COLGATE-PALMOLIVE SOFTWARE TO EASE PRODUCT ANALYSIS

NEW YORK -- Colgate-Palmolive Co. here is in the process of equipping its sales force with new category management software templates designed to make product analysis more efficient and time-saving.The company began training its sales force in the new category management procedures this month, Dee Ann Donnelly, director of account marketing, told Brand Marketing."We have restructured some of what

NEW YORK -- Colgate-Palmolive Co. here is in the process of equipping its sales force with new category management software templates designed to make product analysis more efficient and time-saving.

The company began training its sales force in the new category management procedures this month, Dee Ann Donnelly, director of account marketing, told Brand Marketing.

"We have restructured some of what the category management support for the individual sales force will be," she said. "It will be a category development team within the region office."

In developing the program, Donnelly said, Colgate-Palmolive is working with its partners, Northwestern University, Chicago, and the Center for Retail Management at Northwestern University. Colgate-Palmolive is using the joint industry Efficient Consumer Response Best Practices Category Management Report and FMI/Northwestern category management reports as its guidelines, she said.

"The partnering group has also worked in leading the efforts with the ECR Best Practices Group in developing the report templates. The Center for Retail Management has standardized those software program templates. What we did, working with our partner, Nielsen, is to automate that process," she said.

The new templates should make it easier for Colgate-Palmolive to service its retail customers, she said.

"There is an attempt within the industry right now to standardize some of the analysis that is going on," she said. Donnelly said the new templates should dramatically reduce the time necessary to turn around reports.

"Typically, it can take us about a week to do some of this analysis. Now we can run this in about an hour," she said.

Colgate-Palmolive is rolling out the templates to the region level this month, and will expand them further at a later date.

"We ultimately are going to do it at the category level," Donnelly said. "In these reports that the retailers ask for, they ask for a lot of information at the category and then the subcategory level, and then ultimately down to the brand level and then product and stockkeeping unit."

"Most of the retailers use these reports at a higher level than the manufacturers typically do. We kind of focus internally on brands, and occasionally get to categories. I think this whole category management effort has kind of reversed that," she said.