Given the continually evolving business needs of today’s FMCG companies globally, Promax continues to build on their extensive library of questions to assist our clients in understanding the vast capabilities of the Promax solution. When evaluating the need for a Trade Promotion Management (TPM), Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO) or Volume Planning solution, many companies are required to compile an RFP document in order to capture the complex and sometimes unique aspects of their business. If you require assistance in compiling an RFP document, please contact our highly experienced team of TPM and TPO specialists. Our FAQs have been sorted into specific categories to help you in finding the answer to your questions quickly. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please contact us and we’ll be happy to respond directly and add your question to our library.
We at Promax understand that sometimes you may need to do further investigations prior to paying a claim in full. The system has therefore been designed to be flexible. With Promax Advanced you do not need to pay the entire claim against one promotion. However, if you do decide to reduce the amount of the final payment, you will also need to adjust the allocated amount, which will default to the full amount. Promax also offers you two payment options - you can use Auto Pay, or key in the amount to pay in the payments table. You can also manually override the spend amount, tax amount and pay amount. The tax amount may need to be changed when there are different components of a promotion that have varying tax rates. If you decide to use the Auto Pay functionality, you can avail the following options:
Once payments are made, a payment history will be recorded so that you can keep track of all your payments. A payment entry history report lists the promotion and term payments made, by date within account. It can be used to check daily activity. Please refer to the Promax Analytics and Reporting section in the Solutions section or download the Promax Advanced Reporting and Analysis white paper for more information.
Pay Proportional (Planned) - It will allocate the claim amount based on what you have planned. This will mean the accrual by SKU is reduced proportionately.
Promax Advanced allows users to attach notes explaining the rationale for deductions.
Promax Advanced allows for different payment types to be set up per promotion defaulted by the type of deal that the user has selected. Promax Advanced will automatically assign the appropriate payment type based on the promotion planners input when the claim is processed. The claims processor has the ability to override the payment type provided the system has been set up to allow this choice. Promax Advanced has the option of paying by:
Any amount that is paid by deduction will automatically be treated as an adjustment note. Tax invoices will be handled through the other methods. All claims processed within Promax Advanced will be interfaced with the ERP system to ensure that there is no double entry or duplication of effort. Third party customers or vendors (as defined in Promax Advanced) can be paid by the system using the vendor list. This allows promotions to be set up at one level and paid to another. For example, the promotion is given to all customers under a specific level in the hierarchy, but payment needs to be made to the individual store or banner. This element of Promax Advanced functionality can be deployed along with the rest of the solution as part of the initial scope of the implementation (for relatively little additional effort) or during a subsequent phase.
Promax Advanced allows you to select several methods of payment including:
Not all pay methods are valid for every transaction type. If the pay method selected is not valid, a message saying - ’Invalid payment method’ - will appear on the screen and you will not be able to pay. These settings may be set specific to your account or product hierarchies.
Many promotions are based on deferred terms. Promax offers extensive functionality for the calculation of accruals and the ability to deal with retrospective payments. The extensive range of transaction types or trade spends within Promax deals with the majority of trading conditions that FMCG customers experience. Discounts that are given off the invoice and those that are paid on performance based on retail sell-out data or point-of-sale are dealt with in the Promax Advanced environment. Promax Advanced is notable for its flexibility of transaction types, accrual methods and payments/ deductions.
Yes, core to the design of Promax is the creation of a rich set of business metrics and reports that are presented to the user through a graphical and tabular display. Advanced tools assist in the creation of budgets and extensive reporting capabilities show the performance of key business measures against these budgets. Typically, this would include budgets for sales, volume, spend and profit. Promax reports in considerable detail on each of these metrics and enables revisions to be quickly implemented and modeled. Promax includes a complete set of features for your entire reporting, query and analysis needs. It provides an infrastructure for your organization to build and deliver enterprise reporting and analysis solutions in either client/server, Web-based or through hosted application environments
Promax is an integrated environment that allows businesses to model, optimize, forecast, budget, execute, manage and measure product and customer performance within one country or across the globe. As a fully integrated promotions planning, claims processing, budgeting and trade spend management system, Promax eliminates data duplication through the use of a centralized data source. In a Promax environment, the need for a manual spreadsheet, data duplication and disparate systems is eliminated. Promax forms a central repository for sales planning and trade spend management and easily communicates information to other systems through automated interfaces.
Promax Advanced Insight is a complete product suite for your entire reporting, query and analysis needs. It provides the infrastructure for your organization to build and deliver enterprise reporting and analysis solutions in either client/server, web-based or through hosted application environments. Promax Analytics accelerates the analysis of your Promax TPM data and offers the capability to monitor key performance indicators and understand past performance, identify trends, anomalies and opportunities. It comprises four main components:
Designed for advanced users wanting to perform free-form analysis and design reports for browser and dashboard users, this is a full featured OLAP and relational analysis and reporting facility.
Provides simplified access to reports and analytics created using the Builder facility.
Provides a snap shot of relevant performance details integrated in a web portal using Microsoft SharePoint.
Provides the power and flexibility of PROMAX Analytics Builder while retaining the familiarity and ease of use of Microsoft Excel.
This is the most powerful way to conduct performance-based analysis on your trade promotions management information. The OLAP analysis utilizes Microsoft analysis services, the industry standard for multidimensional analysis. Some of the significant features of OLAP analysis include:
OLAP analysis delivers tables, charts and reports from multidimensional data sources including the predefined Promax cube. This cube can be modified and other cubes can be added to meet the specific requirements of your business.
