story by Kara Nardoni
special to The City Wire
Located in the heart of Northwest Arkansas, scarcely five miles away from Wal-Mart's headquarters sits Shiloh Technologies, an organization that thousands of traffic-weary commuters drive by weekly, and yet few profess to know much about. At its core, Shiloh provides data analytics and data storage tools utilized by a supplier’s executive officers, supply chain division, sales team and category managers who work with the nation’s largest retailers.
The founder and chief technology officer of Shiloh Technologies, Britt Fogg, has seen his company grow exponentially since it first opened its doors as a small startup in 1994 under the name Fogg Business Solutions. In 2008, the company changed its name to Shiloh Technologies to reflect an increasing demand for retail solutions beyond Bentonville — a demand still increasing today.
Like many other third-party service providers located in this region, Shiloh might have started out to help Wal-Mart suppliers, but has also been able apply those same services for a multitude of retailers such as Costco, Amazon and Kroger to name a few.
Shiloh collects point-of-sale data from dozens of retailers and third parties and integrates it with a supplier’s own data. Post-integration, Shiloh functions as an evaluation tool, providing a supplier with the retail data necessary to analyze product demand, including product price changes, fluctuations in inventory, store merchandiser execution and a product’s overall sales performance at retailers across the nation.
The access to real time, point-of-sale data not only allows a supplier to improve forecasting and to correctly identify current and potential sales opportunities, but also results in the supplier’s ability to service retailers and consumers efficiently.
In other words, although Shiloh is engineered for use by a supplier, the software benefits each entity along the supply chain by ensuring that the correct amount of product is supplied, retail sales are maximized, and a consumer’s need for a product is always fulfilled. Sun Products notes in a customer testimonial that during the first 30 days after it began using Shiloh analytics the supplier identified $32 million in lost sales because of store distribution, replenishment setting and out of stock issues, all of which caused forecasting inaccuracies.
Standard Shiloh "zero sales reports" pointed out item/store level issues that needed correcting and automatically sent these to store merchandiser reps for resolution.
Glaxo Smith Kline said Shiloh’s automated reports saved valuable time. The pharmaceutical firm said with the implementation of Shiloh, not only did they save three business development people almost two days per week each, they were also able to report on lower volume items that represented $8 million in sales. The supplier said Shiloh identified the problems with the lower volume sales through its regular reporting data.
Fogg said Shiloh has continued to grow its staff 16 times larger over the past two decades. He said software sales are up 40% year-over-year as the company continues to expand its customer base.
The retail intelligence marketplace has become quite competitive, but Shiloh has managed to secure dozens of large suppliers like Welch’s, Hillshire Brands, Bic, and Coty. These suppliers conduct business with multiple retailers and Shiloh can integrate those multiple systems into one format tailored to each supplier’s needs.
Fogg also credits the company’s ongoing success to innovation. He said it’s the constant strive toward innovation, combined with an experienced team of employees, and their commitment to customer service that has helped Shiloh grow in a somewhat crowded marketplace.
Fogg said Shiloh continues to explore future growth opportunities for the one-time local startup. He said the firm developing possibilities for new products, pursing new markets and most importantly a potential office expansion, though the firm is not yet ready to give any specific details on the latter.
One area Shiloh is challenged by is that they have no global office, which Fogg cites as a significant competitive disadvantage for capitalizing on global demand. He said Shiloh Technologies is in the process of world wide expansion.