Data integrity is very important in your customer relationships - SKUFood
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Data integrity is very important in your customer relationships

Last week Susan jumped in to give you a great definition and summary of GS1 and the role of bar codes or UPC codes in our industry. I wanted to continue in this theme and focus on Data Integrity this week. Data integrity is a broad term that is not unique to our food and beverage industry. It is very important and something that every business needs to focus on. Data Integrity is the development, implementation and execution of processes in your business to ensure the numbers and information in your electronic systems is accurate. Seems like an obvious thing but you would be amazed how many businesses operate with inaccuracies which will also have an impact on your customers.

Data integrity is very important in your customer relationships

Retailers rely on systems to operate their business. This is the only way they can manage tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of SKUS, employees, trucks and all of the other components in their business. They rely on suppliers to provide accurate data that feeds their systems.

When suppliers deliver flawless data transfers it builds confidence with your customers and eliminates a lot of unnecessary work for both parties. There is no doubt retailers off-load work to suppliers. This is a reality in our value chain. If you want to get on the shelf you have to fill out the listing forms and replay to their requests for ads. It is important to have the right process in place in your business to ensure you provide accurate data.

When I started working in merchandising, I gained a much better appreciation for the importance of process. Sure, we had things in place in marketing and advertising, but I learned very quickly we had to have accurate data to manage the SKUS, the pricing, the margins etc. I had a much stronger appetite to work with suppliers who provided accurate data in a timely manner.

If there is an issue bring it up properly. I do not think retailers mis-manage data to make supplier’s lives miserable. It might seem like it, but it is probably a person who is over worked, under trained or just made a mistake.

Often data integrity is the root cause of problems

When there is an issue in our industry it is usually one of two things: human error or data integrity. Given the amount of data out there, it is likely data integrity is the biggest challenge.

The flow of inventory into and out of a retailer is a very data dependant function. Out of stocks, over stocks, late seasonal programs, warehouse deliveries and many other issues are often caused by problems with data. When you see any of these things happen with your items do not just let it go and assume ‘it will get fixed on the next order’. Usually there is something causing the problem and if you do not track it down it will continue to be a problem.

Accurate pricing is also very data dependent. If you see a price that does not make sense for your item, it is probably related to an issue with the landed cost or the listing information. Just because it is correct one week does not mean the next week of price changes will be correct. You really do have to spend time in the stores to ensure things are happening properly. You could say this is the retailer’s job, which is true, but the reality is they rely on suppliers to check as well.

Develop processes in your business to ensure data integrity

We know the work to supply customers with data for listings and other initiatives is tedious. It is also very important and needs to be accurate. Often it is left for junior people or perhaps people who are not very system savvy. Develop a process to double check the work and ensure accuracy. One digit wrong in the 12 digit GTIN will create a lot of problems.

Retailers also rely on data integrity to pay suppliers. If you are not getting paid in a timely manner it is likely a data integrity issue. As soon as you see your receivables go beyond 40 days you should start to investigate if there is an issue. Retailers will always try to stretch this, but they do pay. It takes time to track down the root cause so get on any issues early and don’t assume it will get fixed. Chances are they don’t even know they aren’t paying you.

If you have any questions about data integrity or relationships with your customers, you can always send me an email or call me at (902) 489-2900.


We need to be realistic

There is enough talk in the media and everywhere else about the prices of food and beverage. When there is so much noise, we must be diligent and stick to the facts and real issues. When I see a headline like this it is frustrating.

The excise tax is tied to inflation so the rate will go up when inflation goes up. The impact as reported, will be 3 cents on a 750ml bottle of wine and 70 cents on a 750ml bottle of spirits. In restaurants, spirits are usually sold by the ounce so the price would change by less than 3 cents.

I certainly have compassion for the challenges of food service and even more so in recent years. We also have to be realistic…I do not think consumers will stop eating and drinking outside the home for these increases. It would also be interesting to see if the prices change by 5 cents or 10 cents. We know food retailers have been called to Ottawa to address these accusations. The beer industry has been paying for radio ads to complain about the tax increase. We need to keep the message realistic. Not sure about you, but it seems like we are calling 8cm of snow a weather bomb.

For any businesses attending SIAL 2023, today is the final deadline to apply for the Innovation award.

I'm really excited to be working with Carly Minish-Wytinck of Smak Dab to present Winning at Retail- How to get your food and beverage product on and off the shelf, on behalf of FCC Food and Beverage. This in person event is designed to help processors get their items listed in retail and deliver the desired sales. Some great content and tools for you to use in your business. Join us Tuesday April 4th in Winnipeg.

Really excited to work with Norm Purdy and Al Archibald to deliver this new program for Food and Beverage Atlantic. We have created a unique masterclass for food and beverage business owners. This has been developed to help you run your business, not work in the business. We will focus on key metrics you need to measure and how to manage your business for the best results. The combination of virtual and in person will really deliver the tools and strategies you need to take your business to the next level.

Any questions just give me a call at (902) 489-2900 or send me an email

Where is Peter Speaking?

Learnsphere & BCFB

Supply chain 123 Mar 28th

De Sedulous Women Leaders

Finding the perfect distributor Mar 31st

FCC Winnipeg

Getting on the shelf Apr 4th

Foodpreneur program

Getting ready for retail May 16th

De Sedulous Women Leaders

Pricing and positioning Jun 23rd

De Sedulous Women Leaders

Finding the perfect distributor Jul 14th