Relational analysis, combined with an advanced method metadata layer, eliminates the complexity of reporting from relational databases. The metadata layer allows database administrators to describe complex databases with a simple source of information. These tools are flexible and can provide anything from a simple product list to a complex financial analysis of promotional information. Promax Analytics uses a wizard approach for building analytics, providing the most powerful analytic capabilities on the market, while hiding unnecessary complexity from the run time interface. Some of the feature highlights include:
Promax Analytics Dashboards provide a snapshot of relevant performance details such as transaction alerts, trade spend, sales forecasts and budget in a simple and easy to understand format. The Dashboards interface can be tailored to display a combination of reports, graphs, drill paths, trend analysis, dials, alerts and key performance indicators into a configuration that best suits the needs of specific job roles. It provides an infrastructure to build and deliver enterprise reporting and analysis solutions in either client/server, web-based or through hosted application environments. Elements can also be shared with audience outside the enterprise, including customers and suppliers. Unlike most business intelligence web parts in the market, the Promax web parts are an integrated extension of Promax Analytics, making it possible for the dashboards to be created and modified by analysts and power users, not just IT specialists.
Microsoft has taken the business intelligence market by storm, gaining leadership in most facets associated with delivering insights across the organization. Promax leverages these Microsoft technologies, such as SQL Server, Analysis Server and Sharepoint, to enable low total cost of ownership and reliable forward development.
Promax provides the capability to create a total volume plan for the business in volume and value terms. As Promax integrates detailed granularity of data such as list price, promotion price and terms, the volume plan is able to reflect accurate gross margin projection. It should be noted that Promax’s approach to forecasting reflects specific requirements of the consumer products industry and a tight integration to the promotional planning aspects is inherent in the application.
Promax Advanced allows for the creation of multiple versions of budgets. Presently there are no reports written to compare different versions, but this could be easily managed using Promax Analytics.
The Promax Advanced solution can assist the business in streamlining the budget development process. The solution eliminates the reliance on Excel for developing the budget. The budgeting functionality allows the user to develop a detailed budget that considers a variety of factors such as cost changes, price changes etc. The budget can be developed at a high-level (e.g. total division) and leveraged across the account hierarchy and the aggregated back up.
Promax supports spend management in a variety of ways.
The Promax Advanced solution is designed to be scalable and flexible and can therefore adapt to the business requirements. For example, the solution allows the user to modify the accounting structure, deal type, calendars and other elements using standard functionality.
Promax dedicates a significant amount of resources into the research and development (R&D) of our products with client requests being a key element of this R&D effort. Promax Advanced functionality upgrades are released bi-annually. Hot patches are made available as required to correct incidents and bugs of a critical nature.
Our consulting team is highly experienced with skills in implementing the Promax Advanced solution and also has a strong understanding of the CPG industry and processes within TPM and Demand Planning. The consulting team is supported internally by the Promax helpdesk and the technical team.
Promax has a development strategy to release a new major release (e.g. V9, V10 etc.) every 18 months to 2 years and a minor release once every 3 to 6 months. Patch versions are typically released monthly unless urgently required.
The process of requesting a modification entails either a conversation or written request to your consultant or customer service representative. This request should be in the form of a functional specification. The functional specification is then assessed for feasibility by our development team. Once it is ascertained that the requested customization is feasible and does not breach any intellectual property rights, a technical specification is developed. This technical specification is developed by the Promax development team by referring to the requirements of the functional specification. Promax charges for the development of this technical specification on a time and materials basis at the consulting rates specified in the pricing agreement. Once completed, the technical specification is submitted to the client for approval and the effort required for programming is estimated. A quotation is provided to you for the development of the customization. This will include a cost for programming and subsequent testing. Variants to the technical specification for all functional requirements will result in additional costs that are generally charged on a time and materials basis at the consulting rates specified in the pricing agreement. The customized software is shipped to you for your testing and once approved is included within the standard application.
Wipro Promax has a large team of experienced trade spend specialists to support clients during and beyond the implementation project. Our team consists of implementation consultants who have worked in the industry using our trade spend management solutions. They offer onsite consultancy visits to assist our clients with implementation and maintenance. Our support staff is also available to assist our clients on site with major technical issues. We have consultants in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany and the USA.
Promax offers technical support in all their office locations across the globe. Customers are able to log their issues via the contact us page. We manage our support issues with specialized helpline software and have received excellent feedback for our support from customers. During the course of an implementation, our expert consultants constantly communicate with you and are able to assist in resolving immediate issues. They are supported by our customer service staff and development team.
Promax Advanced stores all forecasts in this format.
Our consulting team is highly experienced with skills in implementing the Promax Advanced solution and also have a strong understanding of the CPG industry and processes within TPM and Demand Planning. The consulting team is supported internally by the Promax Helpdesk and the technical team.
Promax Advanced allows manual overrides for forecasted values. Text fields are available for each promotion to enter notes and details for the reasons for this adjustment.
Promax Advanced is able to provide forecasts and sales history at both the cases and units as a base level. Promax Advanced holds information on:
Using this information combined with the cost of trade spend related activity, Promax Advanced is able to forecast both gross sales and net sales. The Promax Advanced database holds both the forecast and actual sales information allowing a closing a position (outlook) for the financial period to be calculated. Promax BI (OLAP Data Cube) allows multiple calculations to be performed using these measures providing limitless configurability and customization for review and forecast reporting.
Promax Advanced can provide an ex-factory forecast which will be modeled using previous sales history.
Forecasting methodology data modeling for forecasting and uplift prediction: The forecast model fitting engine used in Promax is based on a non-linear multiple regression technique with a collection of algorithmic forms that can resolve a ‘best fit’ model through competitive testing of each model. A collection of models is provided that are generally considered to be suitable for most data sets. For example, a trend-seasonal model that observes volume as a dependent variable and price as an independent variable where price/volume response is linear is a typical basic requirement. The model would have the form - Volume = level_coef + period*trend_coef + season*season_coef + price*price_coef Expressed generally; Y = a + bX1 + cX2 + dX3 where a, b, c and d are the coefficients and X1 is period, X2 is season and X3 is price. This model is a simplistic approach and produces moderate accuracy. The power of the Promax forecasting engine allows the user to incorporate advanced non-linear models to base forecasts on non-linear price responses, multiplicative seasonality and multiple causal factors. A more complex model may be - Y = a + b*X1 + c*X2 + d*X3 + e*X32 where a, b, c, d and e are the coefficients and X1 is period, X2 is season and X3 is price. This incorporates a non-linear price response. A multiplicative non-linear model such as - Y = (x1*a+x2*b)*x3^c*x4^d*x5^e*x6^f + g where a, b, c, d, e, f and g are the coefficients and X1 is period, X2 is season and X3 is price, x4, x5 and x6 is independent causal factors such as catalogue, display or event. This model is quite complex and demonstrates the power and flexibility of the forecasting and modeling engine to use almost any algorithmic form.
