Pepsi bottler distills customer data with BI tools

MONTREAL — Canada’s largest independent bottler and distributor of Pepsi products hopes to get a more accurate picture of sales trends through business intelligence software from TopINet of Montreal.

The Ste. Foy, Que.-based

bottler, Alex Coulombe Ltée., has installed TopINet’s TopDiag Retail software on a Microsoft platform. The program is designed to analyze sales trends in different formats, explained TopINet’s president Luc Huyghe.

“Our software helps analyze trends and attempts to detect problems in sales. For example, it can detect sell through in different product categories and sizes which helps managers in terms of buying, inventory control and marketing.”

The idea is to analyze data over a five-year period to determine if a particular buying pattern is seasonal, a trend or an exception.

“We input data from all transactions such as invoices and purchase orders and analyze it,” said Huyghe.

Alex Coulombe is a family run business that has been around since 1905. It bottles and distributes Pepsi, 7Up, Cadbury drinks as well as juices and bottled water. It operates one plant and four distribution centres and serves central Quebec.

The company purchased TopINet’s TopDiag BI software after looking at other comparable products, according to Guy Turgeon, financial director of Alex Coulombe.

“We researched different solutions and their product and competence were superior to other products out there. We were also very interested in their Panorama Novaview technology which was the most compatible with our system.

“One of the goals for Alex Coulombe is to find constructive solutions that allow us to get accurate information and selective analysis promptly.”

The BI software from TopINet is being tested now in terms of what information the company wants to analyze and expects it to be fully operational by the end of October.

Although it is difficult to estimate cost savings it will bring initially, Turgeon said it is designed to give a clearer sales overview for the company’s sales agents.

“It will certainly increase our efficiency. Right now our reports are paper based. This system will give our agents on-line information about what products or flavours are selling the best, which ones are loss leaders, which products are being returned the most, which will then allow the agents to become more pro active.”

TopINet has also designed packages for Group Messier which represents 13 Metro supermarket merchants in Boucherville, Que., the St. Hubert BBQ chain and its largest client, the Centre du Rasoir with about 30 outlets in Quebec and a similar number in Ontario under the Personal Edge name.

St. Hubert uses the software to analyze the buying habits of its customers, said Huyghe. “For example, they can track who orders what dessert with what main course and who orders wine with what meal which helps them with their menu planning.”

Founded in 1999, TopINet spent two years on research and development of its Top Diag (for top diagnostic) software and launched it less than a year ago. In addition, it is the only Canadian distributor of Novaview software from Panorama, according to Huyghe.

Panorama was the originator of server technology acquired by Microsoft as the basis for analysis services. After retaining the client technology and originally distributing it through Cognos, it has been distributing and supporting itself since April, 2001.

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