Head of Analytical Information Systems at Axel Springer AG
Unfolding daily savings
Europe's biggest newspaper unfolds daily sales forecasts to control costs
Bild, Europe's largest daily newspaper, boasts a circulation of 3.5 million, while its Sunday edition, Bild am Sonntag, sells 6 million copies. To manage numbers that big, German publisher Axel Springer AG builds demand forecasts with SAS that show precisely how many copies each kiosk will sell from one day to the next. That way, vendors avoid selling out too early while the publisher avoids costly excess.
In addition to Bild, Axel Springer owns 230 publications, including Computer Bild, the best-selling computer magazine in Europe, and Sport Bild, Europe's biggest sports magazine. With 12 million readers each day, Axel Springer relies on predictive analytics to control costs and manage sales risk.
"For us, there is no real alternative to SAS on the market."
Smarter insights, smarter decisions
The publisher relies on easy access to accurate demand forecasts to make smarter decisions about supplies and inventory. Forecasts for each sales location help Axel Springer set targets for returns and sell-outs. By analyzing sales data in a time series, the publisher can adjust those targets and clarify factors that influence sales.
"Holidays are an important influence factor," says Walter Baum, the publisher's Head of Analytical Information Systems. "Sales figures skyrocket in vacation regions during the summer months – whether on the Baltic Sea or on Majorca – sometimes dramatically. And during the IAA in Frankfurt, even the occasional customer reaches for the automotive issue Auto Bild. The more precisely we can foresee these types of fluctuations, the more profitable business will be."
Finding the connections
In addition to forecasting sales trends, data mining reveals hidden connections among data from different sources. For example, the demographic characteristics of a neighborhood play as important a role as convenient access to kiosks and the range of products they sell.
"We get answers to questions we had not even asked ourselves yet," says Baum. "This puts us in a position to continuously improve our processes."
The ability to combine different approaches, technologies and functions in a single source is unique to SAS, says Baum. "For us," he says, "there is no real alternative to SAS on the market."
Stock each vendor with just enough copies of Europe's best-selling daily newspaper to meet demand yet avoid costly excess.
Reliable newspaper deliveries promote customer loyalty, while fewer returns increase profitability.