User defined models - The system is supplied with a library of forecast algorithms that have been tested by Promax and have proven to give high accuracy against typical FMCG datasets. However, the users have the ability to incorporate their own models, derived from in house research, which produce more accurate co-efficients. In addition, Promax can incorporate algorithms and co-efficients produced externally to create statistical forecasts. These externally created models may be the results of analytical services from organizations such as ACNielsen or other data providers.
Goodness of fit: Measures of ‘goodness of fit’ are extensive and include:
Promax Advanced uses a library of forecasting techniques that derive statistical forecasts for promotional uplift and baseline sales. The choice of technique is determined by the source of data which can vary from POS Scan data from AC Nielsen or Synovate/Aztec to warehouse withdrawal information or ex-factory sales. Promax Advanced allows the user to define forecast algorithms and has a library of algorithmic forms on which it employs a tournament system to recommend the best model based on ‘goodness of fit’. The recommendation can be ranked by a number of measures including standard error, correlation co-efficient or residual. Promax Advanced uses non-linear regression as the foundation of the modeling approach and Promax has devised a flexible and specific approach that is tailored to the needs of both the forecaster and the trade promotions planner. The modeling of scan data includes imbedded technology to filter the historical data into its key elements. The sales pattern is made up of elements such as trend, seasonality, baseline and promotions. These elements are affected by selling price, display, marketing vehicle, advertising and peripheral events such as competitor promotions, community calendars (public holidays, Easter holiday etc.). The causal components can themselves have effect on the baseline or the promotional uplift and the modeling engine needs to be able to distinguish between them. At Promax we see this as essential - modeling through a tournament method which tests many algorithmic forms to determine the ‘best’ one that describes the pattern of sales. With this approach each product/account combination could have a different model. It gives the user the ability to use models developed by others including syndicated data providers (ACNielsen, IRI or Synovate/Aztec) and leveraging your previously made analytics investment. The solution design allows sales users to easily select / enter the model parameters when developing promotional plans which seamlessly flows into the development of a sales forecast to ensure a ‘one number’ approach to the business.
Promax Advanced has a locked and unlocked forecast. Lead times for the locked forecast can be set globally or by account/SKU. The locked forecast calculates by default up to 11:59pm, on the day before the lockout period commences.
Promax Advanced can handle both bottom-up and top-down forecasting. Budgets and strategy plans can be created at an aggregate level. All promotional uplift and baseline outputs are at the account / SKU level. Aggregations are handled by the system by summing up the account and SKU forecast. Disaggregation is handled by the system using the statistically generated proportionate weightings of the accounts and SKUs. These weightings can be derived from EPOS data, sales (ex-factory) data or user defined values. Users can define the desired date range that the system will use to determine the weightings.
Promax Advanced stores both the statistically calculated forecast and the user entered values. Promax Business Intelligence/Analytics can be used to actively alert / report on a specified deviation from that value.
The Promax Advanced forecasting is configured by the client/consultant to achieve the level required. Forecasts can then be summarized at these levels.
Different features of Promax can be deployed to support this requirement. Promax supports the ability to work at brand level as well as aggregate levels of the customer hierarchy. Manipulations to the statistical forecast at this level (e.g. brand levels and seasonality trends) are supported.
Promax Advanced is configured to automatically track the deviation of the forecast model vs. actual data that is loaded into the system. The actual data can be drawn from a variety of sources (scan, ex-factory, warehouse withdrawal etc.). When the history interface is run, there is a background task that tracks the actual value against what has been predicted by the model. By default, Promax Advanced will allow 4 standard deviations from the standard error of the model before it highlights that the model needs to be recalculated. The Standard Error Multiplier (number of standard deviations) can be defined by the user if desired.
Promax Advanced calculates baseline seasonality based on past sales history. The user also has the ability to override the forecasted seasonality with manual entries if required.
The planning horizon in Promax Advanced is unlimited. However, typically a client will plan promotions for the current and subsequent financial years. There is no technical constraint. Promax provides tools to enable efficient planning by combining the activity based forecasting technique with a statistical model based on the historical invoiced sales.
Promax Advanced uses a tournament methodology to select the best fit model when selecting the ideal statistical model for an account and SKU combination. Promax Advanced will not automatically re-calculate the model or change the model’s co-efficient configuration. This needs to be done by a user and can be run as a batch process. Promax Advanced is configured to automatically track the deviation of the forecast model vs. actual data that is loaded into the system. The actuals data can be drawn from a variety of sources (scan, ex-factory, warehouse withdrawal etc.). When the actuals interface is run there is a background task that tracks the actuals information against what has been predicted by the model. By default, Promax Advanced will allow 4 standard deviations from the standard error of the model before it highlights that the model needs to be recalculated. The Standard Error Multiplier (number of standard deviations) can be defined by the user if desired. Promax Advanced is currently only configured to look at the deviation of standard error vs. actuals. However other calculations could be added.
Promax Advanced provides the client with the ability to apply adjustments that either increase or decrease the baselines as a result of marketing events. These adjustments can be centrally maintained if required.
This is fully supported within Promax Advanced and can be viewed graphically as well as numerically. The statistical modeling environment also allows users to scale some of the co-efficients within the statistical model. These coefficients can relate to the level, trend and seasonality. Products can be either trended up or down, the total demand (level) increased or decreased or the seasonality impact increased or decreased.
