Advancing Your Space & Category Management Capabilities

Sail boat gliding in open sea at sunset

By Kent Smith
VP, Business Development

Both traditional and emerging forces in retailing compel us to become both more efficient and more precise in how we merchandise.   Advanced capabilities will enable you to deliver on precision merchandising while achieving efficiencies across the supply chain.

What capabilities do you need? The answer stems from your company’s overarching strategy and goals. A strategy for space management can’t exist in isolation; your capabilities need to dovetail into what the business needs to win. It’s that connection that makes road-mapping so vital. So what are the characteristics of companies with a “gold standard” space management program?

  1. They know their next steps. Even with a robust set of capabilities, they constantly evaluate needs and opportunities and plot out what they want to do next quarter, next year, and beyond.
  2. Their approach to master data is central to their ecosystem. Careful attention is paid to ensure quality, completeness, and currency in data, and as a result, their systems are integrated seamlessly to the rest of the organization.
  3. Floor planning is vital, recognizing that while store design might be architectural, store layouts are about merchandising.   Prototypes for different formats and store clusters are established as goals and floor plans are meticulously maintained and up-to-date. That way, they not only drive execution, but also help realize supply chain benefits.
  4. Planograms are rationally localized and kept up-to-date. Rather than take a one-for-all approach, the extent of localization is decided on a category-by-category basis. Some are store specific; others are clusters, while some are generic—but every store gets one that fits their fixtures.
  5. Store communication is two-way. In addition to providing easy to find, timely, and accurate instructions for layouts and planograms, information is canvassed from stores–not just validation of what was completed, but on store conditions. These ensure store execution, and space and category management teams have a rapport with store staff, increasingly their engagement.
  6. The practice of effective collaboration with supplier partners. They work carefully to establish space strategy, tactics, standards, and measures – and evaluate against these.
  7. They view people as the center of their ecosystem, not the software. Just as new versions of code come out, new ways of working are established. They invest in training; their people go to CMA, JDA FOCUS, and other relevant conferences to learn and bring back lessons for the team. They invest in outside help to bring in new ideas, processes, and training approaches. Nothing gets stale in a winning organization.

Vaco Supply Chain Solutions is a partnership-based organization built by seasoned, technology-savvy industry veterans, empowered to do the right thing for their clients. We can help you develop a capability-centric road map, and provide consulting, software, and Merchandising on Demand services along the entire journey.

We are proud to sponsor the 2016 Category Management Association Conference, September 12-14 at the Mirage Las Vegas. If you’re interested in learning how Vaco can help your organization advance their Space and Category Management practices, contact us here, or stop by Booth 26 on the conference floor.