Today I am pleased to announce that Schneider Electric has signed an agreement to acquire ProLeiT, a provider for industrial automation, process control technology and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) for the Food and Beverage Industries.
Headquarter in Herzogenaurach, Germany, ProLeiT operates in 10 international locations and has developed a growing and profitable business in Software platforms. ProLeiT has a portfolio of strategic accounts generating a large legacy and robust pipeline in the Food & Beverage (F&B) segment while providing integrated MES (Manufacturing Execution) and PCS (Process Control) systems for F&B, Chemical and Life Science segments and a market leading solution for the brewing industry, brewmaxx.
With the addition of the ProLeiT software portfolio, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Plant platform will be further enhanced to help drive digital transformation for customers in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) segment by providing improved productivity and efficiency for both energy and process.
As Sophie Borgne, SVP Digital Plant comments “ProLeiT brings deep domain expertise in processing beverages, liquid food and other consumer packaged goods. Our combined R&D teams will deliver best in class integrated technology and digital solutions for smarter industries. I’m looking forward to welcome ProLeiT teams from all over the world into our Digital Plant business after final closing of the deal.”
The ProLeiT acquisition will significantly improve our Industrial Automation position in targeted Food and Beverage segments with potential synergies in Life Science and Chemicals.
And Mike Jamieson, CPG Segment President agrees, “For Consumer-Packaged Goods customers, the extension of our portfolio to include ProLeiT not only brings market leading technology for the optimization of production processes, but also a strong team of experts in these processes, whose knowledge is codified into their world class platforms Plant iT and brewmaxx. As an Open Process Control System, with inbuilt MES functionality, leveraging state of the art technology and fully adopting Industry 4.0 standards and methods, ProLeiT compliments and enhances our current portfolio whilst supporting our vision for Open, Interoperable and Flexible automation systems.”
The acquisition will enhance our software platform within our EcoStruxure offer for Food and Beverage customers by offering advanced process control and MES software along with native connection to our Modicon and AVEVA offers as we go forward. We believe in order to drive change in this digital economy, software must play a leading role in the automation, optimization and management of industrial plants.
Wolfgang Ebster, CEO, ProLeiT AG., confirms “Bringing ProLeiT and Schneider Electric together is a great opportunity to combine our expertise, and develop our software business through Schneider Electric channels”. Ebster continues “We envisage tremendous potential for growth in the near future powered by ProLeiT’s process control systems and industry-leading know-how in the field of consumer-packaged goods and Schneider’s global market presence and complementary products. By combining our experience and skills in software development with the competencies and efficiency of Schneider, we are in pole position when it comes to driving transformation and growth in the Industrial Internet of Things.”
We are pleased to begin this journey together with a tremendous sense of excitement about the opportunities we can bring to our customers and our business, and I look forward to sharing these innovations with you after the close expected in the coming months.
In addition, I would like to extend my appreciation for the amazing work done by both teams for this accomplishment during such unprecedented times. We are stronger together.
Originally posted on SE Blog by Peter Herweck
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How we can build on the performance foundations of the 2 nd industrial revolution, adding traceability, sustainability and flexibility to the recipe.
It’s not easy being a manufacturer of consumer packaged goods. Profitably manufacturing food, beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products that meet the necessary quality and compliance requirements at the right price point for a market with rapidly changing demands, has never been more challenging.
Our goal is to support customers in areas like food and beverage by helping to improve plant performance and bring greater flexibility to operations through digital transformation. Especially since agility hasn’t always been part of the manufacturing story.
Performance agility as the next innovation in manufacturing
During what is commonly referred to as the second industrial revolution, Henry Ford’s great manufacturing innovation was bringing cars to the masses. By finding ways of producing high volumes of cars at low prices, cars went from something that rich people owned, to something that everyone could buy.
This is often attributed to the moving assembly line, which meant less workers were required. It also cut the time it took to build a car from 12 hours to down to just two hours and 30 minutes. To simplify the production process and decrease the number of production lines needed, the majority of cars were made in one color. Black was chosen because it was the cheapest and most durable paint available.
Industry 4.0 enables Agile Production
Ford’s original manufacturing principles are still the foundation of what’s used today. The pressure to produce the right product at the right price is greater than ever. On top of this we have extra challenges to deal with. People want to know where their food has come from. Was it made sustainably? Was it ethically sourced? Does it comply with regulations? And if you can’t give them this, someone else will.
During the fourth industrial revolution plant performance is more than operational efficiency. It also includes agile, tracible production. The good news is the technology available now means we can improve efficiency while also making operations more agile.