Promax Advanced is configured to automatically track the deviation of the forecast model vs. actuals data that is loaded into the system. The actuals data can be drawn from a variety of sources (scan, ex-factory, warehouse withdrawal etc.). When the actuals interface is run there is a background task that tracks the actuals information against what has been predicted by the model. By default, Promax Advanced will allow 4 standard deviations from the standard error of the model before it highlights that the model needs to be recalculated. The Standard Error Multiplier (number of standard deviations) can be defined by the user if desired. Promax Advanced stores both the statistically calculated forecast and the user entered values. Promax Advanced Insight can be used to actively alert or report a specified deviation from that value.
Reports on forecasted values and historical values can be created to provide a basis for comparison.
The basis of statistical modeling in Promax Advanced is to understand the historical promotional uplift associated with pricing and other causal activities at the consumption end of the supply chain. Promax can import point-of-sale data and use it as the basis of statistical modeling. These statistical models can be applied in promotion planning to predict the effect of price point and other similar mechanics on future promotional volume and trade spend.
Please see an example below:
Minimum term looking forward 48 months
0 – 12 months – Sales
13 – 36 months – Marketing
36+ months – Statistical
Promax Advanced allows the user to define the forecast horizon. The promotional forecast will exist until the point where the sales team has entered promotions into the system. If no promotions exist within Promax Advanced after a certain date, the forecast will simply be a trend and seasonality adjusted baseline with any additional adjustment made by marketing.
Promax provides a full range of forecast accuracy measures including +/- Error and MAPE which can be reported in both volume and value terms. Reports such as the Waterfall (Gantt Chart) featured in Promax Advanced provide a very useful track of accuracy over time and show the impact with relation to lead-times.
Promax Advanced is able to hold forecasts and sales history at both the cases and units as a base level. Promax Advanced holds information on:
Using this information combined with the cost of trade spend related activity Promax Advanced is able to give both a gross sales and net sales forecast. The Promax Advanced database holds both the forecast and actual sales information allowing a closing a position (Outlook) for the financial period to be calculated. Promax BI (OLAP Data Cube) allows any number of calculations to be performed using these measures providing limitless configurability and customization for review and forecast reporting. The forecast uplift can be based on either manufacturer selling out data or customer EPOS data, a mixed environment depending on the customer. Uplifts and baselines can be generated on any combination of:
The availability of retail scan data means that suppliers can now evaluate their promotions in terms of the additional sales. In this paper, we have looked at the issues surrounding this along with some of the challenges. Download the full The Mirage of Promotional Lift Case Study PDF
Promax Advanced allows the user to analyze data at any level of aggregation or disaggregation across the product and account hierarchies. All forecast information within Promax Advanced is held by planning account and SKU by week. This allows reports to be run across -
In the instances where Promax Advanced is configured to run on a pure calendar setting there are situations where the weeks within a month are not whole, for example 4.2 weeks within a month. Promax Advanced automatically apportions the volume across the required number of days to ensure that the volume is captured accurately within the reporting month.
Promax Advanced allows for forecasting as far into the future as the client requires.
Promax Advanced facilitates all of these methods. Forecasts can be adjusted up and down by a percentage, manually entered, copied and pasted and baseline values can be imported from a flat file.
At times the number of consumer units change within a case that affects the overall demand of the product. The system must be able to re-adjust the demand when there are changes to consumer units within the packaging. Promax Advanced holds the forecast by consumer unit (SKU) and uses the conversion factor (base units per saleable) to provide a forecast by cases. Promax Advanced allows changes to be easily made to the product and account attributes which includes changes to the base units per saleable. If the volume impact needs to be adjusted, Promax Advanced has the ability to scale both the baseline and promotional uplifts independently.
The Business Analysis window allows for the display of the requested forecast breakdown. Alternatively, Promax Business Intelligence/Analytics could be utilized.
Promax Advanced can handle both bottom-up and top-down forecasting. Budgets and strategy plans can be created at an aggregate level. All promotional uplift and baseline outputs are at the account / SKU Level. Aggregations are handled by the system by summing up the account and SKU forecast. Disaggregation is handled by the system using the statistically generated proportionate weightings of the accounts and SKUs. These weightings can be derived from scan data, sales data or user defined values. Users can define the desired date range that the system will use to determine the weightings.
Promax Advanced is a fully integrated promotions planning, claims processing, budgeting and trade spend management system.
Promax Advanced provides drill down functionality to interrogate data. For instance, the user can click on an individual promotion to find and modify specific details relevant to that promotion.
Promax Advanced has an integrated help file database that provides context sensitive help at the screen or dialog level.
The Promax Advanced solution is compatible with Microsoft SQL 2012 Server DB.
Promax Advanced easily supports number of users in a stable multi user environment. All users can update the database at the same time.
The Promax Advanced solution uses client server architecture. If users are to be located across a WAN the recommended network architecture typically requires two servers – a database server and a Citrix / terminal application server.
Promax Advanced supports product filtering. A product can be assigned a ‘view filter’. Each user can also be assigned a ‘view filter’. If the view filters match, the product appears in the hierarchy. If it does not match, the product is hidden from the user.
The system must realign historical data when customer or products attributes change to allow the users to compare values in a consistent manner and reflect current environmental settings. The Promax Advanced uses a database row ID for accounts and products which allows attributes to be changed without affecting the historical data stored against the records. The Promax Advanced interfacing has old code / new code functionality which will allow the replacement / update information to be sent from the ERP system and is automatically changed within Promax Advanced resulting in no double entry of data. Products and accounts can also be managed easily within Promax Advanced by using the accounts and products menus. You can edit the product and account attributes and drag and drop products and accounts to another location if desired.
Promax Advanced allows user roles to be defined (e.g. Account Manager) that have limited access to functionality. Users are then allocated a log in and password and given a user role. Additional limitation such as account and product jurisdiction can also be set up for a user.
Promax provides the ability for a product to be forecasted using the same algorithm from a related product. This could be used when a specific product or group of products has no historical data but there are other products that have similar demand attributes. This is also required when a new product is created that is replacing an existing product. Promax Advanced allows statistical models to be copied from one SKU to another. All statistical models within Promax Advanced are calculated and setup for an individual account and SKU combination.
