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LISLE, Ill., September 26, 2007 --- The item-level data for most products contains at least one error in either product height, width, or depth dimensions, and nearly one in every five products have data errors of greater than 25 percent, according to a new study conducted by Gladson Interactive, a provider of product images for the consumer goods industry.
Such dimensional errors in the product information master file (PIM) are a leading factor in store out-of-stocks, and a challenge for any retailer exploring data synchronization, said the company.
"Studies conducted in the mid-1990's by a leading packaged goods manufacturer estimated that a planogram goes out of compliance at the rate of ten percent each week," said Gladson c.e.o. Mike Spindler. "Based on our findings, there is a high probability that most planograms are never set as intended in the first place due to these product measurement inaccuracies."
Moreover, inaccuracies at the item level were found to be as costly to demand chain applications as case-level inaccuracies were to supply chain applications, and a significant hindrance to the long-time industry goal of data synchronization.
For the study, Gladson collected complete package detail on over 200,000 items contained in more than 1,000 active planograms provided by one of three largest mass merchandisers, several of top 10 grocery retailers, several large regional chains, a large drug retailer, a convenience store retailer, a number of specialty retailers and several large manufacturers.
The item-level detail from these product planograms was compared with the Gladson Interactive Product Library, which consists of over 800,000 SKUs and serves as a benchmark for data accuracy. According to Gladson, dimensions for the Library are captured with advanced laser technology and are accurate to within 1/20th of an inch.
While all three dimensions are important, package width most directly affects consumer presentation, and the Gladson study found that 76 percent of the products in retailer planograms were measured either narrower or wider than they actually were. In total, these width errors represent over a foot per shelf for the average section.
Seventy-seven percent of the products showed a difference in package height and these are potentially the most expensive from a shelf set perspective, said Gladson. Realigning shelf height and getting halfway through a reset and then finding out that a product is too tall for the shelf, adds to labor costs and upsets a reset schedule.
Eighty-two percent of the products examined showed differences in depth measurement, which can result in a planogram that shows more pack-out per facing than will actually fit on the shelf.
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