Article

When outsourcing analytics makes commercial sense

How we helped an agency make £20 for every £1 they spent with us

An analytics agency supporting a large multinational sports brand recently called us in to help them investigate a misalignment in forecasting and product planning across several of their client’s cross-functional teams.

Here’s how we not only solved the challenge the agency’s client was facing; our solution proved commercially advantageous going forward for the agency.

 

The challenge

The sports brand’s product planning approach involved 3 functions within the business. Each of these function teams had up to 200 planners who had to agree on a centralised budget and plan.

Over time each team had come to develop their own approach and assumptions when it came to forecasting product and stock demands.  This then began to create conflicts and problems in stock R&D, production and distribution.  The brand soon came to realise that they couldn’t find a common ground between the various forecasting models being used by the 3 different planning teams.

They called on an analytics agency, who in turn incorporated us as part of their team for this assignment.  We were called in to create a single planning and forecasting process which would in turn produce a single product master plan for the brand.

The aim was to reduce the time the brand’s teams spent on planning by 50%.

 

In search of a seamless solution

Through intense scoping to fully understand the internal forecasting, we were able to conduct a comprehensive audit of the various approaches utilised by the brand’s various function teams. From this we were able to map out a central solution, which each team then reviewed from their own perspective and requirements.  Their feedback and input was accommodated into the prototype which we then developed.

The prototype saw data engineering inputs moved into more adaptable formats so the teams could see initial working examples in familiar tools such as excel.

With the testing of the prototype completed with them, we finally set to on the code base for the underlying data and design specifications.  This enabled the new forecasting tool to sit comfortably in the brand’s existing front-end solution devised by the agency we were supporting.  It ensured there was familiarity and ease of adoption across all the brand’s function teams.  The system was also built to be more robust and consistent.

 

Collaboration brings success

All the brand’s teams felt very involved in the project’s development and as a result supported it.  The positive sentiment and adoption of the new centralised approach led to a quick turnaround of the project. It also enabled the Agency we were supporting to work successfully on a number of other projects running parallel to this particular one.

Time spent on product planning by the brand’s teams was indeed reduced by 50%.  The models we developed within this assignment have also been used by the Agency in their work for other areas of the sports brand’s business.  They have gone on to win significant work off the back of this project. A recent calculation by us found that for every £1 the agency had spent with us, they were able to gain £20 back.

 

Bring in specialist knowledge and expertise to a project

It can be a challenge for an agency to have to hand all the expertise and knowledge it needs to successfully complete an assignment.  Bringing in outsourced specialists may seem a sizeable cost outlay at first glance, but as this example proves, the long-term commercial benefit can definitely justify the investment.

If your agency would like to discuss how it can tap into analytics, forecasting and other data management expertise, do get in touch.

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