Promax Advanced allows GST rates to be set by transactions type. This allows for the two different rates prevalent in Australia and New Zealand to be handled. There can also be different GST rates at the product level and these are handled as part of the pricing metrics.
Promax Trade Promotion Management Software
Tired of using Excel spreadsheets to attempt to manage your valuable trade promotion funds and under pressure from senior management to not only provide a best practice approach but reduce spending and improve profit margins and volume?
Promax Trade Promotion Management and Optimization solution is your savior. As with any new system, you need to do your homework and evaluate the associated costs and impacts on the business. A step-by-step plan is vital to ensure that you make the right selection and achieve a rapid return on investment. You will also need to put together a valid and robust business case to justify your recommendations for implementing this new tool. So, what should you consider?
Determine your goals - What are you trying to achieve - improved productivity, greater visibility of trade promotion effectiveness, more accurate accruals and payment systems, improved strategy planning and budget development, or more time for the sales force to concentrate on the job of signing the deals.
What impact will a new system have on the business? - Implementation process, training, user acceptance
Cost - Do you have a budget and what cost savings can you expect?
What are the other IT considerations - interfacing with your ERP, additional hardware requirements, on-premise or Cloud computing?
Software vendor experience, support and success rates
The Promax team of specialists has extensive experience in the typical Request for Proposal (RFP) process and will be able to provide you with detailed information and responses to all your questions. Contact Promax to learn more and arrange a web demonstration or register for one of our latest webinars.
The typical process of new customer set up initially commences within the company’s business system or ERP. The placing of the new customer in the hierarchy and its inclusion in the forecasting and promotional planning processes typically follows the import of the appropriate details in the batch import. If appropriate, manual creation of the account and all its associated details is fully supported through appropriate screens. Promax Advanced then allows statistical models to be copied from one SKU to another. All statistical models within Promax Advanced are calculated and setup for an individual account & SKU combination. Similarly for new products, Promax Advanced has a number of methods that can be used for new product introduction and product phase outs. The ranging functionality provides a time phased method of defining the baseline calculation / volume by account and SKU. This allows a forecaster to select from the following methods of baseline calculation:
Setting different baseline calculation methods over the product’s introduction or decline will provide a forecast profile that will match the product. Combining these functions with the ability to copy a statistical model from one account/SKU to another, new product introductions and product phase outs can be dealt with easily.
The calculation of statistical models relies on point-of-sale and invoiced sales data. It is not uncommon for this information to be ‘contaminated’ from events such as production disruptions, out of stock and data errors. Promax Advanced provides tools to edit historical information to cleanse the data and provide more reliable statistical models.
The Promax Advanced solution is based on a Microsoft SQL+ DB and therefore allows data to be easily extracted through Microsoft Office tools such as Excel or other third party report writer tools. Promax is a transaction tool and the standard database (DB) that is used by the tool stores the information in a detailed, date based format. The native DB structure is not conducive to efficient reporting or data interrogation. To assist in the reporting and data analysis process we also offer the Business Intelligence/Analytics cube – which translates the data into an OLAP Cube that allow easier and more flexible reporting. Additionally, Promax also offers the Business Intelligence/Analytics module for reporting and analysis of data. This also includes a series of predefined reports and offers dashboard functionality.
As users make modifications to data, for example saving a change to a promotion, the database is automatically updated.
The Promax Advanced solution provides alpha numeric search functionality when required.
An integral part of Promax is the ability to model the effect of promotional mechanics, e.g. price, shelf-position, and marketing spend on the forecasted uplift in sales volume. Full information on how this is done and the options are covered in the Wipro Promax white paper titled - ‘Modeling Multi-Causal Data in Promax Advanced’.
Causal factors within Promax are user-defined. Customer store numbers and store size weightings are valid options.
While understanding the effect of price and volume is challenging, the understanding of profitability is crucial to the most effective planning of promotions. Promax Advanced creates a profit/price/volume relationship for every product/customer combination. It identifies the discount at which maximum profit can be achieved and the discount level at which there is no additional benefit to not discounting. Knowledge of these parameters assists the account manager in pricing as every product has a different price elasticity curve. Promax also assists in identifying those products that may be included in a promotion but have no response to discount. Using Promax’s powerful optimization technology, the business planner can test the effects of changing promotion parameters such as frequency, pricing strategy and return on investment to determine the business outcome they desire. A range of scenarios can be created for any selection of products and these can be compared to assist in the development of a business strategy.
Promax Advanced provides users with the ability to specify trend adjustments that are applied to the baselines. They can also be manually overridden to adjust for growth and distribution changes.
The Promax Advanced statistical modeling engine is used to define both the baseline and promotional volumes that are used in all planning areas of the solution. Promax Advanced will store the statistical forecast separately so that an analysis of the statistical forecast vs. manual overwrites can be performed. The essence of advanced trade promotion management requires an understanding of consumer behavior under normal conditions and during a promotion. Normal conditions are generally considered as baseline and it is necessary to be able to de-construct the historical demand data to identify the component that makes up baseline sales. Promax Advanced has a number of statistical techniques that assist the planner in identifying and modeling baseline sales. These techniques deal with a variety of data quality conditions from advanced multi-causal statistical models based on point-of-sale information to user-defined baselines that may be used for ‘new’ products. Multiple tools allow the creation of a baseline including seasonality and trend as well as the effect of each promotion. This technique has proven to deliver a higher level of forecasting accuracy with the least amount of effort from the users. Promax presents to the supply chain management a forecast of ex-factory sales which has automatically incorporated the baseline and promotional uplift correctly timed to align with the promotional program. Promax Advanced can use multi-causal models to predict the effect of price, catalogue, display or any other causal factor that is available to improve the quality of the uplift prediction. A company adopting this approach to forecasting can expect significant improvements in forecasting accuracy over those techniques that smooth promotional effect into the baseline prediction. The extent to which forecast accuracy can be improved is a function of the environment and business process. Several Promax customers have experienced significant improvements in this area.
