What is the 'Walmart Week' and How Can It Help Your Business?

Walmart is unique.
Why should their planning week be any different? Stepping a bit away from
tradition, Shiloh Technologies' Walmart Week calendar, produced annually, helps
clients better navigate the Walmart universe.

Walk in the office of just about any supplier in Northwest
Arkansas, and somewhere in the building will be an unconventional-looking
calendar that only a select group of people are able to decipher.

This peculiar-looking document, known as the Walmart Week
calendar, is produced each year by Shiloh Technologies, a Rogers, Ark.-based
provider of the software solutions to manage retailer and consumer packaged
goods companies' big data challenges. What makes it unique is that, rather than
beginning the week on a Sunday and extending it through Saturday in accordance with
the common Gregorian calendar, the Walmart Week calendar begins on Saturday and
runs through Friday.

"Walmart is unique," said Shiloh marketing director Sherri
Kinsey. "Every retailer has their planning week, and not all of them go with
the 4-5-4 National Retail Federation configuration."

Walmart's week begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and extends
through mid-night on Friday. As a result, mapping the dates to a calendar grid
that begins with Saturday creates a somewhat undecipherable document to those
who don't speak Walmart.

That's not the case for Shiloh, which recognized in 2007 the
need for a specialized document unique to the Walmart universe. "Being in the
data analysis realm, we were already helping clients map their sales data to the
Walmart week," Kinsey said, "so we decided to create a calendar and offer it to
our clients."

Over the years, the calendar has grown in popularity and has
become a must-have item, especially among replenishment and Retail Link
analysts, even if their companies area not users of Shiloh's data analytics

"They use it every single day," Kinsey said. "Anyone who is
an analyst working in supply chain or managing inventory on a daily basis uses
it as a convenient reference tool. It is also an essential planning tool to be
in compliance with Walmart because they feed suppliers data based on their retail

Understanding such Walmart quirks is a key reason why Shiloh
has endured as a staple of the retailer's supplier community. Founded 19 years
ago by Britt Fogg, Shiloh emerges as CPG companies and retailers were just
beginning to share data, and companies were struggling to get their arms around
all the information.

Fogg developed a system of looking at the information that
Kinsey said was often met with exclamations of, "Wow, you can do that?"

Over time, Fogg expanded to capabilities of Shiloh's technology
to deal with ever-larger volumes of data and increasing client expectations
regarding how to make smarter data-driven decisions to drive business value.

For example, Shiloh users receive an automatic data feed
from Retail Link, at which point other external data inputs can be added to the
mix, such as Nielson information, weather patterns or demographics.

"It enables suppliers to gain insight into how their
products are performing, where and why," Kinsey said. "It is extremely powerful
to be able to incorporate every bit of data that is available into one
platform. It frees up analysts' time to do more analysis and focus in how they
can sell more."

Helping suppliers sell more is an objective Shiloh plans to
purse on a global basis in 2014 as it enters in 20th year of operation.
Fogg has taken on the added responsibility of CEO, while retaining CIO and
primary product developer responsibilities. In addition, the company named
veteran CPG executive Kurt Gibbons as chief customer officer. Prior to Shiloh,
Gibbons served as VP of the Walmart team at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and he
was with Coca-Cola before that.

"Kurt's role will be about process alignment, making sure
all of the cogs on the Shiloh wheel mesh and pursuing initiatives that will
make the supplier experience better," Kinsey said. "We have put in place a new
growth strategy and have some product developments coming that are really

Those products will build on the release earlier this year
of Shiloh's cloud-based product, known as Shiloh Live. That product allows
users to access information from any mobile device.

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