Gain a Competitive Edge by Developing a Data Hierarchy

by Jackie Biallas

SAFIO Solutions has helped companies gain a competitive edge by organizing their data and giving them visibility into the intelligence it provides.  A well-thought out hierarchy and classification of attributes can help a business strategize and make decisions that increase operational performance.


SAFIO Solutions helped one client develop a new hierarchy for their assortment of merchandise.  Once the products were categorized and attributes were assigned, the company was able to see where there was duplication in their assortment.  Unproductive categories and themes were identified.  Less profitable SKUs were liquidated.  The categories and themes that were the most profitable were capitalized on.  Turnover increased from 1.5 to 3.2.

By using SAFIO Solutions’ trend analysis, another client was able to guide their art department to focus on developing art for emerging trends.  Data within the hierarchies and attributes provided insight into customer demand and volume potential.  This insight helped improve productivity by reducing wasted time on less likely product, and maximized efforts on trend right product, answering the customer demand. Data can be sliced and diced to gain insights into early trends and whitespace in the marketplace.


A hierarchy is a method of organizing data in a table, acknowledging that one value encompasses all the values beneath it, in a tree-like structure.  In a hierarchy, each “child” only has one “parent”, but a parent may have multiple children.  For example, a manufacturer may have a hierarchy similar to this:

The information is then integrated into a database, consisting of all the records for the items that the manufacturer carries.  The hierarchy table should be arranged so each row is a single sample (e.g. Part number) and each column is a single variable (e.g. Dept, Category, Attribute).

It is important that the attributes represent the key selling properties of the item.  It is also important that the hierarchy be complete and accurate.  If values are missing from the table or incorrect, the resulting analysis will be inaccurate because data from items that should have been included within a category is not included.  Or, if the classification is incorrect, the data will be included in the wrong category.


Once the hierarchy has been established and the sales and inventory data are entered into the database, the information can be filtered, sorted, or manipulated to extract valuable insights into how departments, categories, or attributes are performing.  Charts and graphs can be created to provide visualization into category performance.

Businesses can gain early reads on trends to give them a competitive edge.  In addition, they can determine if there is any whitespace in the marketplace.  For example, a product assortment may have three top-selling attributes, but is missing an item that possesses all three of these attributes together.  [basic-code] ™ has helped companies define their hierarchy and product attributes, giving them the vision into their assortments.  By determining the whitespace, new products have been developed and become top sellers.

By taking the time to establish a meaningful hierarchy, businesses can reap the rewards from the valuable insights it can provide.  Contact SAFIO Solutions for a demo on how your company’s data can help you gain a competitive edge!