Some examples of data that can be used to evaluate promotions include:
Promax Advanced supports all the above data variables
Promax Advanced has the ability to export to Excel, Word, PDF, Lotus 123, CSV, Crystal, paginated text and XML formats. Promax Advanced interfaces with other systems using a set of automated interface controls. These interface controls also enable communication with field force handhelds. Other systems and middleware platforms can be supported upon request through customization.
Financial evaluation of every promotion at each stage in the cycle is paramount to the optimization of trade funds. Maximizing the return on investment from these trade funds can only be achieved by reviewing the effect on the profitability for each promotion planned. Each promotional event has its own financial statement that reflects the life of a promotion. The financial summary shows the planner a comparison between normal sales and those during the promotion. This financial summary can be configured to match the financial criteria that are commonly used within the client’s specific environment. Typically we would see a waterfall of trade spend components which can include • Gross sales • Discount • Net sales • Volume • Trade spend • Co-op • Case deal • Terms • Total trade spend • Total trade spend percentage • Gross profit • Gross profit percentage • Case deal per volume • Return on investment (ROI) • Efficiency • Effectiveness • Retail sales • Retail volume • Retail profit • Retail profit percentage • Percent reduction from the shelf price.
These financial measures are captured when the promotion is planned, updated during the promotion and finalized when the promotion is closed and all payments have been made. The traffic light evaluation criteria compare the promotion with management parameters of key performance criteria. These key criteria include • cost per volume • spend per promotion • spend percentage per promotion • return on investment • retailer profit percentage • retailer profit percentage including co-op. Promax compares these criteria and assesses the promotion. A green light is given when all criteria are passed. If the promotion fails the management test then it may be given an amber or red signal depending on the degree to which it fails. Promax highlights to the user the criteria under which the promotion has failed giving the planner an opportunity to correct promotions pricing and spend to meet the criteria defined.
Promax provides full volume / value analysis both during the planning phase of the promotion and during and post the event. Our clients typically define key metrics (volume and value based) that determine the success criteria for any promotion. These criteria can be defined at different levels and combinations of product, brand, retailer, and category levels. Color coded (traffic light) identification integrated to the work-flow approval process highlights any non-conformance. Full financial information for detailed analysis is provided throughout Promax in graphical and numerical formats and via onscreen, reports or OLAP data cube capability.
Key performance criteria that can be tracked and managed include: Spend percent promotion, Spend percent promotion incremental, co-op (gate fee) funding as a percentage, co-op (gate fee) funding as a value, case deal percentage, gross profit percentage, incremental gross profit percentage, cost per volume, case deal per volume, ROI measure, retailers profit percentage , retail profit percentage including co-op, reduction in percentage from shelf price, effectiveness measure, efficiency measure, incremental volume percentage , sales contribution percentage , nett into store per unit.
Promax Advanced has extensive what if simulation capabilities for the account manager to simulate the effect of unplanned customer self-funded promotions. There are many areas of the application that provide functionality for these types of simulations. The integration of statistical modeling gives the account manager immediate feedback of the effect of these types of activities on the baseline sales along with a financial analysis of the impact of such activities
Promax Advanced allows the business to plan and track the financial costs of loyalty programs. For example, the system will allow the business to track the cost of cash backs through redemption rates. The solution doesn’t have the facility to track individual consumer loyalty points.
Here we describe the process that Promax implements. It is a closed-loop process, whereby the supply chain is part of the promotion process with open communication between sales and marketing, supply chain, and finance. When promotions are planned, sales and marketing need to inform the supply chain to ensure that manufacturing produces the anticipated lift amount. Likewise, when the promotion is executed, the supply chain needs to be involved in ensuring that the promoted products are available at the appropriate locations at the right time. After the promotion, the actual results need to be fed back into sales and marketing for the next round of planning. These internal integrations are crucial to the success of a promotion. Often, the only internal integration that is realized is the one to financials, to allow for proper settlement. While important, closing the loop with other internal disciplines such as production and supply chain will ultimately improve future promotion cycles, as better planning and execution are enabled. Promax views TPM as a strategic platform for companies operating in a global market place. TPM is not a set of tactically siloed decisions disparately resolving price, event and financial issues. Promax sees TPM as an integrated environment that allows businesses to model, optimize, forecast, budget, execute, manage and measure product and customer performance within one country or across the globe. Promax has developed a TPM system (Promax-Advanced) that achieves this vision today and has taken it beyond the traditional boundaries of trade spend management to incorporate sophisticated optimization and causal modeling to give more accurate predictions of consumer off take. Promax has led the way in trade spend control and evaluation for 20 years. We have developed approaches that allow our clients to model entire promotional programs, as well as individual promotions. We have leveraged the advent of scan data in recent years to predict consumer behavior. From an initial prediction based primarily on price, we have incorporated multiple causals. This will raise the bar on the accuracy that can be achieved with trade spend forecasting, accrual accuracy and production forecasting. More recently we have moved to enable higher level planning to enable account managers to model promotional programs accurately and effortlessly. We are also working in the area of optimization, where we are able to apply corporate goals to the consumer response data, and ascertain how to deliver these goals while maximizing profit, and minimizing trade spend.
The Promax Advanced sales Gantt report and Gantt view clearly show promotional clashes. Promax Advanced allows the user to define customers for which they need to avoid clashing promotions. For example, if Customers 1 and 2 are defined as clash customers for Customer 3, the user will be notified of a clash when they save or confirm a promotion.
Creating time for business managers to focus on the customer has been one of the key outcomes from many Promax implementations. Some of the testimonials given below from Promax customers specifically comment on this aspect. Promax provides real time visibility resulting in significant improvement in our promotional performance as we can see what promotions add value, what works and what doesn’t.
“Promax streamlined our entire TPM sales planning process, integrating information across the company enabling communication of promotional plans to the field teams of over 130 people.” Sales Director, Pernod Ricard New Zealand
Promax Advanced fully supports buying rules and patterns. It is also possible to load similar products as part of a multi-causal model to measure cannibalization.
