Recently on Parker Avery’s Talk Retail to Me,” podcast, our Chief Analytics Officer, Sam Iosevich, and his long-time colleague, George Arutyunyants discussed George’s continuous journey through advanced analytics. As the firm’s Senior Director of Analytics, George explained how Parker Avery uses a win-win approach to analytics development by leveraging deep retail and consumer goods industry expertise, combined with strong partnerships with clients and academia.

This week, we give you some key takeaways from their insightful conversation.

Every Client Contributes to Better Analytics

The driving force behind any system development is truly listening to the client. The Parker Avery analytics team maintains the mindset of “having two ears and one mouth” to ensure clients’ needs are not just met but are exceeded. Our clients continually ask for new functionality and new applications of the system. These requests bring new learning and new challenges, which ultimately improves the analytics platform. George admits these challenges sometimes result in many sleepless nights, however, they always strengthen the analytics platform’s capabilities. This philosophy has been a long-standing practice and should perpetually carry forward: listen, build, test, deploy, repeat. And of course, lean on industry best practices.

Infusing Business Process and Change Management

Driven by client requests and the overall industry direction, Parker Avery is expanding the demand platform into other areas such as assortment optimization, planning, fulfillment, and markdowns. Parker Avery has what George refers to as the “perfect marriage” of very strong retail and consumer goods industry expertise and a solid analytics team. This brings the best from both worlds by ensuring industry business process expertise influences the firm’s analytics development to drive value for our clients.

We are currently working closely with several clients in designing new business processes and simultaneously configuring their forecasting solution. For each project, Parker Avery infuses strong change management and organizational design components. These are crucial to make sure that roles are adjusted as necessary to fully take advantage of new capabilities. Further these efforts help organizations understand and embrace the analytics outputs so their full value is realized and business objectives are achieved.

Efficiency Enables Agility

In today’s on-demand consumer world, agility is a common buzzword. Given the current disruptive environment, the term’s ubiquity is not without merit. As such, applying great efficiency to analytics helps companies achieve agility. George and his team spend as much (or more) time on efficiency as they do on the algorithms themselves. This goes beyond just trying to get something out of the system, and George views building in efficiency as an art. There is a big difference when an application can run in a single minute versus ten minutes. With the necessity for retailers and consumer goods companies to become increasingly agile, it is critical to capture every bit of efficiency in analytics and the resulting decisions.

Partnering with Academia

In addition to partnerships with companies like Miller/Coors, Sam’s Club, and Lowe’s, Parker Avery has been partnering with the University of Rochester for research and development in deep learning and demand sensing. This approach opens gates to new resources that may cross over and further infuse complex science and mathematics into industry roles. Doing so helps break down barriers between the art inherent in retail and consumer goods operations and the science of advanced analytics applied in the industries. More importantly, leveraging academia’s deep understanding of the algorithms brings greater speed and efficiency to the solutions and ultimately delivers more valuable results to Parker Avery’s clients.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Parker Avery’s “win-win approach” to analytics or any of our other retail and consumer goods consulting services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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