A leading American publisher of games in various genres including fantasy and science fiction was looking for assistance with Point of Sales (POS) data management.
The client urgently needed a partner that could help them find a way to increase visibility into their sales patterns and trends for some of their best-selling products. This was a way more important and challenging task than it seemed at first glance as the client needed actionable data analytics to help them make smarter decisions for increased sales. The client had been in touch with several service providers including everyone from data entry operators to machine learning/automation companies, requesting assistance to devise an effective solution for their requirements but unfortunately, none of them was able to grasp a clear understanding of their immediate and ultimate goals.
This is where ARDEM emerged the shining victor– our team took the time to understand this American game publisher and went back several times to ascertain and define what the client was looking for and engineered a customized solution accordingly.
Rolling the Dice On the Scope of Work
At ARDEM, we believe that it’s important to dig deep and stay in constant communication with the client to piece together a comprehensive picture of their immediate requirements along with their future needs and goals.
On the surface, our task was to receive huge volumes of sales or transaction data from different locations, sort, organize and then finally, process this data to create defined data streams for crucial business insights. Therefore, it was vital for our solution to provide value in terms of automated accuracy, accelerated processing and 100% transparency that allowed our client to work smarter.
Additionally, data security and proper compliance were very important to the client since the task at hand required us to deal with and analyze sales data from several stores across multiple locations. This information comprised data about each store and needed to be handled, processed and delivered with extreme care and caution.
As we dug deeper, we identified the primary challenges that needed to be overcome and how to whisk them away, just like magic.
Exploring the Current Challenges of Point of Sales Data Processing
While the client had steady sales across multiple locations, what they actually needed was a way to de-tangle and streamline the high volume of incoming point of sales data to gain increased visibility into their sales trends.
Apart from the more obvious tasks like high-volume transaction processing and ensuring data security, the goal was to yield actionable business insights on time. The process would start with the receipt of POS data from over 200 stores worldwide. Once the data was received, the next challenge was to clean and normalize all sales data which had to be sent further for downstream analysis. Each one of the client’s stores had to forward their sales data to ARDEM, with every store averaging 100+ line items of sales data. While things may have seemed a bit daunting at first, we had a few tricks up our sleeve to build and execute a successful solution.
Our Proposed Solution
As we moved ahead from research to planning and resolution, one thing was clear, this project with require us to put on our thinking caps and formulate a smart solution that was tailored to the client’s analytical requirements.
The primary goals set for us were accurate data entry, strong and effective management, along with timely delivery and enhanced visibility. The data we would provide to the client had to be accurate as it would be carefully studied, tracked and analyzed to direct future sales strategies. We had to map out, process and deliver the incoming sales data accordingly.
However, before we could proceed to the actual processing, there were quite a few tasks which had to be carried out beforehand to ensure smoother daily functioning.
- First of all, we had to create a master sheet for reference with a listing all of their products along with the description, product name, product code of every item in their inventory and any other details which were required to normalize the data from all stores. Using this master sheet, the POS data from all stores, including global locations with multiple languages, can be easily converted into a normalized format for business analysis.
- Once this process is developed and stabilized, the goal is to expand and extend this process to all stores, easily doubling the number of stores that send us POS data. Once this unorganized, raw data has been transformed into clean output, this allows the client to easily ingest it into their business intelligence system and run an analysis of all data. This will provide them with greater visibility of the point of sales, see how products are performing, map out rising markets trends and shape their offerings accordingly.
Here’s how ARDEM was able to provide value to the client and untangle the web of their current sales data to yield advanced insights:
This solution requires a combination of both advanced robotic process automation and effort-based processing in order to accurately receive, normalize, and process POS data. To achieve this, ARDEM engineered a program which utilizes the data from the master sheet to create a database and automate the normalization of POS data received from each store.
This required both ARDEM and the game publisher to collaborate and really define the master sheet and process. While formulating the program, we also devised procedures to manage any exceptions such as products that are not listed in the master sheet, products that are incorrectly labeled, etc.
How We Propose to Manage Exceptions
- In case of any products that are not on the master sheet, the exception will be flagged for an analyst to review. This product will then be reviewed to determine if there was an error, if the product is new, or if there is other sales data that was sent over erroneously by the store.
- Any new products that are not already in the master sheet are sent to the client on a monthly basis for review and updated with additional information to process.
- In addition to providing clean data, ARDEM has also provided use of the ARDEM Collaboration Platform to further increase the visibility of POS data.
- Live dashboards on our cloud-based platform will show what store data has been received, is currently in processing, and what has been normalized and delivered. Additionally, stores are sent an automated notification reminder to send in their monthly data. The stores that fail to send the data by the deadline will receive another notification reminding them to send the data that is past due.
- Additional reporting features are also made allowing for greater visibility into all point of sales data for a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even yearly review. This can be further customized by store, product, etc.
A job well done is its own reward, yet hearing words of praise and satisfaction from a client never gets old. Once we executed the solution for our client, this is what they had to say:
“To the team actually doing the work…continued outstanding work! (Our Business Intelligence team) did an analysis on the accuracy rate and found this to be true… Accurate 99.97%.”
After getting started, we have processed nearly 157,000+ lines of data received from over 200 stores and are expecting to double our processing capacity in 2021.