Promax Advanced allows the user copy multiple promotions at one time. The copy to date range function allows a user to copy a selected promotion and paste it across selected multiple dates. Promax allows users to copy, move and delete promotions, calculate/ retrieve baseline and have ave multiple working promotional programs. Promax Advanced allows for two stages of planning - strategic and tactical. The strategic plans are created in the pre-planner module and allow for multiple versions to be created and saved. Tactical plans are created in the promotional planning window and become the day-to-day operating plan for the promotional program; because of which there can be only one version of the promotional plan
Companies seeking to measure promotions have talked about efficiency and effectiveness. It is critical to define these terms. The term efficiency can be used to relate to the overall promotional program – a period of time that is reasonably long, and the inclusion of all promotional costs for a number of promotions compared to the total sales over that period. On this basis, efficiency is a measure of the average cost of trade spend. To relate this to a single promotion, the promotional costs can be expressed as a percentage of the sales on that promotion. Individual promotional efficiencies would be related to the overall promotional program efficiency in terms of the frequency with which that promotion is repeated. To use an example, if a single promotion has an efficiency cost of 20% to sales, and the frequency is such that 30% of the total sales in a period are on a promotion, then the overall efficiency will be 6% of sales. Effectiveness relates to any gain in sales achieved by the promotion, and can be measured in terms of the costs to achieve that gain. A simple theoretical model using real world price/volume relationships indicates that efficiency and effectiveness can have a minimum point - that there are optimum price points. It also indicates that both measures reach a minimum at about the same price point. This suggests that if you optimize effectiveness you will optimize efficiency at the same time. Download the full document – ‘A quick outline of the Promotional Planning framework’ Case Study PDF
Promax Advanced allows the creation of custom external events. The coverage of these events depends on their type - global (national), state or account.
Promax Advanced can generate retailer specific submission files in a variety of formats. However, the specific configuration required by each client may require some modification.
Promax provides a full suite of integrated promotions optimization, planning and control. As promotions are, via work-flow driven approvals, elevated from one status to the other the corresponding information e.g. date of promotion start and end, forecasted volume, profit, phasing can be used to drive production planning and be a significant input into a sales and operations planning process. The status of promotional activity can be defined as ‘Scenario planning only’, ‘Planned’, ‘Pending Approval’, ‘Confirmed’, ‘In-Dispute’ or ‘Closed’. For constrained planning, the Promax Business Intelligence/Analytics module will allow the recording of the constrained plans of the business and compare these to the current sales plans. Usually the development of the constrained plan is carried out in a (Supply Chain and Planning (SCP) solution (such as Logility or Oracle) and considers factors such as raw material availability, production capacities etc. This information can then be imported into Promax. The underlying principle of this approach is continuous improvement through a robust (Sales and Order Processing (S&OP) process that allows the business to firstly identify the best cases for both demand and supply. Strategies and actions are put in place if there is a gap. For instance – if demand cannot be met then account managers are notified and promotions may be scaled down or dropped. Alternatively, if supply exceeds demand then additional promotions or greater discounts may be offered to increase demand and therefore reduce any over supplies.
Promotions have been a regular part of the grocery retailing scene for over 30 years. It was understood that that a promotion was run so that the rate of sale after the promotion would be higher than before With scan data readily available (sales through the cash register) we realize that this is not something that can be guaranteed, and vast majority of products appear to continue with precisely the same sales pattern as existed prior to the promotion. If it is in a growth cycle, that probably continues, if it is in decline, that also continues. Why then do we promote?
This is fully supported within Promax Advanced and can be managed and viewed at brand or any other level of the product hierarchy level.
Please refer to the white paper titled - ‘What's a good promotion’. Promax has a number of methods to deal with cannibalization of volume forecasts. The white paper outlines the theory and methodology behind the Promax approach. The current release of the software provides a holistic functionality for effect of cannibalization on volume forecast
This is fully supported. Promax uses causal factors to create promotional uplift and will breakdown each constituent component into an element of lift.
Fundamental to the analysis of promotional effectiveness is the understanding of the difference between normal conditions and those under promotion. This forms the core of Promax's approach to promotional planning. From the process of planning a detailed promotion to the many ways of developing scenarios within the application, Promax analyses the difference between ‘do nothing’ and that of a promotion and provides a comprehensive financial analysis of the outcomes.
Visibility of customer profitability is a key outcome from Promax. From a strategic perspective, Promax allows the analysis of customer profitability and the optimization of pricing strategies to maximize the bottom-line outcome for the company and its trading partners. Throughout all stages of planning within Promax Advanced (strategic and tactical) the financial outcomes of the promotional plans are available. These results show information about the profitability of the deal for organization and retailer. This allows the user to ensure that desired customer profitability targets are met. Analysis of customer profitability occurs in the planning, execution and post event phases of the promotional program. Powerful goal seeking functionality allows the user to create promotional plans that meet the desired financial goals in a quick and efficient manner.
Given below is an example of the anticipated ROI that can be achieved in the various impact areas.
Component impact area: Percentage of ROI savings
Prediction of promotional event ROI denial of spending; reduction of spending for ‘bad’ events: 40%
Reduced deductions, clean invoicing and accounts receivable. Reduced paperwork handling, enquiries, and accounting staff: 30%
Forecasting accuracy, prediction of promotion event spike volume and timing - Better prediction of promotional lift and baseline sales; lower finished goods inventory; less direct labor; higher customer service levels; higher sales: 20%
Other business efficiencies - Reduced time spent reacting to problems; crisis meetings; digging for missing promotion information: 10%
Promax promotion optimization technology will assist clients to reveal opportunities for the more effective application of trade spend budget. Customers that have applied this approach to their business have achieved gross profit improvements upto 5%. The extent to which our clients can expect improvements of this magnitude will be driven by the decisions made by the business and profit targets may not be the sole objective for the business. Promax optimization technology will allow clients to model alternative scenarios and construct a promotional strategy that is targeted at the business objectives. The ROI from a Promax project of reasonable size should see the project investment returned within a year from the ‘go live’ milestone.
