I joined the consumables team at gap intelligence just over two years ago after being referred by my good friend and recently married Data Opper Matt Altmetz. Having no previous experience in data research or knowledge of consumables I was completely unaware of how much I would come to love my role and my consumables team.

The Beginning – Consumables Island

When I started at gap intelligence, my initial understanding was that we provided the 4P’s (pricing, promotions, products, and placements) of market research data to manufacturers across several different industries and categories. I was brought onto the consumables team and began training to help manage the supplies that printers consumed: ink, toner, and paper products. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what brand of printer I owned at home or even what type of ink it required.

I was lucky enough to be trained by my predecessor, who was leaving to pursue a different career path. During department meetings she would say, “We are on our own consumables island,” and assured me that I may not catch on to the long monthly process immediately. I didn’t fully understand what she meant at the time, but after a few months at gap and becoming more comfortable in my role, the picture definitely became clearer.

Most of the categories that gap intelligence tracks are refreshed and delivered to clients on a weekly basis, and each week updated pricing and promotions reports are available for clients. However the consumables team publishes a monthly pricing report, meaning we deliver our complete pricing updates to clients once a month. Not having much context for this at the time, it was obvious that the consumables category was different, but I wasn’t yet sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. It also seemed at the time that consumables weren’t considered to be quite as glamorous as some of the weekly categories other gappers were managing, like TVs, tablets, or laptops. I had yet to comprehend the importance of consumables.

The Best Island

Fast forward to the present, two years into my employment at gap intelligence, and my perspective has taken a drastic shift and I am ecstatic about my role and position within the company. Here are a few benefits of working on Consumables Island:

  • Flexibility: Every month is different and depending on how the calendar is laid out, the monthly workflow changes and no two months are the same. In contrast to being on a weekly schedule, I have the entire month to prepare my report for clients; granted it’s a significant amount of data, but I have the flexibility to set my individual deadlines throughout the month.
  • Super Star Analysts: My dynamic duo of veteran analysts consisting of ink supplies and print media analyst Sarina, and laser supplies analyst Liana, has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and support to fully embrace these intricate categories.
  • Extended GFD Contribution: The consumables data fuels several other tools and projects within gap’s portfolio offering, such as gapTCO, gapCompare, and most recently SalesDrive. I take a lot of pride in knowing that my work is GFD in an effort to ensure these tools are 100% accurate.
  • Retail Collection Schedule: The retail data is a large component of the GFD that gap intelligence provides our clients. The weekly categories visit stores across the country each week to assess shelf placement, promotions, and pricing. As part of a monthly deliverable, I have a larger window of time to visit each store and complete the retail process.
  • -Value to our Clients: While I didn’t think that consumables were as glamorous as other categories in the industry, I soon learned the absolute value that the sales of ink and toner provide clients.  These products are some of the most lucrative and profitable items that these companies sell and the profits often provide funding for other initiatives those companies are working on.

The Perfect Picture

Although I’ve grown to love the monthly workflow as part of the consumables team at gap intelligence, I have a great respect for how each category is different in its own way. gap intelligence fosters a wonderful culture where even though I may sometimes be on Consumables Island, I have had the opportunity to get to know my fellow gappers on both a professional and social level through our gapCulture groups including gapU, gapMBA, and gapCon.

Also, thanks to my inkjet printer analyst friend Val, I’ve learned that my home printer is a Lexmark X5650 Color Inkjet model that came out in 2009 … I’m embarrassed to say that I could definitely use an upgrade.

Lexmark X5650 Printer