a business is challenging.  Sustaining high growth is doubly challenging.

Research conducted by MIT Sloan and Bain shows that companies that are proficient at customer analytics experience dramatic positive outcomes:

  • Twice as likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance within their industries
  • Three times more likely to execute decisions as intended
  • Five times more likely to make decisions faster
  • Top-performing organizations use analytics five times more than lower performers. 

Quant5, a leading developer of SaaS-based predictive marketing for business, demonstrates how cutting edge analytics rapidly delivers insights that increases sales performance and marketing ROI.

New, cloud-based technologies, developed by Quant5 and offered by TI-data, makes it easy to engage Customer Analytics through economical outsourcing of the process.  This removes the burden of implementing and managing a sophisticated platform and simplifies the data handling and information/insight delivery.  The Analytics system, based on advanced algorithms, is designed for speed, relevancy, accuracy, scale and efficacy

Customer Analytics is the new driver for growth.  Companies that understand and embrace this reality achieve tremendous growth and performance. Those that don't are left behind.

Customer Analytics is a proven Best Practice.  However, many companies, especially medium size, lack the resources and view Customer Analytics as too complex and expensive, considering it beyond their reach or capability.

Positive customer experiences with your products and services are age-old drivers of business growth.  Achieving growth comes from continuously defining and refining offerings and value propositions in response to changing customer expectations and behavior.  Business buyers and consumers have more choices, more ways to buy, give and get recommendations, and talk back to companies. Speed and accuracy of customer insight and "getting closer to the customer" is crucial to growth.

Understanding the many customer types (micro-segmentation), tracking their behaviors, responses, what they want, when they want it is critical to driving growth.  Our role is to make it easy and comfortable for all types and sizes of business to take advantage of advanced Customer Analytics.

Learn how customer insight propels growth by registering for the free webinar:

Weds, Jan 22 - 1:00 PM/EST

Register at:

Listen to the Customer; Listen to the Data

Casino operators and their agencies are faced with an avalanche of data coming from multiple sources in many formats... and it will continue to grow, both in volume and velocity.  Analytics is the seamless integration of data from various disparate sources, interpreted, visualized and delivered as actionable insight.  Aside from all the challenges of handling the scale of data, there is the need for accuracy, relevancy and speed.  Current methods of reviewing data are too slow to produce helpful results.  Recently, a study estimated that up to 90 percent of collected data cannot be reviewed in time to be useful.

Growing at a rate three times that of structured data, the increasing deluge of unstructured text data, from all social, web and inbound sources, makes up approximately 90 percent of all information.  The challenge for the modern casino operator is to understand and extract value from this rich sea of human and transactionable information and use it to improve customer and marketing performance.

Data scientists are developing the technologies and advanced computer processes to make sense of large amounts of integrated structured and unstructured data.  What is needed is the ability to strip away the confusion, sometimes caused by the hundreds of Big Data vendors, and assess what's useful and effective to marketing departments and agencies to increase the quality of decisions.

Our approach is to implement a low risk, low cost, QwikListen pilot test to rapidly deploy and measure the value of new analytics technologies.  The goal is to process and understand, in real time, the meaning of the data and the customers' behaviors and to prove effectiveness and ROI of the Analytics design.

Purpose Driven Analytics

Focusing on the highest priority goal will yield dazzling results

Purpose Driven.  It sounds simple, so obvious.  It's the foundation of all plans... purpose, goals, objectives, expected results, etc.  The returns and benefits of a well executed Analytics program are proven and well documented.  It can produce dazzling results, improvements in business performance, fantastic rewards and ROI.

And yet when it comes to moving forward with the building of an Analytics system many companies stall.  Most companies are barely scratching the surface of understanding what's possible with Analytics.  Why?

Overwhelmed or stymied as to what to do, the decision to engage is pushed off.  Procrastination sets in.  Resistance to change results in sticking with what's comfortable.  Part of the problem is the complexity of Analytics, there is too much stuff to consider so hardly anything gets done.

What to do?  Commit to Purpose Driven Analytics.  Purpose Driven means focus...  designing a program to accomplish the highest priority objective.  Learning and understanding how to utilize the available data and analytics resources to accomplish that objective.  Focus on the prize. (actionable insight, acquiring customers, campaigns that over-perform, beating the competition).  What is the single most important thing that needs to be achieved?

