SOURCE: Vendor Compliance Federation; Trade Promotion Management Associates

November 19, 2008 09:00 ET

VCF/TPMA Annual Conference Addresses Economy With Timely Insights and Risk Reduction Strategies for Retailers and Manufacturers

Program Focused on Retailer-Manufacturer Collaboration, Post-Election Consumer Sentiment, and Government Regulations

PARSIPPANY, NJ--(Marketwire - November 19, 2008) - The Vendor Compliance Federation (VCF) and Trade Promotion Management Associates (TPMA), leading organizations fostering retail-supplier trading synchronization, addressed the current economy last week at their Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. The event hosted more than 400 attendees; 300 one-on-one, manufacturer-retail customer meetings; and 80 industry leaders delivering more than 50 sessions designed to help attendees understand and predict consumer behavior in a volatile economy, streamline supply chain processes, and reduce financial risk.

Consumer Optimism amid Economic Fears Provides Opportunities for Trading Partners

A survey of 4,086 Americans immediately following the November 4 election by BIGresearch revealed consumer sentiment contradictions amid the current economic downturn. Keynote speaker and BIGresearch Solutions Officer Miles David noted that 76 percent of respondents believe their personal financial situation will stay the same or improve in the next six months, and that 85.2 percent of respondents either remain happy "with the way things are going in their personal lives" or say there are both good days and bad days. Contrasting with this is the sentiment that consumers (67.1 percent) are focusing more on needs than wants when shopping: 58.3 percent said they are more budget-conscious and 54.4 percent said they dine out less. More than 50 percent are shopping for sales more often and are using coupons more often.

David closed by saying that with effective collaboration and marketing, "we can move the economy forward. It is up to us in marketing and business to make the difference. Yes we can, as the phrase goes. We're going to get to work and return to a great economy. That's what we do in this country in a downturn, we market our way through. Yes we can."

Retailer and Suppliers Driving Business through Collaboration

Retailers and their manufacturers met face-to-face during 300 pre-arranged, one-on-one meetings, addressing topics along the entire order-to-cash cycle. "No other organization gives us the opportunity to meet with so many of our customers in one location," says Lifetime Brands' Jerry Glinnen. "In a single trip, we met with 10 retailers, resolved questions on new initiatives and discussed future business. With the current economic challenges that exist, attending this event made even greater business sense."

As part of the conference, retailers and operators met together during a designated retailer program. "As a retailer presenting to my industry peers, I was excited to be a part of such a learned panel and enjoyed working alongside fellow retailers to address common business issues," said JCPenney's Anita Thompson. "I took away insights from my participation, and from the questions asked by my peers -- and very much enjoyed the entire process!" Retailers also had the opportunity to host sessions to communicate 2009 initiatives to current and potential suppliers. Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, QVC, Sears Holdings Corporation, and Lowe's were among retailers who presented at individual sessions.

Leveraging the Power of POS Data

POS data is critical to planning since it provides a true picture of demand. It allows companies to classify SKUs by performance and profile demand for new items based upon key characteristics and attributes. Having this added knowledge helps vendors become better strategic partners in planning replenishment and allocation, in addition to helping them be smarter about manufacturing -- new item development, asset utilization, lead-time optimization and multi-stage processing. Though most companies would agree that using POS data is important, many may not be aware of its far-reaching benefits. JustEnough's Todd Kolber shared one study which revealed that companies who use POS data for demand analysis saw a 30 percent improvement in forecast accuracy, which led to 15 percent lower inventories, a 17 percent improvement in perfect order fulfillment and 35 percent shorter sales-to-cash cycle.

Department of Homeland Security On Reducing Threat of Terrorism and Trafficking

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) earlier this year published a notice (Importer Security Filing (ISF) DHS ISF-10) for importers, termed "10+2," which -- when passed -- will require importers to electronically file 10 pieces of information at least 24 hours before shipments are loaded to ship to the U.S, as well as daily container status messages regarding certain events and stow plans no later than 48 hours after departure from the last foreign port. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security's Chief Program Manager for the Secure Freight Initiative John Jurgutis gave examples of how such regulations could reduce the threat of terrorism and trafficking by gathering information on shipments before they ship -- and noted that during tests, many importers said the new rules forced them to become proactive in improving internal processes and overall supply chain performance. Clearly, when prepared for correctly, 10+2 is a win-win for national security and importers.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)

In response to the increasing number of product recalls in recent years, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) was passed into law August 14, 2008. The act changed the retail landscape, with retailers and importers now being held accountable for unsafe products along with their manufacturer. During a panel discussion, McDonald's Corporation Consumer Product Safety Manager Pamela Edwards highlighted her company's long-standing toy safety program and shared best practices in proactively responding to the new regulation. On the same panel, Marsh Senior Vice President of Global Product Risk Practice Alan Schoem also provided information on the CPSIA and 14 points for World-Class Recall Preparedness, including contractual agreements and traceability.

Read full articles on conference sessions, along with additional trading partner best practices for the sales-to-cash cycle, in the next issue of the Journal of Trading Partner Practices (JTPP). To learn more about the JTPP, email JTPP@vcfww.com.

About VCF

VCF is the leading organization focused on solutions, services and best practices for supplier-retailer collaboration within consumer durables, ranging from fashion and cosmetics to electronics and home furnishings. VCF is an advocate for retailer-supplier trading synchronization and champions initiatives to increase strategic industry-wide productivity, profitability and growth. VCF serves a multitude of touch points in perfecting retailer-supplier execution to shorten cycle times and drive overall velocity in the supply chain. VCF draws participation from leading retailers and suppliers such as JCPenney, Nordstrom, Lowe's, Liz Claiborne, Estée Lauder and Kellwood.

About TPMA

TPMA is the leading organization driving best-in-class process for global trade promotion management (TPM) and trade promotion optimization (TPO). TPMA is dedicated to the effective and efficient use of trade promotion dollars and serves as a collaborative resource for research and metrics for companies such as Hormel, Dial, Del Monte, Cargill Meat Solutions, Hewlett-Packard, Nintendo, Land O'Lakes, and Johnson & Johnson.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Anna Lee
    Manager, Marketing & Alliance Development
    Vendor Compliance Federation
    1055 Parsippany Boulevard, Ste 405
    Parsippany, NJ 07054
    Phone: 646-442-3707
    alee@vcfww.com
    www.vcfww.com