How IIoT solutions boost Plant Performance
So how do manufacturers in the food and beverage world achieve the right levels operational performance and still give consumers what they want? With digital solutions we can optimize processes and overall plant performance, reducing waste, energy usage and labor costs, and increasing production efficiency. Fortunately, these same digital solutions are also a step towards more agile, sustainable operations. And the results for plants using these technologies are exciting.
In China, leading dairy producer Yili Group managed to increase operational efficiency by 19%, while reducing energy costs by 5%.
Using augmented reality in food and beverage manufacturing
Augmented reality (AR) ensures workers that they have the right information when and where they need it, including maintenance data and, in case of a problem, visual guidance on where the fault is and how to rectify it. With maintenance personnel spending up to 50% of their time today searching for information, AR can really pay off in terms of reduced downtime and improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). AR can even help improve safety since in many cases staff don’t need to physically open panel doors to understand what is going on.
Secure asset connection and remote troubleshooting
Nowadays it’s possible to do a lot of things without even having to be on the plant floor. Secure asset connection allows you to connect to assets to do maintenance, change manufacturing parameters or even perform trouble shooting, all from remote locations. Experts can ‘look over your shoulder’ to guide you or make suggestions when you’re troubleshooting or just trying to make things run better. Connections are end-to-end cybersecure and remote access can save you a lot in labor costs. In some cases, the approach has shortened troubleshooting time from over seven days to as little as four hours!
Given downward price pressures from large retailers and changing consumer demands, food processors must find ways to improve both the cost of manufacturing and the ranges they can deliver to market.
During the second industrial revolution in the early 20 th century Henry Ford achieved manufacturing efficiency at the expense of flexibility. In the early 21 st century during the fourth industrial revolution we can potentially achieve both.
Originally posted by Sophie Borgne on SE Blog
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Many industrial enterprises are asking: How can we do a better job operating remotely? When your workforce is inaccessible, secure, remote access to industrial automation systems is essential for plants and factories to sustain operations. In a digital world, some “in-person” work is no longer a requirement and access to subject matter expertise is often just a click away.
Remote management allows plant and factory operators to continue to adjust processes, conduct maintenance and make operational decisions with actionable insights that drive efficiency even when access to the physical plant is restricted or not desired.
The Old Paradigm
Before digital remote management was available, machine and operational maintenance was a costly and inefficient process. Manual, in-person labor meant production downtime was extended and company profitability was eroded. When a factory machine failed, the process involved many steps:
Operators escalate the issue to management
Managers dispatch a maintenance team
Technical experts are consulted via email and telephone to fix the issue
Since the OEM or systems integrator expert does not have direct connectivity to the machine in question, the problem is described via telephone exchanges
Depending on the local diagnosis, a representative from the OEM may be flown to the site to try to rectify the problem
Downtime is extended as expert work agendas are often fully booked as they travel from site to site managing maintenance issues
In some cases, if the initial diagnosis is incorrect, the technician has brought the wrong spare parts and more delays ensue
To overcome such obstacles, a workflow is needed to rapidly connect the machine to the expert. Fortunately, digitized tools now quickly link the remote experts to failing machines for faster diagnosis and remediation. Working together, these new tools allow experts to more efficiently manage multiple machine maintenance issues remotely from their corporate office, their homes, or any location across the globe.
No need to have an expert onsite to resolve the problem
The development of these tools was driven by industrial business requirements for faster change management, for better machine availability, and for a need to enable faster and less costly actions to address maintenance and operation-related events.
As part of a global internal Smart Factory initiative to modernize and digitize over 80 production factories across the globe, Schneider Electric has field tested remote maintenance management tools over the last three years. The tools combine cybersecure remote access and augmented reality to enable remote management of factory floor machine assets.
Here’s how remote maintenance management works:
Using a secure connection tool, an OEM or system integrator expert is able to connect via a cybersecure cloud connection to the end user machine that is experiencing a problem. The expert can then remotely diagnose the problem by checking the machine data, parameters and logging information. Then, depending on the issue identified, the OEM proposes the fastest way to implement a fix. In fact, in some cases, the OEM may even know about the problem before the end user realizes that the machine is underperforming.
If the problem diagnosed is simple to fix (like providing a firmware upgrade or software adjustment) the OEM or system integrator can automatically process that fix using the secure cloud connection. If some simple onsite action is required (such as swapping out a clogged filter on the machine, an augmented reality tool allows the operator to execute tasks using a simple tablet or mobile phone, either with or without guidance of the remote expert. The tablet is populated with augmented reality images of the equipment, updated online documentation, operational procedures, and even simple “how to” videos for easily accomplishing the task at hand.
