Twice weekly articles to help SMB companies optimize business performance with data analytics and to improve their analytics expertise.
This article was contributed by Vaibhav Waghmare.
Portions of this article were contributed by Vaibhav Waghmare.
Supplier companies which manufacture commoditized products face constant cost pressures. As a way to separate themselves from the herd, many savvy suppliers are realizing that what may set them apart is the ability to help their customers' buyers make an informed decision. A manufacturer of paper designs which supplies national retailers has realized that in addition to providing the buyer with designs and sourcing information, they can also act as trusted advisors to their customers by identifying and recommending trendy ones. This is something predictive analytics can provide, starting with some basic time series forecasting.
There are many issues that impact customer retention for businesses. The cost of neglecting these can be enormous and in many ways is directly proportional to the size of a business. For example, for large automotive companies which sell millions of vehicles per year, a single percentage point decrease in customer retention can mean millions of dollars of lost business and untold loss in brand image. But this does not mean that small and medium manufacturers do not face this problem. While the absolute scale of the problem (in dollar figures) may not suggest a massive issue, relatively speaking, these same problems could devastate a smaller company.
Time series forecasting is one of the more basic predictive analytics needs of many businesses. There are a lot of data elements which come in as time series: product sales, shipping and transportation costs, commodity prices and so on. From a strategic perspective, managers and decision makers will frequently need to be able to predict trends and seasonal patterns for these elements.
Can predictive analytics be used to forecast fashion trends? This might sound like black magic or worse snake oil. But design or fashion trend forecasting can be a real problem, and one that data may help to simplify.
This article was contributed by John Thiels.
Migrating stakeholders from a minor role to an increasingly major role is a challenge for all organizations. For example, a car company might be interested to know what it would take to move their entry-level car buyers, who are typically 20-somethings into their more upmarket products, as these customers mature.
In the Nordic mythology of Thor, which has recently been rendered into a series of Hollywood blockbusters, the hammer of Thor is an ultimate weapon which can break through any problem, but can only be effectively wielded by Thor. No one else can even so much as lift the hammer.