KPMG’s capabilities can tell leaders from the world’s largest multinational consumer goods companies how much money they made on a single item sold in a mom-and-pop store in Lexington, Kentucky, last Tuesday.
The need to quickly pinpoint precise information might seem like overkill, but there is a huge value in specificity. Rankin is a principal and the national advisory industry leader for KPMG’s consumer and retail practice and service leader for performance transformation. He partners with senior executives of the world’s largest consumer goods and retail brands.
Companies who understand exactly where and how they make money can target focused changes to drive improved results. “Our new capabilities to bring a data-driven approach is changing everything,” Rankin says. “We have complete visibility to help clients identify the best opportunities to create value for their organizations.”
The KPMG Elevate offering can now leverage advanced analytic tools, big data, and industry expertise to integrate every single transaction from retail stores, e-commerce sites, and wholesale purchases into a single data repository. That information, synthesized with cost data, employee census reports, shipping and logistics information, and go-to-market expenses, creates a fully allocated view of profitability. They then run proprietary algorithms to generate detailed dashboards that highlight key business performance metrics.
The process—unheard of and unattainable five years ago—now takes less than six weeks from start to finish.
Rankin joined KPMG in 2015 to build a new performance transformation group dedicated to giving leading companies what they need to take the next step in a changing and uncertain retail landscape. The endeavor, known as KPMG Elevate, is based on the next-generation KPMG analytics platform.
“This is a results-driven model,” Rankin says. “Once we find issues to address, we work closely with clients to create measurable goals and tangible implementation plans that accelerate profitability.”
The methodology often leads to dramatic results. Rankin and his KPMG colleagues approach most large projects in two phases. First, they capture disparate data sets and identify value opportunities. Then they develop a targeted and rapid implementation plan. Last year, they helped a multibillion-dollar manufacturer and retailer understand where and how to optimize profitability across forty countries, multiple channels, and dozens of brands.
Deep and varied experience gives Rankin the ability to connect with his clients in meaningful ways. He earned a degree in finance, started consulting, went to business school, and then spent many years at Staples driving corporate strategy and merchandising groups. Taking a series of different roles with increasing responsibility in retail, e-commerce, and business-to-business units provided Rankin with the chance to implement the suggestions he once made as a consultant and helped him appreciate all the challenges his retail clients face.
After a decade in leadership, Rankin left the corporate world for the chance to help a small start-up launch a cross-retail mobile wallet for payments, coupons, and offers. Instead of working in a nice office at a publicly traded company, he spent his days raising money and hiring new talent to take a concept to the market.
The time Rankin spent as an industry and start-up executive has made him into a better consultant. “I’ve seen the unique struggles of a start-up, and I’ve felt the intense pressure of running a large team inside a multinational public entity,” says Rankin, who ran a multibillion-dollar portfolio at Staples. “And that means I can help our clients tackle the problems they face.”
The problems retail clients face seem greater than ever before. In fact, Rankin says that retailers face a “challenging new reality” in the post-COVID world. He expects a shifting and increasingly tight labor force, coupled with concerns around inflation, to make it even more challenging to navigate these times. Meanwhile, delivery options and shifting trends in consumer preferences post-pandemic are making e-commerce options more standard.
As some retailers face challenges and others consider strategic alternatives, only the bold and agile competitors will survive. “Retail and consumer goods companies have to move forward in this environment. Historically, our clients wanted insight, but now they want impact. They want clear results,” Rankin says.
Rankin and his team give clients the information they need to respond to today’s changing world. The unique multidisciplinary and data-driven approach lets clients navigate the new normal and elevate their business to the next level. That’s what the KPMG Elevate platform is built to provide.