Frontline uses analytics to tackle complex magazine supply chain

SAS used to get over 300 million copies of its magazines to variety of retailers at the right time

Frontline Ltd, the UK's leading magazine sales, marketing and distribution company, has invested in SAS to tackle its complicated supply chain from printer to store and ensure the biggest magazine brands reach right shelves in the right quantity at the right time.

The company enjoys a 30 per cent share of all sales from the UK's magazine news-stands, a figure which rises to more than 40 per cent for the total Frontline Group when the sales of its sister company, Seymour, are taken into account. Each year, Frontline itself distributes more than 300 million copies of around 200 market leading magazine titles, reaching over 55,000 retail outlets that range from the biggest superstore to the smallest newsagent. The process involves managing relationships with printers, carriers, wholesalers and retailers on behalf of its publishing partners, Bauer Media, H Bauer, Haymarket and Immediate Media Co.

For a number of years, the Frontline Group has used SAS to help place the right number of copies of its publishers' magazines in those retail outlets where they have the best opportunity of being sold. Frontline's team of Commercial Insight Analysts has also worked on turning data into actionable insight for the business. This has included gaining a better understanding of the factors impacting on sales such as the cover price, cover-mounted gifts and marketing activity. However, there was a need for more in-depth analysis into the macro- and micro-level consequences of changes to retailers' magazine ranges and the space they afford to the magazine category, to better understand the consequences for both retailers and publishers and to be able to offer them expert advice accordingly.

Paul Smirk, Commercial Analysis Controller at Frontline, said: "We are data rich and to date we have spent time manipulating data through SAS and then performing some basic statistical analysis outside of SAS. While some of the team are educated in statistics and others have learnt it on the job, most are not familiar with wider statistical functionality and when or how to use it in SAS. The solution from SAS allows us to do this more readily, and even those with limited statistical skills can generate their own models, with results displayed in an easy-to-understand format."

Andy Cutler, Director of Strategy, SAS UK & Ireland, commented: "We're delighted Frontline has decided to use SAS so it can work more efficiently with its data and build up a clearer picture of its magazine supply chain. In the information economy it's crucial that all organisations are able to properly collect and analyse their data quickly, to give them the power to know all they need to about their operations."

The SAS solution deployed by Frontline is SAS® Enterprise Miner, which enables users to streamline the data mining process to develop models quickly, understand key relationships and find the patterns that matter most.


About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 83,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

About Frontline Ltd

Frontline’s primary function is to manage the end to end magazine distribution of around 200 titles from printer to store. The magazine supply chain is complex and Frontline ensures that the biggest brands in the magazine market reach retail shelves in the right quantity and at the right time. This involves managing relationships with Printers, Carriers, Wholesalers and Retailers on behalf our Publishing Partners; – Bauer Media, H Bauer, Haymarket and Immediate Media Co.

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