Data holds a multitude of opportunities tied to an operation’s purchasing, supply chain, forecasting and savings potential.
Every time an operator purchases an item, a multitude of data points are generated that includes what they purchased, when they purchased it, how much they purchased, who they purchased it from and what they paid for it. Most operators do little or nothing with this data—if they collect it at all.
In truth, this data holds a multitude of opportunities tied to an operation’s purchasing, supply chain, forecasting and savings potential.
All of that purchasing data can be combined and put to work on behalf of the operator. By using tools with features such as dashboards and reporting, operators can uncover a lot of information that can be used for contract negotiations, pricing calculations, inventory assessments, and overall business intelligence. The massive amount of data, that was once almost impossible to analyze, can now be cleaned, organized and integrated, leading to tremendous insights and predictive analytics.
Having access to clean and structured data enables companies to increase operational efficiency and improve overall planning and financial opportunities. On a micro scale, data supports menu planning, efficiency of staff, and decreasing operational costs, while increasing profits. On a macro scale, this data can help establishments determine where to expand their brand with the least risk and the greatest reward.
So much data, so little time
When operators purchase ingredients and supplies, it’s coded with product numbers from the distributor as well as the manufacturer. Sometimes, when an operation receives an invoice, its coded with different numbers than what the original number was. Then suddenly you’re getting multiple labels with multiple product codes. It can be confusing and frustrating and hard to keep track of. Using data and technology, your operation gains more visibility into the items you are purchasing. Without technology, you might not know things such as products you are buying being discontinued and substituted for other products or if you are paying a higher price for an item than you were contracted to pay.
Clean data lets operators collect and consolidate data from multiple sources. The pieces of a puzzle are irrelevant until they are joined to create the bigger picture. It is in this joining, managing, and analyzing that the magic happens, and data turns into relevant information that drives decisions which ultimately affect long-range expansion plans and short-range financial, customer service and experience goals. When your data is cleaned and organized, you can identify any errors or corruptions, earn more rebates, and gain better insights and intelligence about your operation.
When you clean the data coming in, you can discover a lot of overcharges that you could not identify before or price increases due to weather or the time of year. You might see a bunch of opportunity around SKU consolidation—or spec consolidation. All of a sudden you have some leverage to get better pricing and negotiation on your contracts. Because of the transparency that clean data provides, operators can discover how much they are spending with one manufacturer versus another and begin prioritizing which products to focus on.
Find the right solution to collect and consolidate your data
Gathering and cleaning data is only half the battle. There are tools that organize restaurant purchasing data into easy-to-read dashboards that put operators most pressing procurement issues right at their fingertips. With pre-built reports, operators can get clearer insight into purchases by time, location, and category, and compare purchasing data to commodity markets, monitors contract compliance, updates rebate claims, payments and more.
There is a limitless potential for what you can do with your purchasing data. Once you clean and organize your purchasing data, you can do so much with it. Let someone else do the hard task of auditing and price verification. Arm yourself with information about how you purchase in different categories, in different locations, and from different distributors. Look at your data and uncover areas for improvement in purchasing and contracts. Get a clearer picture at your food cost management, inventory, and cost of goods sold so you can make better more profitable business decisions.
Melissa Evans is the Content Marketing Manager for Buyers Edge Platform and its associated brands including Dining Alliance, Consolidated Concepts, and others. Buyers Edge Platform is the leading Software and Analytics company providing data-driven insights and technology to the foodservice industry. Buyers Edge Platform’s mission is to drive the foodservice industry from manual to automated with programs that benefit all stakeholders across the supply chain.