IDC Merchandising Analytics & Essendant Brands Manager in Deerfield, Illinois

Primary Purpose

The Merchandising Analytics & Essendant Brands Manager is responsible for providing fact-based and data-driven guidance to Essendant's Category Managers in selecting suppliers and assortment that result in increased sales, profit, and/or market share. This individual will be responsible for developing a deep understanding of Essendant's product categories and suppliers' overall dynamics, for analyzing our assortment's economics, and for presenting those findings to merchandising and cross-functional leadership. In addition, the position will also help the development and execution of RFPs for their assigned categories (including running the RFP, identifying SKUs & potential suppliers with category managers and Global Sourcing, and bid analysis). Finally, the manager will support the Director of Merchandising Analytics & Essendant Brands and their assigned Category Leadership team with the development of Essendant brand plans that will drive increased penetration and profitable growth of EB.

Primary Responsibilities

Merchandising Analytics:

  • Analyze SKU-level and supplier-level performance within a set of merchandise categories. This includes, but is not limited to: category trends, key supplier dynamics, dead-net economics at the SKU level, historical evolution of cost and margins
  • Provide market and industry insights on top performing items purchased in the market and by customers
  • Perform competitive benchmarking (assortment, SKU distribution) in specific product categories
  • Identify cost and margin opportunities across SKUs and suppliers (e.g., cost gaps, profit gaps, productivity gaps) and guide Merchants in prioritizing for impact across supplier negotiations and RFPs
  • Identify cost drivers and trade-offs, reverse-engineer product lines' cost structure, develop "should-cost" for main product lines
  • Execute "what if" scenarios on proposed assortment changes or share shifts before finalizing assortment decisions, partnering with Inventory, Pricing, Sales & Marketing
  • Craft analytical materials to be shared with suppliers during supplier negotiations, category reviews and assortment discussions

Essendant Brands & Sourcing:

  • Support merchants in driving Essendant brand strategic initiatives and developing plans associated with sales, margin, and penetration on Essendant brands
  • Use sourcing tools and run processes (e.g., RFPs, e-Auctions) to ensure selection of best vendors for Essendant brand and other commoditized products (considering cost, quality, value, availability, etc)
  • Analyze and assess the validity of cost increases submitted by suppliers on a consistent basis


  • Memorialize and audit agreements with suppliers for archiving and tracking purposes
  • Work on special projects, ad hoc analysis, and initiatives related to assortment performance and COGS management
  • Understands and demonstrates Essendant's Core Values
  • Performs other duties as assigned


  • Understands Merchandising business processes and their influence on organizational performance and profitability
  • Very strong analytical and problem solving skills (advanced proficiency with Excel a plus)
  • Strong Financial skills, including the ability to gather, analyze and organize complex data, and draw conclusions
  • Proficient verbal and written communication skills (effectiveness with PowerPower a plus)
  • Strong project management skills
  • Ability to present to Merchandising and cross-functional leadership
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple assignments and meet tight deadlines
  • Ability to work cross-functionally and build & maintain effective relationships particularly with Merchant teams
  • Ability to work independently and adapt to changing work priorities
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Expert abilities in Microsoft Office Suite software including MS Excel and PowerPoint, and Word.
  • Expert knowledge of business intelligence tools required, preferably with ABC tools, PROS and Hyperion


Bachelors or better in Finance or related field.



5-7 years:Applicable work experience


Presenting to groups and senior management

Financial or Merchandising analysis experience

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information.

Posted: July 29, 2017