The Contact Lens Institute (CLI) is a group of top selling contact lens and lens care manufacturers who participate in a quarterly statistical program to track shipment data of their products. The program started tracking top level US sales but overtime has expanded to track sales at a detailed level worldwide. Veris Consulting (Veris) has managed the CLI statistical program for over 20 years. CLI data is more valuable than other sources of market data because sales are reported directly from manufacturers and revenue from all countries is converted to a constant USD to avoid trend fluctuations due to currency changes. Most importantly, it is the only program where the data is reviewed annually by Veris to ensure accuracy. Veris implemented this internal review process to reassure participants that they could be confident in the data. CLI reports are now considered one of the most accurate sources of market data available.
INDUSTRY: Contact Lenses
PROJECT TYPE: Statistical Program
The Challenge/Trigger Event.
An issue arose when the accuracy of the CLI quarterly market reports was questioned. Participating manufacturers submit their sales quarterly to be included in these reports, but there was no guarantee their submissions were honest and accurate. Each one was responsible for submitting their own sales which Veris took at face value and included in the report. The submission process consisted of an excel form to be completed by each participant. Participants wanted reassurance that all data accurately followed the program’s guidelines and that the forms were being filled out correctly. They wanted to eliminate the possibility that participants could knowingly submit inaccurate sales to thwart trends in their favor or unknowingly do so due to genuine human error.
The Solution Implemented.
Since data was submitted at a top level basis, Veris thought the best way to determine accuracy was to review the data at a higher level of detail. Along the same idea as an audit, Veris followed the data directly from the source to the submission form. To do so, Veris visited the finance department at each manufacturer’s headquarters and requested the sales be pulled directly from their internal system at the model, or SKU level. Now having access to all of the manufacturer’s sales by model, Veris worked to recompile all the quarterly submissions to confirm they were done correctly. If it was found that a form was being completed incorrectly Veris would work with the participant to improve their process. Certain companies had such complex internal sales reporting structures that it was more efficient for Veris to take over this process and manage the data compilation on a regular basis. Following the completion of all data reviews, a restated annual report was published correcting any discrepancies or errors found.
The data review proved to be a necessary component of the program to maintain accuracy within reporting. Veris identified discrepancies up to 20% due to errors in the submissions. Participants were responsible for correcting these errors in future submissions. This became a required annual procedure at the end of the year. With the joined effort of Veris and participants, the amount of errors found is now less than 1%. Therefore participants are reassured that the quarterly reports are accurate throughout the year. This low margin of error is extremely important to participants since they use this data for strategic planning.
The Customer's Thoughts.
“Veris runs the CLI (Contact Lens Institute) statistical programme , which involves all of the main contact lens manufacturers submitting consistent quarterly data at product category and country level. From this every quarter Veris compiles and distributes consolidated reports of all of the manufacturers submissions with 5 years history included, for both revenue and units. The main purposes for these reports is so that the contact lens manufacturers can see how the product segments and market is trending along with calculating their own market share in these categories by country. These offer valuable insights in order to help us gage where the market is heading and ultimately help with the possible strategic approaches we might make in the future.
Along with the reporting piece, Veris acts as a partner to ensure that all the manufacturers are working together so that we can make the statistical programme as effective as possible. For example they help support all manufacturers so that their data is submitted timely, thorough checking mechanisms to ensure accuracy, annual audits and in person meetings to help facilitate discussions on improving the process, including their ideas on how to improve it. I believe that with all of this in place it helps us understand the market better and therefore make our business more effective. “
- Chris Holloway, Global Business Analytics Manager at CooperVision