Management Science Associates, Inc. (MSA) has gone live with the next generation of its Data@Factory, now processing daily, invoice-level shipment data.
Leveraging the proven infrastructure first established in 1993, continuously improved through seven major releases, and currently serving 25 leading consumer products companies for the management of weekly, SKU/store sequence-level shipments, the “NeoCore” Data@Factory addresses today’s pervasive need for more granular and timely data. NeoCore’s first implementation supports the beverage industry; however, these advanced capabilities can extend to any industry craving more precise shipment tracking to drive further efficiencies throughout the demand chain.
Daily data processing is the latest example of MSA’s commitment to continuous investment and improvement in its Reseller Information Systems (RIS) product, exploiting new technologies as they become proven. Today, despite rapidly increasing data volumes and complexities, MSA is focused on faster delivery of more granular information to suppliers and their trading partners – anytime, anywhere.
“Technologies for ‘big data’ have exploded over the last several years and can divert a company’s attention from the main goal of using information to make great decisions,” said Karl Herleman, MSA’s vice president of information technology. “C-level leaders understand that it’s best to rely on data management experts like MSA to do the heavy lifting on their large data sets.”
The invoice-level platform brings new flexibility in the areas of distributor input formats; new fields can be added or removed easily; error types are parameterized; and processing, accepting and rejecting data can be done at the transaction-level, rather than file-level, as can resubmissions. This collaborative platform also satisfies a long sought-after desire – supplier and distributor visibility into data status through MSA’s 24/7 DIY (Do It Yourself) Dataservices Portal. With this capability, field sales inquiries to corporate are greatly reduced.
The RIS solution was first built in VMS with proprietary programs and databases in 1993. With its ability to help suppliers understand trade-program ROI based on store-level performance, the solution drew the attention initially of all leading cigarette manufacturers. RIS went on to be adopted by the snack and confection industry starting in 1997, the publishing industry in 2001, beverages in 2005 and others in ensuing years.
Today’s platform is standards-based with relational and multi-dimensional database deliverables. Clients benefit from fully integrated data sets that include distributor shipments as well as manufacturer shipments, syndicated and store-level scan data, and audit and call-frequency information, among others.
All data processing and master-data management is performed at MSA’s Pittsburgh Pennsylvania headquarters, supported by a separate redundant data center.
A 30-person Distributor Support Center (DSC) works with some 2,500 distributor warehouses, Route Automation Software vendors, direct-store delivery operations, club stores and other sources of supply to ensure the smooth reception and processing of shipment-data submissions on a daily and weekly basis. The DSC’s Dataservices web portal provides regular feedback to distributors on data-file integrity and item classifications as well as early reads on promotion compliance, supplier-sponsored benchmark reporting and distributor-directed services.
For more information about MSA’s RIS services in the beverage and other industries, please contact Account Group Director Alice Greene at AGreene@MSA.com or 412-362-2000 ext. 1265.