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While data effectively means knowledge, too much data means the opposite – an inability to manage your accounts because you are overburdened with information. This was exactly the challenge identified by Innovative Retail Account Management (iRam), when the company began working for a supplier to Massmart. iRam found that its customers were given cumbersome data sets for the managing of their accounts, and because of the number of stores and the number of products being sold, managing everything from stock levels to sales became impossible. Carl Dos Santos and Grant Berridge solved this challenge by building a system to assist customers to understand and manage their major retail accounts – thus, iRam was born. A data analytics business, it mines data, finding the gems and deriving actionable to maximise the account. The beauty of this, says Carl, is that essentially any manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor that supplies products to Massmart is a potential client of iRam’s. He adds that by adopting a holistic approach to key account management and focusing on tailor made services to fit clients' unique requirements, the company is able to ensure that the retailer and supplier collaborate to achieve common objectives. Looking ahead he says he hopes to split the business into four arms, focusing on traditional business, e-commerce, training and returns and store counts. Ultimately, he wants iRam to grow its customer base by around tenfold in the next three years. He has no doubt that the potential is there, however, pointing out that iRam currently services nine Massmart suppliers out of more than 8 000. All it will take to really grow the business, he adds, is hard work and guts.

On-air Interview