Quite often, I get asked about new industry trends. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the consumer goods industry - but what are the hot trends or capabilities that should not be ignored? What will set an organization up for success in the future?
Let's take a dive into my top recommendations.
Mobile & Cloud-Based Solutions
One of the interesting things we see about consumer goods distributors is that they all add value to the supply chain in their own unique way. Even within a given sector, two distributors may have a different approach for adding value to their customers: one may decide that logistics efficiency at the lowest price is all that matters, and another may focus on point-of-sale data trends, managing the customer's inventory assortment and merchandising at the store level.
Each company has to decide what's important in order to drive revenue, control costs and then implement specific solutions to target those areas.
That being said, mobility and cloud-based solutions should not be ignored - no matter the approach and priorities. CPG distributors continue to lag behind in ecommerce capabilities. If they don't have robust B2B ecommerce and mobility solutions in place by 2017 or 2018, they run the risk of becoming obsolete to a large and growing base of current and new customers.
At Tribridge, we offer multi-channel management, or the ability to integrate and simplify the customer experience across multiple channels and transactions. We simplify the experience across: E-commerce, customer portals, distribution center pickup, call centers and brick and mortar stores.
Consolidation of ERP Systems
If I had to choose which project would have the biggest financial impact on a business, it would be the consolidation of ERP systems. We have been working with larger consumer goods manufacturers where growth has occurred in multiple ways, but largely through acquisition, which results in wide-ranging and disparate systems.
Consolidating systems results in key benefits, which are driving positive financial impacts:
- Streamlined and standardized processes create a smaller organization learning curve where resources and best practices can be easily shared, and headcounts can be reduced and more strategically deployed.
- Centralized purchasing and consolidated buying power creates significant savings opportunities for MRO and direct materials.
- Reduction in annual software maintenance costs.
- Consolidated and standardized master data management. Large benefits related to SKU rationalization/reduction and uniform ways of managing data across the enterprise.
- Single view of the customer across the enterprise for contact management, pipeline management, quotes, orders, case management, etc.
- Improved and unified business intelligence/ analytics reported in real time, or near real time.
Attributes of a Valued Partner
Today, there are three attributes that retailers should look for in a truly valued consumer goods partner:
- Trade Promotions Management. Seamless so the process of establishing and managing customer promotions becomes very targeted and strategic, with low administrative overhead burden and great reporting/analytics.
- Data Analytics. Ability to analyze the retailer's point-of-sale data and offer products or combinations of products and will satisfy customer demands and trends.
- Collaborative Forecasting. Consumer goods manufacturer or distributor working closely with its retail customers to prepare a collaborative forecast with the ability to react quickly to fast moving trends.