• Oliver Scutt

Why you *really* want 'Manufacturing' view

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

As the old adage goes "a man with two watches never knows the time". Unfortunately the blissful ignorance of only having one (typically sourcing) view of Amazon Vendor Central data foregoes a lot of insight, especially if you are entitled to see more. Amazon Vendor Central Retail Analytics offers up to 3 complementary and overlapping views of Retail data depending on what visibility is mapped to your account. Hence there can be from 1 to 3 views of retail sales and inventory data for each account-marketplace in which you operate:

  • Sourcing -- a single supply chain link view of what happened to the product sourced from you

  • Manufacturing -- an aggregate view of all the products you 'manufactured' and sold to market, including some traffic and revenue/ASP insight

  • Consignment -- a view of those ASINs whose inventory is classified as consigned

The most common view is Sourcing. We find this on almost all accounts. In this view, you see reports on product sourced via your vendor codes. You can see the Purchase Orders (POs) placed on you, and thereafter as the goods flow through the system, their resulting inventory and product sales. The sourcing view can be thought of as the distributor perspective -- you know what passed through your vendor codes and where it went but not the detail of what happened to it in the end/consumer market. Amazon, however is at least telling you what it shipped of your product by time period, but not what price it realized from the consumer.

If you have 'Manufacturing' view, you get to see the bigger picture, as if you were the manufacturer to give you a better understanding of the market and channel behavior, hence where to focus your efforts. In addition to the data resulting from any of your vendor codes' Sourcing visibility, you will see aggregate 1P sales volume and revenues, inventory & traffic but will not see the any detail or identity of vendor codes not managed by you. Manufacturing view adds RepOOS and LBB (Price) insights to help understand the impact of stockouts and Amazon's pricing competitiveness relative to 3rd Party sellers.

Consignment view is for a the business model where the vendor (code) owns and manages the inventories i.e. his goods are 'on-consignment' in Amazon warehouses. This is relatively rare.

If you are the sole authorized e-commerce representative for the vendor (or are the vendor), then you should reasonably have both Manufacturing and Sourcing views.

It is possible have Manufacturing view without sourcing, for example when a rep manages a vendor's content and advertising but where another 3rd party may handle the physical distribution. For example, much Consumer Electronics distribution is done through large players who consolidate stocks to handle B&M as well as e-commerce channel demand and hence they receive Amazon's POs on behalf of the vendor and hence own the vendor code(s).

If you have both Manufacturing and Sourcing visibility, you may find that the two views are different. You should expect to find that Manufacturing Sales and Inventory are at least as big as the Sourcing view on any given ASIN-Marketplace combination.

If at the ASIN-Marketplace level, Manufacturing volumes/values are bigger than Sourcing by some measure, this could be because: 1. Amazon reserves the right to source product from any source it can find and doesn't really care whether you are the official 'manufacturer-authorized' e-commerce representative, or not, and is buying from other 1P sources.

2. Amazon is moving product that they now own within their fulfillment network, either across borders, or perhaps that was returned

3.. There is a screw-up in the ASIN mapping to vendors that will take an Amazon Case to get resolved.

If at the ASIN level, Sourcing is bigger than Manufacturing, then there are a couple of likely reasons: - The catalog is wrong, either because it wasn't set up correctly, or the item dropped out of the Manufacturer catalog and hence is no longer considered yours, or - An ASIN has been mis-attributed to you -- perhaps because a returned product got mistakenly associated with your vendor code. The magnitude of the problem can be gauged by comparing the extra size of the Sourcing vs. Manufacturer Product Catalog which tends to accumulate a lot of such junk

The only downside to getting manufacturing visibility is all the extra downloads and data to manage. If you are fed-up with the Chrome 'Leave Page' dialog now, you will be doubly fed up later. This however is not an issue for Merchant AI clients -- we programmatically access all the data automatically and put it into a Business Intelligence-friendly format for downstream reporting or opportunity analysis tools such as Microsoft's PowerBI. Such analyses make it easy to understand revenue/commission leakage to other 1P sellers, lost buy box to 3P, as well as holistic sales and traffic reporting ... all before 8:30 on Monday morning for the prior week so that you can put that coffee to good use.