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The Exceedra


Creating A Solid TPM Foundation with Method Products

Being a company with brands that sell hand wash, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers, Method’s priorities changed almost overnight due to COVID-19. Innovation almost immediately took a back seat.

On September 22, the Promotion Optimization Institute (POI) hosted the “Omnichannel and RGM Strategies to Lead in the New Digital Age” virtual summit.

As a proud sponsor of POI, Exceedra hosted a panel at the virtual conference with our client, Method – “Creating a Solid Trade Promotion Management Foundation with Teams to Drive Profitable Growth”.

During the presentation, Brodie Nissen, Sr. Director Sales Planning at Method, walked us through his experience with various tiered consumer goods organizations and his exposure to how they managed trade. 

Below we will explore the three milestone moments in his career and the key learnings from his journey that have enabled his success today with cross functional teams, and trading partners to understand mutual goals.

The first milestone moment was his role at CleanWell where he had to build a natural channel business and traditional infrastructure within this startup company. Brodie realized that navigating the natural channel distributors is not an easy task. You need to learn how distributors work, how to set up promotions, and how to effectively reach this channel from a trade perspective. 

One of the fundamentals of creating a trade program and a business plan is to have a solid pricing foundation – having a consistent national list price that everything flows from. Another key learning was that managing trade spending in Excel is hard especially when it is done paired with Qiuckbooks. 

Brodie’s next role at Annie’s has been the most formative opportunity is his career. The company went from spunky challenger brand to Wall Street darling to a General Mills business unit. The company has already implemented the Exceedra Professional TPM solution a few years before he joined. His role was to move it from a “system where deductions were cleared” to a fully functioning planning tool.  

The importance of process

Throughout his journey he understood that while trade systems are very important, well thought out and communicated processes are most important. In addition, if you do not have senior leadership by into to the solution and process and sales organization that understands the importance of this process and supports you, you are not going to get to where you need to be. While there can be many users, ownership of the solution must be clearly defined. Brodie believes that an organization needs to be ready to devote a full-time dedicated person whose job will be to own the process and bring it to life.

Brodie realized that the combination of consumption data with an effective trade promotion management tool is where the magic happens. The TPM tool helps you manage your money and forecast, but the real difference to becoming a real business management solution is when you start to pair consumption data with the in-house data. Moreover, deep diving and getting a solid understanding of distributor pricing and promotions is critical to ensuring effective and efficient promotions. 

Brodie describes his current role at Method as the most challenging experience he has had. He has gone through two brand integrations, two SAP implementations, and a pandemic. Exceedra Professional TPM Solution has already been implemented before he joined the company, but they were not utilizing the planning elements of the solution. His role once again was to facilitate the move from a check book and Excel driven process to full utilization of the Exceedra TPM Professional tool.

One of the key success factors for Method was to establish a Minimum Advertise Pricing (MAP) policy that is enforced with their sales team and can be shared with customers. The MAP policy which is tightly connected to Method’s “rally dates” concept helps protect the premium pricing position of the Method brand and mitigate Wal-Mart pricing risks. This “rally dates” idea helps Method move as much of their promotional activity into certain time periods which allows them to leverage any other marketing activities. 

COVID-19 Response

Being a company with brands that sell hand wash, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers, Method’s priorities changed almost overnight due to COVID-19. Innovation almost immediately took a back seat. They eliminated their promotions and merchandising vehicles as it was pointless to have TPR tags if they cannot fill the shelves.

As a company that prides itself on transparency, they found that at some retailers this overt transparency and pessimism was putting their distribution at risk.  They needed to find balance between optimism and pessimism to protect distribution at retailers.

The pandemic also influenced their 2021 financial plan which was built purely based on supply. Normally, the planning process would take into account the demand, velocities, innovation strategy, but it was a matter of how much they could supply as they knew the orders are going to be there.  

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