John Madalon

Why the Beverage Industry Needs a Data Exchange – John Madalon

Why the Beverage Industry Needs a Data Exchange

John Madalon

JULY 6, 2020

Data is arguably the most valuable asset in the world today. We have had countless meetings with suppliers, distributors and retailers in the Beverage Industry ecosystem regarding how to harness the value of data in order to enable better decision making and hear consistently about these four major themes when it comes to data:

Data Accuracy: It is pretty much agreed that sound business decisions are based on clean and accurate data. One of the largest repeating messages that we hear from the market is the need for improving the data communicated between distributors and suppliers. Product definitions, value added packaging, special promotional items and vintages are some of the common reasons for differences. Because each party looks at the data through a different lens, miscommunication often occurs. These issues compound when you add in differences in store definitions, promotional support and other activities. We conservatively estimate that 5-10% of the data is misread. The downstream effect is that most beverage suppliers have serious data accuracy issues.

Data Governance: There are a multitude of facets when it comes to defining data governance including data quality, privacy and metadata management. One of the first steps is create an inventory of your valuable data assets. Within the Beverage Industry the major data governance issue is a lack of data visibility and data transparency between supply chain partners. We believe the importance of certifying data accuracy is at the core of excellent data governance. Without governance and certification of their data, every CEO, CFO and CIO do not know if the profitability, historical performance, or forecasts on future growth are correct. The ramifications of errors are profound to both the organization as well as the employee.

Data Flexibility: Within the Beverage Industry basic depletion data is most commonly shared between suppliers and distributors. Retail sales (POS) data is shared less frequently between partners. Beyond making it easier to share the base data, beverage companies are interested in incorporating other types of data including syndicator, e-commerce, mobile activity, social and survey data sources. Every day, organizations are seeking other data to incorporate into their decision making, as well as wanting to feed the data into new and innovative AI and machine learning tools.

The other common flexibility request is the ability to output data to any system that could be optimized from the data. Common systems that could benefit from the data includes business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management.

Choice: The most repetitive theme from our meetings with beverage companies is the ability to have choice. Technology continues to move at lightspeed and relying on a single black box provider for data is counterintuitive. Beverage companies want the freedom to select the right application or data solution that meets their business needs. We see the partner network that we are building as the best way to build the easy plug-and-play approach to data. In the end, the market will determine the best in class tools – it is our job to make sure that plenty of players are available to easily connect to useful, clean, harmonized and certified datasets.

So after hearing these four themes consistently, we listened to the industry. Last month we launched the Aperity Beverage Data Exchange, a cloud-based data solution that allows brands, distributors and retailers to rapidly share and consume data with their supply chain partners in order to gain business insights. The launch has been positively received by the Beverage Industry including data consumers (suppliers, distributors, retailers) and complementary marketplace partners (application, consulting). By addressing data accuracy, governance, flexibility and choice, the Beverage Data Exchange enhances their ability to collaborate up and down the supply chain and represents a fundamental shift from a closed ecosystem to an open platform. Our open, inclusive marketplace puts our customers back in control, allowing them to see and touch their data at every step of the process.

Data is and is going to remain the world’s most valuable asset for years to come and it is time to truly change the landscape and transform how we share it.