This single focus enables creating a project that can actually be implemented, measured, and will accomplish the defined goals.  It's still going to be a complex process.  All five Pillars of Analytics: Data, Cloud, Processing, Analytics and Delivery must be addressed.  Diluting any part of the system creates a high risk of failure.  But so does trying to do too much.  Having too many goals makes it impossible to implement successfully.  Develop a high impact plan and execute:

- Purpose - clearly defined needs, problems, purpose, goals to be achieved

- Plan - how Analytics contributes or provides the solution

- Automate - it's Big Data, so it can't be done manually, it must be automated

- Understand the system - All Five Pillars must be executed well

- Implement well, especially end-user involvement.  It's the key to success.

- Measure - how's it working, what's the ROI, what needs to be corrected, how can it be made to work better

As an example, consider Customer Intelligence.  It's everything related to the customer and customer performance.  Customer spend, frequency, profitability, LTV, interests, wants/needs, sentiment, actions, predictive behavior, micro segmentation, conversions, retention and more.  An Analytics system can provide total understanding of customer intelligence in real time.

Data can be collected, numbers crunched, interpretive analysis performed and insight or Conditions of Interest delivered.  Success of the Analytics program comes down to addressing one question really well... what happens when the actionable insight is delivered?  Focus on the goal.  Support the decision management needed to meet the goal.  It's a way of simplifying the process and improving the probability of achieving great results and ROI with Analytics.

Analytics Is The Elephant That Can't Be Eaten One Bite At A Time

Implementing Analytics:  The Five Pillars

Big Data means that you need Analytics... and you really, really need Analytics, not just because of Big Data.

You need Analytics to:

- know what's working, what's going on with your business

- understand customers' wants, needs, experiences, and behaviors

- meet and beat the competition

Building an Analytics system sheds light on a few blazing dichotomies with your organization's capabilities.

You are a confident, skilled manager but you're over your head, overwhelmed, with Analytics.  There's plenty of great analytics software and services available but most will fail to meet the results promised.  You're want to do it yourself, keep control inside, but your staff lacks the technical skills.

At the start, you must have a clear purpose, set goals, have focus and organize your plan with your objectives and corresponding metrics in mind.

Analytics is complex.  It's a system and a process, not a product that can be bought like a piece of software.

You must understand the major elements of an Analytics system.  There are five.  These five pillars of an Analytics system cover everything... and you need everything for it to work.  They are:

1. Data - getting all the right data, collection, handling, cleansing, from multiple internal and external sources and silos

2. Cloud - platforms, services, applications, to get it up, running, performing and available, quickly and cost effectively

3. Processing - natural language processing of the vast unstructured text, aggregating all the different data sources and types into a common format for hand-off to Analytics

4. Analytics - purpose driven analytics, many types, performing many data interpretations, yielding actionable insight

5. Delivery - visualizing, integrating and getting the actionable insight to decision makers

Each of the five pillars is its own project, requiring different skills, technologies, services, to be performed to develop a cohesive unit that works for your purpose.  Some or all can be outsourced. 

All require a lot of commitment, cooperation and collaboration from all stakeholders, especially top management, to make this work.  Everything needs to be measured. 

In short the Analytics process needs to be managed.  What does a manager do?   Manage. 

Good Luck!


Analytics is Critical - Now What?

Many marketing experts making 2013 predictions slated "Analytics" as the next big thing.  Analytics is a broad term.  Relating it to marketing and customer intelligence requires some understanding of the many types or purposes of Analytics, like those listed below:

Data Analytics

Business Analytics

Predictive Analytics

Marketing Analytics

Customer Analytics

Campaign Analytics

Competitive Analytics

Social Media Analytics

Web Analytics

Google Analytics

Listening Analytics

Text Analytics

Not only is there an army of software vendors for each of the above categories, there are several conferences for each.  The Supply/Demand curve appears to be exploding.

Just when we've settled on accepting the reality of 'Big Data', we must embrace Analytics to survive and grow with it.  Overwhelming!  If Analytics is the next big thing (it is), learn to love it, embrace it, use it to grow the business and crush the competition. 

How?  Analytics is an Elephant.

Start with some goals, addressing the highest priority, most critical areas that can be immediately improved with Analytics.  Then, develop a plan, including finding expert help, then execute.  It's hard work.

Paradigm shifts caused by brilliant new and rapid changes in the technology landscape become an equalizer for the smaller, capital constrained companies.  The agile can understand, plan, move quickly and adopt new technologies and services that are within their reach because of these new paradigms.  Enjoy the advantage!

