Channel Visibility enables manufacturers to acquire accurate channel data to support their business programs. The basic sales-out, sales-through, inventory and customer data can be consolidated and organized for various channel programs. Depending on the sophistication and maturity of the channels, different programs are used to support the channel business.

Channel Visibility delivers the data to for manufacturers to conduct the following business processes:

Channel Inventory Management
Traditionally companies have focused on improving the backend of the supply chain which includes procurement and logistics. However, increasingly companies are beginning to realize the importance of acquiring an accurate picture of demand in order to better align supply with demand. This is because any inaccurate indication of the market demand can lead to the "bullwhip effect".

Accurate channel inventory is one of the key performance indicators required for demand planning. Good management of channel inventory will minimize stock-out situations which will likely lead to brand switching and loss of revenue. Marketing plans can also be executed to clear excess inventory and minimize costly stock write-offs. With timely and accurate channel inventory tracking, companies are able to implement best practices such as collaborative forecasting and inventory replenishment programs.

Channel Sales Management
Managing indirect sales is often challenged by the lack of end customer sales information. Most often, channel managers have no quantitative clue as to why sales is good or bad. One of the key hurdles is the reluctance of channel partners giving data to the brand owners. Key information such as who are the customers, purchasing patterns and product sales performance are useful to both the brand owner and their partners. The critical success factor is to be able to effectively demonstrate value to the channel partners with the information collected. Reviews with channel partners can be focused and quantitatively based. With Channel Visibility, brand owners are able to track and measure KPIs on a weekly basis.

Price Protection Control
The challenge in most price protection program is the accuracy of the channel inventory reporting. Channel partners may take advantage of the situation to maximize the returns and claims. In order to prevent such incidents, a consistent and periodic reporting of inventory, sell-in and sell-out can be used to track the reported and calculated inventory. Other anomalies that arise from this would be parallel imports, illegal drop ships as well as grey market sale.

Pricing Management
With the exception of certain companies, most have complex pricing and discounts to cater to different types of partners. Adhoc and one time discounts are also commonly used in field sales. With proper tracking of special discount request, tracking of serial numbers, companies can prevent deals that are disguised as large deals, thereby loosing potential revenue.

Quality of Reported Revenue
The quality of revenue reporting is an area which enterprises are increasingly focusing on. This is due in part to the Sarbanes-Oxley act which requires increased accountability in financial reporting. Within an enterprise, business process and systems help to ensure that everything is auditable. However, an enterprise that conducts business through channels will immediately encounter the challenge in collecting and tracking channel information such as revenue recognized at sales-out and inventory for accurate financial reporting. This is not to mention the very common practice of channel stuffing that further obscures the true figures. In order to obtain quality revenue numbers and forecasts from channel partners, it is necessary to obtain accurate sales-out reporting and proactively minimize stock returns. The above requirements point to the need to put in place a proper process to collect, consolidate and validate channel data for timely and accurate reporting. In addition, the system should also enable such information to be auditable and properly administered for greater accountability.

Channel Marketing and Incentives
Manufacturers depend on their sales and distribution network for market reach and revenue generation. However, the indirect sales route is fraught with complexities because each partner entity has it’s own business practices, processes and is driven by different motives. As a result, channel programs are of vital importance to support, motivate partners so as to align them with corporate objectives.

Channel marketing campaigns are designed to assist partners to sell more effectively and to align partners with the brand owners. Once campaigns are executed, if they are not monitored against actual sales, their effectiveness and ROI cannot be measured. If regular sales information can be consolidated and measured against the campaign targets, remedy actions can be planned and marketing investments reallocated to maximize returns.

Channel Visibility     Channel Profiling     Channel Programs     Channel Data Consolidation
Performance Review and Incentive Management    Partner Exchange Network    Channel Visibility Benefits
White Papers