By Glenn Batty, Group Technology Director, Bezier
At bezier, we pride ourselves on understanding what our clients want and the pressures that they face. The retail world is a fiercely competitive place and it’s critical to stay one step ahead of the competition.
A key factor in staying one step ahead is constant two-way communication with our clients. A recent survey of more than 50 leading retailers has revealed that shorter lead times for the delivery of point of purchase (POP) materials is top of the retailers most wanted list in 2007 and beyond.
ASDA, Boots, Thresher, Coca-Cola and Homebase were among the big brands that were questioned about the ever changing world of POP and 88 per cent said that as the need grows for brands and retailers to be ever more responsive to their competitors and the market place, lead times for the turnaround of POP materials must become shorter.
From those questioned the retailers gave reasons such as the increasing pressures of reactive retail, secrecy, and the utilisation of IT orientated systems making the process far more accessible and user-friendly and shorter lead times a reality.
Many of our clients are predicating that POP lead times will shorten by necessity, coupled with the fact that promotions are being agreed even later and so too is the manufacturing.
bezier has been reacting to shorter lead times for some time. We understand that decisions on promotions are increasingly made at the eleventh hour in order to beat the competition.
We are already working closely with many of our clients to further reduce turnaround times on POP through innovative ordering systems, which will help us to continue to shape our service model.
POP is a hugely influential marketing tool so it’s crucial that we assist our clients in communicating the right message, in the correct format and at the right time.
Our eSolutions team has already developed a unique variable data solution which allows the automation of POP production based on pre-determined templates and client data.
PAWS (POP Automated Web Service) works by taking a variety of independent data sources data and combining these with high quality InDesign templates to create proof and print ready artwork - to simplify the process of acquiring in-store communication materials and thereby helping to reduce lead-times.
This is a significant achievement for the eSolutions division. It is an extremely powerful and flexible piece of software devised completely by us, which can be re-used in a variety of circumstances. It has already helped a number of our clients to drive time and cost out of the POP procurement process.
One retail giant that is already feeling the benefits of shorter lead times is Homebase. We successfully launched an innovative website with Homebase to make ordering and delivery of POP simpler for stores.
The fully interactive system has streamlined the ordering process and as a result staff in store can now use the site to search, see and order individual pieces of POP directly – all in a simple step by step fashion.
The increased flexibility in the new system means that gaps within displays can be filled quickly. It demonstrates to store staff what a good display looks like and how it should be displayed as well as increasing in-store compliance and reducing wastage.
Homebase appear to be delighted with the new system. Over 90% are now using the system and 94 per cent of the stores say it has made it ‘significantly easier’ to search and order for missing and damaged POP.
The retail giant will soon be able to add further functionality that enables each store to view its own profile, thereby helping us to increase accuracy of our despatches and to reduce POP wastage.
The new system is the result of their ‘POS Step Change’ programme designed to increase accuracy, make POS easier to order for store staff and to make store processes more efficient; in effect, minimising lead times as much as possible.
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