Outsourcing Services For Advanced Analytics

For companies lacking in-house capabilities and struggling to keep up

We love the challenge of helping companies compete with advanced Analytics.  It is more than an equalizer, it is a competitive advantage. 

Our ideal client recognizes the importance of analytics but is struggling with the complexities and challenges involved with implementing it in-house.  Utilizing Cloud services can provide the capability for accessing external advanced analytics resources, with no investment in infrastructure or hiring data scientists.

Most companies lack the in-house capability to perform advanced analytics and cannot keep up with the growth in analytics requirements, (especially in marketing and customer management).  The analytics gap between in-house capability and needs is growing.  Companies not keeping up will get crushed by the competition.

Best of Breed/Best Practices can be added to the organization quickly, without having to invest in infrastructure or scarce qualified data scientists.  This plays to the strength of the agile organization, not just keeping up but having a strategic and competitive advantage over much larger companies.

On demand, real-time analytics will optimize marketing and achieve an effective level of customer intelligence.  It will dramatically improve conversion, retention/loyalty, and customer profitability, by meeting customer expectations/demands.  Precise customer profiles and micro segmentation will provide the actionable insight needed for R3, i.e. making the Right offer to the Right customer at the Right time.  Linking Customer Intelligence to business metrics (transactional data, behavioral metrics, revenue, frequency, customer profitability, customer value, and other KPI's) tie directly to achieving business objectives.

Speed is imperative... Speed of market awareness.  Speed of response to customer demands.  Speed of R3.  Speed of implementing advanced analytics.

Cost of delay in deploying advanced analytics has major financial implications.  Most companies find it impossible to build in-house in a timely manner and lack the skills to develop a complete solution.  Delay will strike right at the heart of CEO concerns namely: revenue, margin, profit, cash flow and shareholder value.

The need for advanced analytics is recognized as a critical, strategic issue in most industries.  The need is large, growing, and important in order for companies to meet customer expectations, competitive threats, and the speed of business.  Data and Analytics needs are growing.  Speed of business is accelerating.  Customer expectations are more demanding.  Advanced Analytics capabilities are critical to compete and achieve business goals. 

Let our PhD's do the work, on demand, in real time for you.  A TI-data QwikListen Pilot test will provide the proof of how quickly and easily you can deploy best of breed/best practice advanced analytics for Marketing Analytics and Customer Intelligence.

Be Relevant to Acquire and Retain Customers

Relevancy, Intimacy and Providing 'What the Customer Wants to Know'...

Customer expectations are changing rapidly.  The customer has totally taken control of getting the information they need during the buying process.  Robust searching tools and the growing use of information gathered from social and trusted sources have all but made traditional vendor messaging and unsolicited offers irrelevant.  It's the new normal for the purchase decision process.

Customers expect vendors to keep up with their needs.  Developing the ability to provide the right customers, with the right offer at the right time is critical to acquiring new customers and retaining current ones.

Optimizing marketing initiatives to meet customer expectations requires knowing the many different customer types and customizing offers to meet their specific needs.  Customer analytics can provide the precise micro segmentation required to precisely define customer groups.  Listening analytics, in real time, can provide the understanding of customer desires, sentiment, behaviors and expectations.

The early adopters, (examples can be found with Casino Operators, Hospitality and Retail industries), are using predictive analytics, real time listening and micro segmentation to dramatically improve conversion and response rates, upsell, overall revenue and profitability.

Companies sticking with legacy marketing campaigns, and marketing research tools taking weeks or months to understand their customers will find themselves crushed by their 'best practice' competitors.

What are your experiences with migrating to an intimate, real time, data and insight driven marketing environment?

QwikListen(TM) Will Prove a High ROI and Set Up In 10 days or Less


TI-data announces QwikListenTM, a new paradigm for customer micro segmentation that dramatically raises conversion and response rates of marketing campaigns and offers. 

QwikListen is designed to dramatically improve new customer acquisition, lead scoring & conversion, loyalty program involvement, customer retention and optimize customer response.  It is designed to dramatically improve and accurately measure the ROI from marketing initiatives.

QwikListen is designed for speed.  Speed of implementation... Pilot test implementation in less than 10 days.  Speed of insight... near real time monitoring of customer segment changes, behaviors, sentiment.  Speed of results... immediate analysis of results, conversion rates, segment revenue and profitability.

QwikListen is the integration of advanced Listening Analytics with Customer Analytics generating customer micro segments with very high accuracy.

