Understanding your Customers

Understanding Customers © pinkfishstock, Fotolia

Understanding your Customers



A European Food Manufacturing company with a long track record of growth and profitability was experiencing the effects of quickly changing consumer trends. Without early insights into the changing consumer behavior, needs and preferences (demand signals) the company was not able to respond appropriately. As a result it was facing market share, profitability pressures and slower than projected growth. The lack of timely and effective insights resulted in the company finding  a business and IT strategy and capabilities to improve relationships with their retail customers, as well as connections with the end consumers of their products. Alexion Partners was invited to find a viable solution to the problem.


The approach was focused on using the data to understanding “Who” and “Why” of consumer/customer behavior, and translate these insights to

  • Tailor go-to-market approach
  • Develop effective service model

At the core of the solutions was an improved data and analytics capability: technologies, organization, and skills enabling closer partnerships with their key retail customers and improved social listening to the consumers of their products.

The key was not only to collect and integrate more data but also to use the data assets to create more actionable insights. Leadership could make decisions based on this information, which positively impacts the performance of the company.

The solution that Alexion Partners recommended brought together demand signal data from more internal and external data sources including ERP systems, retail customers, POS, 3rd party data, market research data.
After detailed preparations  Alexion Partners devised an action plan:

  • Develop a Solution Strategy and Implementation Roadmap
  • Develop a master data management capability covering data governance, data quality, key metrics (KPI’s) and supporting master data, data quality and data governance processes, skills, tools and Technologies
  • Execute a multi-year roadmap focused on two key work streams around Customer and Consumer. Each roadmap had foundational initiatives, quick wins and longer term projects
  • Execute initial pilots to demonstrate the selected technologies as well as business value. This included using in-memory technologies for advanced analytical and visualization tools.
  • Execute implementation projects based on defined programs.


The new solutions and capabilities allowed the client to improve the Customer and Consumer insights resulting in decisions that ultimately improve both the top and bottom line.
These new insights are used to improve many different businesses, functional areas and processes across the organization including sales, supply chain and marketing. Examples include:

  • Improved inventory management/ replenishment – reduced out of stock, increased on shelf availability, fewer distribution voids
  • New product introductions better aligned with consumer trends (e.g. organic and health)
  • Improved account management
  • Improved forecasting – stores, DC’s, lost sales, store level demand signals
  • Improved category and brand management
  • Improved product category performance for key customer retailers
  • Improved digital marketing effectiveness, brands web site effectiveness,  communication with consumers