Periodically the business needs to develop a new strategy for the next budget period. The Promax Advanced strategy planner is the ideal tool to enable the account manager to model a variety of approaches to the promotional program for the new period. Typically, the account manager would want to create a scenario for each approach to the customer and the promotional program, comparing them to see the difference in the financial outcome. The strategy planner in Promax Advanced has been specifically designed to enable this scenario planning (what-If planning) to be carried out. Promotional programs can be rapidly constructed with productivity tools that enable cut-and-paste and repetitive copy. The graphical environment facilitates a drag-and-drop mechanism with color coding of each promotional type. The spreadsheet style of Promax Advanced facilitates an easy ‘what-if analysis of an individual promotion, and entire promotional program or multiple scenarios involving the exploration of pricing elasticity and promotional frequency. Tools like the strategic optimizer allow the business to explore new strategies of pricing and frequency to maximize profitability or market share objectives. The strategy planner allows the assembly of scenarios testing tactical plans for any group of products or customers. Full financial evaluation of every strategy is created and easy comparative techniques provide a clear path for the account manager to evaluate the best plan.
Promax Advanced allows the business to test a variety of promotional plans such as adopting a high/low approach, compared to an EDLP approach. The system allows the user to simulate the anticipated results (revenue, profit, costs, etc.) of a variety of scenarios. Once the user has selected the desired scenario they can activate that scenario so that it becomes the operational plan.
There is extensive functionality within the Promax Advanced system to deal with customer terms. Terms are date-based. They can be based on the rate or lump sum. Terms can be cascading, that is, the calculation on one term can be based on the calculation of it higher level term. Terms and rebates can be calculated on retail customer turnover.
The Promax Advanced solution is based on a Microsoft (MS) SQL+ DB and therefore allows data to be easily extracted through Microsoft Office tools like Excel and functionality exists to allow the easy download of reports and data within Promax to be saved in Excel or other MS tools. To ensure data consistency we do not recommend that information be imported from MS Office tools. As the solution is based on a Microsoft SQL DB there is minimal or no lag in embracing MS office upgrades.
Promax Advanced has a rich GUI environment. Standard windows functions such as copy/paste and drag/drop are supported and are easy to learn and use.
Our experienced technical and consultant team provide guidelines on hardware configurations that are dedicated to Promax and provide excellent performance. The sharing of these hardware resources however will obviously deteriorate the performance of all software on the system as like any computer processor, it will have a finite capacity.
As with any computer network, extensive research needs to be done to assess the appropriate sizing of hardware to deliver satisfactory performance taking into account the various software packages utilized within that organization. Whilst we at Promax have an extensive working knowledge of the environment in which the Promax software operates including Windows operating systems, SQL Servers, VM, Terminal services and Citrix, we do not profess to be experts in operating system optimization.
The Promax Advanced solution can be set up for use across multiple sites. A variety of users have a single DB servicing the needs of their Australian and NZ business units. The solution has user jurisdiction that limits access.
The integration of promotional planning with field force automation tools creates the opportunity to further improve the accuracy of forecasts by collecting compliance information from the field to improve the quality of forecast import. The data collected from the field can be used as a causal factor input into the forecasting technology. Communication of promotional information to the field sales force through the automatic integration to field force automation systems allows the field force to discuss promotional activity with customers with immediate access to accurate and precise data on all relevant promotional activity.
Promax provides full capability to provide a baseline as well as a promotional forecast for use within supply chain planning (SCP) applications and ERP. The requirement to complement the forecasting (demand planning) capabilities of a solution such as SAP APO, Oracle or any other standard supply chain management system is fully supported. Options to use the SCP solution’s baseline forecast together with the promotional uplifts from Promax or to use the SCP’s forecasting module as a data repository for the forecast created within Promax are all viable options. As Promax is designed to deal with businesses that have a highly promoted product portfolio, we strongly recommend that Promax’s baseline calculation methods are used in preference to those of supply chain planning tools. Promax Advanced can provide the supply chain planning system with a "customer facing" forecast of invoiced sales and volume.
Promax Advanced supports most syndicated data feeds such as IRI, Aztec/Synovate and AC Nielsen data.
A client’s standard database management processes can be utilized for backing up promotion data. At Promax, we recommend daily backups of VMs and hourly backups of transactional logs for reasonable RPO and RTO considerations.
Promax Advanced does not currently support this feature. An alternative method is to use VPN/Terminal Services (or Citrix).
Promax Advanced typically operates in a client / server environment and is accessible via both VPN, and Terminal Services/Citrix. Contact us to view a typical Solution Architecture diagram.
Individual users can be granted specific combinations of read/write/delete for all key functions within Promax Advanced. Some examples would be company data (accounts, products, prices etc.), account data (activity types, ranging etc.). Approval levels can also be set up by users. These govern a user’s ability to approve a promotion or whether it becomes a pending promotion for a senior manager.
Promax Advanced can interface with a client’s current enterprise systems by using a set of automated interface controls allowing for the quality of data held within Promax Advanced to be of the same standard as the systems currently in place. Promax uses a series of database referential integrity rules, foreign keys and a normalized database to ensure the reliability of the data.
Promax provides on-site training courses. Our training courses are structured as follows: Each course is broken down into logical lessons. The trainer will go through a PowerPoint presentation for each lesson and software demonstration of the topic. Users will then complete the exercises from the training manual as specified in the PowerPoint presentation. Each lesson has questions based on frequently asked support questions which are completed individually and then reviewed as a group before the next lesson commences. Training manuals are provided with space to write notes and answer review questions.
In cases where the number of users is large and geographically dispersed, Wipro recommends ‘train the trainer’ or online training options such as WebEx for providing quick and effective training for users across roles and geographies. Online training materials are also available for system users to access and refresh functional knowledge.