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German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

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15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Housing TPM solutions – Build vs. Buy vs. Rent

Posted on: 28 November '11
Srinath Srinivasan
Senior Consultant, CPG & Manufacturing Industry Group

Spend on trade promotion can vary anywhere between 15-25% of a Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company’s revenue.  As the size of the company grows, the amount at stake gets bigger. Once it crosses a threshold level, companies start looking at a robust TPM solution. When you start evaluating TPM solutions you realize that it is akin to buying a house. You need to carefully choose between what you need today vs. what you will need tomorrow.

When you are looking around for a house, you tend to factor in many aspects including the area, the location, your family size, cost, etc. Also, buying a house is NEVER a onetime activity. There are always things that will find a way to your monthly cash flow statement which go into beautifying the house. If you have bought too big a house keeping in mind your long term needs, you will lose out on the short term because you would spend more on clearing the weeds than using the space. On the other hand, a smaller house limits itself when your family grows. Ultimately you figure out that your needs are always a POINT IN TIME and there is only so much that you can predict about your needs.

I will get into explaining why there is a similarity when it comes to TPM solutions. Just think of the various vendors who have come to you – small, medium, large, extra large – to provide anything from a point solution for tackling planning challenges to enterprise wide TPM solutions catering to planning, execution, analysis, mobility, etc. Let’s assume that you are a $500million company operating only in the US. You are on track to achieve the $2billion mark in the next five years. In the process, your distribution channel would have grown to double the size, handling four times the volume. You might also get into newer geographies where the market structure might differ. You now need to get your balancing act right by selecting the right product which matches your current and the future requirements.

Let’s assume that you decide to take a long term view of the problem over five years, you decide to buy a “best-in-class” solution. The only challenge is that when you get into the implementation stage, you realize that you will not be using more than 30-40% of the product in the short term. Also, when you bought the solution, you never thought that coupons and QR-codes would become a big promotion activity and eventually figure out that you will have to upgrade your software to run digital promotions. By the time you are rich with this knowledge, you are poorer by a few million dollars.

The fact is, like your house requirements, your requirements of a TPM solution is also always POINT IN TIME. At different stages of organization evolution, you will find yourself at different maturity levels with respect to TPM adoption, which I would broadly classify into three levels as mentioned below:

  1. Maturity Level 1 – Achieve control on trade spend. Most companies would find themselves in this bracket while managing trade promotions. The basic idea is to ensure that you are able to account for every dollar spent on promoting your product. You are able to drive a process cadence throughout your organization.
  2. Maturity Level 2 – Improve ROI. If you took the right steps in Level 1 and managed to stabilize in a couple of years, with all the data gathered over this period, you will look at improving your execution and ROI. The focus will be on analysis of executed promotions and bring about predictability in running your promotions.
  3. Maturity Level 3 – Collaborate. Now that you managed to get the best out of your organization, you look at collaborating with your channel. This is where you start embarking on joint planning exercises with your customers.

Both the organization and the TPM product can be mapped along this maturity curve. The table below shows the result of mapping the maturity levels of the product vs. the organization and the results that can be expected.

As seen above, there are very few scenarios where you get exactly what you want. In most cases either it limits the potential for improving the organizational capability in improving promotion effectiveness or you might end up paying for features that have no immediate use. This is a problem when you either buy or build applications.

With Software As A Service (SaaS) based TPM applications you get the option of renting the application. You only rent out the features and functionalities which you feel are relevant to your business at a POINT IN TIME. Over a period, once you realize that you have achieved stability at a particular maturity level, you try to move to the next. This enables you to use the “best-fit” processes and features rather than the “best-in-class” features.

If you are interested in exploring a SaaS based TPM solution, read about mPromo at

Srinath Srinivasan

Srinath is a Senior Consultant in Mindtree's CPG & Manufacturing Industry Group and is currently based in the US. He has over 9 years of varied experience in business analysis, pre-sales and solutions for customers in the Automotive and Consumer Goods segment. He has experience in delivering large complex engagements and was also the Product Owner for one of Mindtree's SaaS based offerings. Currently, he is responsible for the engagement with an Automotive Major and helps them in refining their digital marketing portfolio. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from IIT Madras and Bachelors in Engineering (B.E) from Osmania University.