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The Benefits of Automating Grocery Merchandising Analysis

SphereGen Case Study

Our client, a large grocery Distributor, was having trouble producing merchandising reports on a timely basis due to an old process built on unreliable macros. The report delivered vital information to their customers which resulted in optimization of sales.

By automating the report using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), our customer was able to deliver the report every day as needed, resulting in a large time savings for their staff and an improvement in customer satisfaction.

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The Benefits
of Automating
Grocery Merchandising Analysis

SphereGen Case Study

Our client, a large grocery Distributor, was having trouble producing merchandising reports on a timely basis due to an old process built on unreliable macros. The report delivered vital information to their customers which resulted in optimization of sales.

By automating the report using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), our customer was able to deliver the report every day as needed, resulting in a large time savings for their staff and an improvement in customer satisfaction.

O V E R V I E W

A large grocer distributor produced daily merchandising reports for their customers. The distributor’s customers (independent grocers) did not utilize schematics for their merchandizing. To help provide valuable merchandizing insight for their customers, the merchandizer support team produced a categorized and ranked report of the fastest moving items. Their customers could then cut those items into their orders.

The report also informed their customers about items that may not be available, preempting costly customer service time and potential lost sales. This insight proved so popular with their customers that the report was requested to be delivered daily.

Challenges

The resulting emphasis and demand by their customers to get this information on a daily timeframe, required a dedicated staff member to spend a significant portion of their workday pulling, aggregating, and preparing the data to send. If this staff member was unavailable for any reason and the reports weren’t sent, the customers responded negatively. Further resourcing challenges were caused by the complex macros which had been created to access the large datasets needed for the report. Frequent crashes resulted in manual re-work to complete the process costing the distributor many hours in lost time.

SOLUTION

The nature of this report involves tedious manual steps, coupled with instability of the macros, made this process an ideal automation candidate. SphereGen worked with the Distributor to design a solution replacing the macros with SQL and automating all the manual aggregation, formatting, and communication steps.

With the elimination of manual steps, technical delays, and associated inaccuracies, hundreds of hours were freed up annually for the staff member tasked with the process. Customers’ expectations are being met as they reliably receive this information every day.

RESULTS

3 Hours Saved
Each Day

Improved Customer
Relationships

Increased Sales for
Distributor and Customers

THE DETAILS​

SphereGen’s automation team worked very closely with the business process owner and subject matter experts to define the current process with both its benefits and challenges.

Implementing SQL to Replace Macros

Our solution architect worked with the Distributor’s IT team to leverage SQL to securely, reliably, and efficiently pull the required data. By reverse-engineering the existing macros, the developer was able to successfully implement SQL and embed the logic and other related code directly into the automation.

Testing and Deploying to Production

Once the automation was built, our team worked with the process owner to test and refine the resulting report and automation process notifications before deploying to production.

CONCLUSION

This automation provides a win-win situation for both the Distributor and their customers.

By automating the generation of the merchandising report, the Distributor easily produces the report daily with little effort. Now that the information is provided in a timely and reliable manner, the Distributor has strengthened its business relationships with their customers, as customers experience benefits in optimized sales volume and reduced customer service costs. When customers’ sales are increased, the Distributor also realizes increased sales.

Their internal merchandizing team has already utilized the time freed up from manual tasks to develop further opportunities for optimization.

SphereGen is a unique solutions provider that specializes in cloud-based applications, custom web/mobile apps, Intelligent Automation and Extended Reality (AR/VR/MR). We offer full-stack custom application development to help customers employ innovative technology to solve business problems.

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