Growing demand in consumer goods made the FMCG industry as the 4th largest sector in India. With a population of more than 1 billion, India is one of the largest economies of the world regarding consumer spending. Since consumer change in demand has a direct impact on the supply side, technology is the key for FMCG industries to survive in this scenario.
In this section, we will discuss 3 major technologies trends you should never ignore in 2020.
Data Analytics is the process of analysing raw data and reshape to useful information which is utilized for decision making by users.
Data Analytics plays a key role in FMCG companies. This helps in performance optimisation and helps in cost reduction by providing an efficient way of doing things and storing a large bunch of data.
Types of Data Analytics
- Descriptive analytics
Descriptive analytics give information about what has taken place for a given period of time. This includes information about your sales planning, retail management, delivery management, market knowledge and so on. Where has the product been placed? What is the sales turnover for the past two months? How many visits are made by distributors to a particular retailer? Details about pending payment and so on.
- Diagnostic analytics
Diagnostic analytics gives detailed information about the cause of the occurrence of things that happened.
Did the route optimisation result in a decrease in delivery cost?
Did the retailer scheme management lead to retailer relationship and trust? Whether the customer change in need results in a decrease in sale turn over.
- Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics will help you to predict what likely can happen in near terms based on the past data and analytic techniques such as statistics, AI and machine learning. It won’t tell what will happen in future, but it can forecast what might happen in future based on the historical data and analytic techniques. Based on past customer buying behaviour, sales management will be able to avoid understock or overstock issues.
- Prescriptive analytics
Prescriptive analytics provides the best possible solution for a cause or a scenario based on available data. With AI and data information about order frequency, outstanding payment, outlet stock and so on, a retail visit can be scheduled and the best possible route can be suggested by an intelligent management system.
Advantages of Data Analytics
- Knowledge about customer requirements
- Can make accurate and faster decisions
- Awareness about risk, opportunity and investments
- Will be able to deal with customer change in need
- Helps in performance optimisation and reduction in cost
Artificial Intelligence is a system with the ability to think and work like humans. Below we will discuss the goals that AI is focused on.
Learning goal in AI helps machines to learn from experience. This process starts with some basic information and then the machine will be able to act by itself through learning and thereby increasing its performance. This helps machines to perform tasks, analyse performance, and look for efficient ways to perform tasks all on their own.
- Reasoning & Problem Solving
The reasoning is the ability to reach a conclusion based on the situation. Reasoning can be classified into two types: Deductive or Inductive.
In deductive reasoning, machines reach a conclusion from one or more statements or facts. Here the conclusion is certain. Deductive reasoning helps to create an effective marketing plan for specific audiences, make decisions on efficient ways of customer interaction and so on.In inductive reasoning, the machine reaches a conclusion based on some evidence, maybe past incidents or some actions which support the incidents. Here the conclusion is not certain but it has the maximum probability to be true. Changing meeting time based on employee availability, placing products on shelves based on customer visibility and so on are inductive reasoning.
Problem Solving is focused on finding a solution to a particular problem by exploring a range of possible actions. Route optimisation for delivery partners based on the priority to visit the outlet.
Perception in artificial intelligence is explained as, machine’s ability to become aware of situations through senses, such as the ability to see, hear and so on. Autonomous vehicles are one of the best examples of artificial perception.
Advantages of AI in FMCG
- Better customer experience and engagement
AI can provide better customer experience and engagement by ensuring attention, consideration and respect throughout their journey. AI-enabled customer analytics tool will keep track of every single customer relationship and will be able to predict future behaviour. AI-enabled chatbots and virtual assistance intelligence will help to delight customers on their journey.
- Efficient workflow management
AI’s role in process automation and decision-making capabilities play a key role in ensuring efficient workflow management. AI can monitor from individual level to group-level performance and can keep track of each and every decision made in management level and predict the impact of decisions made. AI can reduce team efforts by automating tedious tasks thereby teams can spend quality time within the organisation.
- Intelligent warehousing
Inventory management is one of the crucial roles related to warehousing. AI has the power to evolve your warehousing to intelligent warehousing by eliminating manual inventory check. Respective section with the right permission will be able to track products in real-time with a single click. The organisation will be updated with the total purchase orders, information about inventory drop, thereby ensuring inventory is in the optimisation stage.