The best way to experience how dramatic the results can be is through a QwikListen Pilot test, which can be economically implemented in 10 days or less and will calibrate the results and ROI for customer response programs.

Contact for more information.

Pharma Marketing Can Benefit From Real Time Listening


There are dozens of social media listening products and services on the market, thousands of identifiable medical/health related websites, creating hundreds of thousands of patient discussions online everyday with growth trending upward .

Pharma marketers have started to utilize new technologies (cloud applications, social media, text analytics, predictive analytics, etc.) to create a rich resource of insight and information from the Big Data environment.  "Listening" in near real time provides awareness of what is happening with the brand.

Listening Analytics is a "best practice" initiative providing speed, relevancy, accuracy and scale are achieved with the systems being used.  Automation can rapidly handle the large and growing data sets.

Dramatically Improve Customer Conversion Rates



The goal of QwikListen is to rapidly identify the highest responding customer segments with the most profitable conversion revenue rates.

Integrating Listening Analytics with Customer Analytics generates highly scored customer segmentation groups yielding conversion rates several times higher than conventional marketing exposure programs... and it performs in near real time.  The QwikListen system is customized to identify the highest yielding micro segments.  It sets up quickly and performs continuously in near real time.

The QwikListen Pilot Test is a fast (10 day implementation), economical way to measure the potential impact of an integrated Listening and Customer Analytics program.

QwikListen is a managed service providing advanced Predictive Analytics and integrating voice of the customer data with demographic and behavior metrics to produce a large number of micro segments identifying customer groups with highly accurate scoring.

Micro Segmentation Improves Loyalty Program Effectiveness


Integrating Listening Analytics with Customer Analytics enables predicting the behavior of current and future Loyalty Members through accurate micro segmentation.  Micro segmentation accurately expands customer groups from 4 or 5 general categories to 60 or more precise customer profile groups.  Identifying relevant micro segments provides an intimate understanding of members wants and needs.  Customizing offers to each micro segment greatly improves results by providing precise offers yielding dramatically better response. Using micro segmentation can double conversion rates.

QwikListen is our new managed service that integrates Listening Analytics with Customer Analytics to generate precise micro segments and produce a high ROI.

Understanding Insight Gaps


Insight Gaps, (and I mean Gaps, plural), are growing in number, size, type and importance in many industries.  Stated simply, an Insight Gap is the difference between what you know or think you know and what your constituents are actually saying and wish you knew about your brand.

Understanding Insight Gaps can help explain shortfalls in business performance. The differences between the outcomes expected (i.e. The Plan) and the results obtained (i.e. The Actual). It's a way to explain the difference between the way things actually are (reality) versus the planned outcomes (expectations). 

Let's start with a Pharma example and a basic question: "why is something bad happening to my brand?"

Constituent experiences and opinions shift quickly.  It's critical to know how and why opinions, issues, problems, behaviors are developing about the brand in real time.  If something negative is happening to the brand, it's important to respond with immediate action to mitigate and preserve the brand.

Pharma organizations have performance monitoring capability in place: CRM, BI, KPI, ERP systems all generate reports providing great detail about brand performance by micro-segment.  Marketing research,  focus groups, surveys, customer service notes, inbound Email and web input, et al provide additional insight over time.  This provides historical comparative data between plan & actual. But it doesn't explain WHY there's a performance difference.

Constituents are discussing their experiences, opinions, sentiments and sharing it on the vast digital media outlets available.  This information is shared among them and it drives decisions and actions that impact pharma brands.  But this insight is not necessarily accessed by the pharma brand owner...thus the Insight Gap.

There is a critical need to acquire Insight about issues impacting the brand as quickly and as clearly as possible, even before negative performances occur.  This will enable decisions and actions to mitigate problems that could impact the brand.  A near real-time Listening system will provide understanding of what constituents are thinking and enable better decision management.

Effective Analysis from Listening Analytics: a New Mission for the Intelligence Community

There are tens of thousands of 'websites of interest', the various social media, and billions of discussions online with growth trending upward every day.  Hidden inside these massive unstructured data sets are important relevant insights with the potential of providing critical situational awareness to intelligence analysts.

New proven technologies (the Cloud and applications; natural language processing and text analytics; predictive analytics, etc.) have been developed that are turning Big Data chaos into a rich resource of information and insight for industry. 

The Intelligence Community needs to adopt Listening Analytics technologies to support the analysts and exploit the Big Data environment.  It is an established "best practice" in industry achieving speed, relevancy, accuracy and scale.