Managing the provision of EPOS data

Many manufacturers only have direct access to their own data of orders and shipments to customers or wholesalers. Whilst this is valuable, it only gives a partial picture of actual consumer sales – particularly during periods of promotional activity which can see pre-buying by retailers which may or may not reflect the actual consumer offtake accurately.

Many large retailers in the UK now share their EPOS data with their major suppliers. However, each of the major retailers provides this data in a different way. In some cases it is available for download in spreadsheets or text files from their website, sometimes it is e-mailed, sometimes it can be queried from a retailer-specific system etc. Inevitably the data is in a different format from each retailer and surprisingly few include standard EAN codes in the data, meaning that the manufacturer has to map the retailer’s codes to their own. As this data is typically provided on a weekly basis, and formats change from time to time, managing the download and assembly of this data is a significant burden.

For a major supplier of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), Golden Orb has taken on that administrative burden, downloading or otherwise extracting the data from the various suppliers’ sites, mapping codes for products, time periods etc. to build a consistent database using common codes across all retailers. New products are going on sale the whole time, of course, so each week the manufacturer is supplied with a list of unrecognised codes which they need to map to their internal codes. To facilitate this, we have developed a visual mapping tool which allows users to narrow down the range of possible choices quickly and map one code to another with a simple click of the mouse.

This provision of data is provided as a service, so Golden Orb monitor the retailer sites and manage any changes to data formats etc. The client is simply provided with a clean database containing all of the data from all retailers on a fully mapped and consistent basis. This then allows our client to concentrate on their business of designing superior products and marketing them as effectively as possible.