- Smart Merchandising
AI-driven merchandising helps to predict customer needs before they even know themselves. AI will be able to predict this more accurately by tracking customer data such as their activities, interests and so on. For this to achieve a good quality of customer data is required and to be processed efficiently.
- Assortment Planning
After identifying the products people are interested in buying, another big challenge is identifying the right amount of stock. The key part here is avoiding overstock or understock scenarios. AI can come up with an efficient strategy for assortment planning such as the right product pick and the right quantity to meet the demand.
Cloud computing is a technology which provides services to many users over the internet. The service includes data storage, servers, databases, software and so on. Cloud computing is the best option for business which helps in cost-saving, increased productivity, speed, efficiency and security.
This enables users to save data remotely and can be accessed from anywhere and by many users who have the right set of permission.
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
- Platform-as-a-service (PaaS)
SaaS permits users to access and use software applications as a pay-per-use model over the internet. Only one version of the application, with a single configuration, is used for all users. Examples of SaaS are Microsoft Office 360, Google G Suite, SalesDiary, etc.
In IaaS a virtualized infrastructure is offered including servers, storage and networking hardware. Users do not need to purchase software or servers instead you can obtain these as an on-demand service. Examples of IaaS include Amazon EC2, Google Cloud platform, etc.
Platform-as-a-service is built on IaaS. Here cloud service provider delivers both cloud software and hardware infrastructures like middleware and operating system. Bluemix, Cloud Bees are some examples of PaaS providers.
Cloud Technology in FMCG Industries
Today most of the FMCG industries lag behind due to change in multi-channel operations. This happens mainly because they do not have an efficient infrastructure set up to deal with. To handle this scenario, organisations must invest in the right infrastructure.
Advantages of Cloud Technology
- Backup and recovery
- Information sharing
- Unlimited storage capacity
- Quick deployment
- Optimal resource utilization
- Automatic software integration
Organisation chooses cloud services based on their business model. Speed, efficiency and innovation provided by cloud technology help in evolving business model based on your customer expectation.
Technology in the industry has advanced a lot. The major obstacle in implementing technology is the lack of knowledge about how to achieve it or not confident about whether the organisation will benefit from the investment they put on technology.
With Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud computing implemented in your organisation, you will become the key players in the FMCG industry.
Let’s see Mark Parker’s (CEO of Nike) words about the importance of partnership with service providers who are expert in implementing technology services for your organisation needs.
“The biggest sources of opportunity are collaboration and partnership. And today, with digital communication, there is more of that everywhere. We need to expose ourselves to that as a matter of doing business”
– Mark Parker CEO, Nike
Let’s look into how SalesDiary helps in the organisation to sell with precision and manage with insight.
- Permanent journey plan and Live tracking.
- Gamified target setting (Team, Route, Product, Zone).
- Pricing Management.
- New Product Intro.
- Sales Force Management.
- Geo taggged Dealer/Retailer management.
- Secondary sales management.
- Shelf Merchandising.
- Trade promotions.
- Scheme management.
DISTRIBUTION / DELIVERY
- Territory management.
- Optimized delivery route.
- Primary sales management.
- Retailer stock tracker.
- Retailer order history.
BUILD MARKET KNOWLEDGE
- Retailer profiling and classification.
- Locality profiling.
- Customer surveys.
- Complaints and feedback.
- Competition study.
- Key Performance Indicators.
- Geographical Information System.
- Visual dashboards with indicators.
INTELLIGENCE DRIVEN SALES
- Machine Learning based Sales recommendation.
- AI based Pattern Detection and Anaysis.
- Automatic Sales forecasting.
- Product Positioning.
- Invoice Management.
- Tax filing notifications.
- Receivables tracking and alerts.
- Simplified tax filling.
DIGITAL PAYMENT COLLECTION
- E-payment management for manufacturer, distributor and retailer.
- Automated Reminders.
- Manufacturer, Regional Distributor and Retailer discovery.
- Product based discovery.