ATLANTA -- Simplified Efficient Consumer Response scorecards, incorporating industry benchmarks that will make them easier to use, will be available in November.
The industry benchmarks in category management and other ECR initiatives will be based on a survey of retailers, manufacturers, brokers and wholesalers. Survey results are due by the end of this month, and a new scorecard booklet is expected to be published before the end of the year.
When the original scorecards came out last year, the nearly 300-page document was described by some in the industry as intimidating to look at, let alone use. Individual scorecards took up nearly 30 pages in some cases, and no benchmarks on the industry's performance were included.
"What we hope to be publishing will be a booklet that any kind of company can look through, rate itself on each of these measurements, and compare its results to the averages and best performances by other groups of similar companies," said Peter Harding, vice president at Kurt Salmon Associates here.
The consulting firm is spearheading the ECR Benchmarking Project along with the ECR Operating Committee. "A retailer will be able to look at a particular scorecard indicator and figure out how it compares to other retailers," said Harding. "The new scorecard will be a useful tool for top executives in planning and setting priorities for their companies."
Gary Capshaw, vice president of logistics at Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, and co-chairman of the ECR Operating Committee, said that the new scorecards can also be used between trading partners to foster greater interaction.
Each new scorecard has 20 indicators, or topic areas, down from 70, that cover areas such as category management, efficient replenishment, efficient assortment, efficient product introduction and efficient promotion. For each indicator, a company can rate itself, or a trading partner, on a scale of 0 to 4 on how well developed the company is in that particular process.
The reduction in the number of indicators has shortened the scorecards, from nearly 30 pages in some cases to three or four pages.
As part of the survey, sources are being asked to rate their current typical, current best and three-year goals for each indicator. They are also being asked questions about category management results, efficient replenishment, current ECR implementation status and overall ECR results.
"We've sent this simplified scorecard out to 30 chains as well as 20 independents, along with manufacturers, brokers and wholesalers, and asked them to assess themselves -- in other words, rate where they are on these specific scorecard indicators," Harding said. Harding also said that the results of the survey will be very useful to the ECR Operating Committee, in identifying particular areas where more effort may be needed in research or education.