Beyond the Pitch
T-Pro Solutions: Forecasting Demand Using Analytics for Big Brands
Flyers touting weekly specials on bananas or cheese. Eye-catching displays at the end of the cereal aisle. Yellow “price reduced” tags dangling from the shelves of canned soup.
For anyone who’s ever stepped a foot inside a grocery store, these in-store promotions are as familiar as red potatoes or the diary case.
“There are basically three reasons a grocery shopper buys—brand loyalty, temporary price reductions, and displays,” said Terry Ziegler, CEO of T-Pro Solutions of Columbus.
T-Pro Solutions provides big data solutions that help manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPG) make better decisions and improve their return on investment from in-store promotions.
Although a young company—barely two years in operation—T-Pro’s customer roster includes leading international brands such as Kellogg’s, Tree Top, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, and Sargento.
“T-Pro Analytics software has proven to be an incredibly valuable tool, freeing our employees from ongoing manual data entry, such that they can focus their time on accurate forecasting and improved ROI. This in turn leads to happier, better-served trading partners who will view us as category leaders.”
Chuck Scott – Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
Calendar-based predictive analysis from a founding team of CPG experts
Ziegler and his two co-founders together have more than 100 cumulative years of experience in the CPG industry. They have lived their customers’ pain.
“That’s our appeal to customers. We get it that CPG manufacturers don’t necessarily want to reduce their spending on in-store promotions, it’s that they want to produce a better return,” said Ziegler.
“Typically, CPG manufacturers spend upwards of 23 percent of revenue to promote their products inside the grocery store,” he said. “That can cost the CPG industry up to $200 billion per year. That’s how big our opportunity for improvement is.”
T-Pro optimizes trade promotion with predictive business performance metrics.
CPG manufacturers already have access to incredible amounts of electronic data. The challenge is to integrate and harmonize data silos to make better business decisions based on which in-store promotions and incentives pay off and which ones don’t.
Unit and pricing data is in one silo. Syndicated (consumer and loyalty) data captured in the store and at the register is in another silo. The cost of producing a box of cereal, and the cost of reducing its price for five weeks at a Wal-Mart in Des Moines are in different silos.
Instead of using an Excel spread sheet to analyze what’s happening, T-Pro customers receive information via a friendly and easy-to-use dashboard. T-Pro’s predictive analytics platform tells CPG manufacturers which in-store promotions and incentives pay off, and which ones don’t.
“What’s the best price?” Ziegler said. “When and how long should the product be on display? What is that flyer at the door going to cause shoppers to do? With our easy-to-use software in the cloud, our customers can predict how much they are going to spend and how much they are going to sell. We give our customers the ability to do this is a fashion that is near real time and repeatable.”
T-Pro has been bold and innovative in its approach to gaining early customers—usually the greatest challenge for any startup.
T-Pro reasoned that the best way to establish a reputation, prove its value proposition, and make the significant impact on the CPG industry would be to do business with big national brands.
It wasn’t an easy strategy, but T-Pro’s perseverance paid off—100 percent T-Pro’s clients are referenceable. View the list at www.tprosolutions.com.
“The exciting thing is that our customers are using T-Pro Analytics as we intended. They are finding value out of it. That’s the most rewarding thing we could have happen,” said Ziegler.
T-Pro has grown to eight employees and anticipate creating another three jobs by year’s end.
“We are seeing that seeing is believing,” he said. “We have clients that have realized significant, true financial results. We and they have the numbers. Our momentum is accelerating because those big names have faith in us.”
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