Additional applications accelerate process changes
Bühler, a global developer of equipment for processing foods and manufacturing, reduces human error by having employees use an augmented reality tablet to prompt a consistent, standard approach to executing their tasks, across their global factories. When updates to operational procedures are made, the change is automatically pushed out to the entire workforce, so that everyone is instantly up-to-speed regarding the latest procedures.
These tools also help to revolutionize the way machine operators are trained:
Instead of a physical classroom with books, YouTube-like videos of experts quickly provide operators with the training needed to address the immediate issue at hand.
The technology helps with facilitating a product line switch over by demonstrating visually to operators a step-by-step approach for executing any new procedures.
The augmented reality tools ensure that the right steps are completed in the right order.
Information is sent back to a centralized server and is available as a management report that indicates which operators reviewed the new procedures, documents when they executed the tasks, and confirms whether the execution of steps was successful or not.
Virtual Maintenance and Operations
Across global factories, the move to remote management is accelerating. As machine performance improves while maintenance costs drop, experts are more productive because less time is spent in traveling on airplanes. That extra time is spent remotely supporting more customers. Learn more about how remote digital tools are boosting factory production and optimizing human resources.
Originally posted by Arvin Pitt on SE Blog
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In recent months, augmented reality (AR) has gained much attention across both business and consumer marketplaces. Although AR technologies have been around for at least 15 years, mainstream adoption is a recent phenomenon within the manufacturing industry. New breakthroughs in the affordability and applicability of AR technology have accelerated the rate of adoption. Traditional AR installations involved expensive equipment, a complex rollout, and a high degree of technical expertise.
Now, a flood of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets combined with some innovative software engineering tools have made it possible for developers across industries to achieve affordable AR solutions. Manufacturing companies large and small find themselves in a position to capitalize on AR and to pursue new opportunities that significantly boost operational productivity and enhance competitiveness.
What is augmented reality?
Within the realm of industrial manufacturing, augmented reality is really about two different environments converging or blending in a way that boosts the effectiveness and efficiency of plant operators. One environment is “real” (what you see, unassisted, in front of your own eyes) and the other is “virtual” (not “real”, but computer generated). Both of these environments can be understood in terms of a continuum, with real environments at one end and completely virtual environments at the other. What lies in between is augmented reality, which is, in essence, mixed reality.
Have a look at this video of AR in action at Bühler, a global market leader in the supply of flour production plants, pasta and chocolate. For anyone that uses a mobile device for daily activities, AR presents a completely new way of engaging with machine devices and executing tasks. The technology of mobile devices (and the cameras within) is combined with access to new sources of real-time data (usually via a wireless network) and the conversion of that data into visualizations/graphics. This offers operators a blended view that allows them to virtually see “inside” of a machine without having to open any doors.
Consider the implication of such capabilities on three areas pertinent to manufacturing:
Product development – Augmented reality applications can be effective in the product design review phase, when new products require testing and evaluation. AR offers the possibility of evaluating 3D virtual models of new products, which can be easily modified, in their real context of use, without having to take the time and to bear the cost of producing real prototypes.
Maintenance – Suppose an operator’s machine breaks down. An AR app can diagnose the machine problem and visually guides the operator or maintenance person through quick and easy repairs. The AR program displays superimposed information on the operator’s tablet regarding how to execute the specific repair.
Safety applications – New AR applications allow the user to “see” the inside of a closed metal cabinet (that houses machine components) and allows the user to diagnose an issue without ever having to physically open the box. This allows internal environmental conditions to be assessed while equipment is still in operation (without humans having to get too close). This increases overall reliability and reduces safety risk.
Generating exponential benefits through “end-to-end” integration
Sophisticated AR tools do require a high degree of integration to perform these specific functions. Elements such as the physical environment, data sources, graphical interfaces, product specifications (including software and connectivity compatibility) and artificial intelligence all need to work together. In fact, AR tools perform best when connected with the broader upstream and downstream processes across the entire manufacturing value chain. Naturally, such complex programming should not be the responsibility of the end consumer, and that is why open and inclusive vendor-developed technology architectures are important enablers to large scale deployment of AR applications.
Suppliers with expertise across both the Operations Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) realms are playing a critical role in driving adoption. Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ for Industry platform, for instance, consists of three layers ̶ connected products, edge control, and analytics ̶ that are integrated to facilitate applications such as AR through connectivity and mobility, cloud analytics, and cybersecurity.
We are just now uncovering the potential for this new generation of AR tools on the plant floor. Although much progress has been made to get to this point, recent advances in easier integration and practical use cases should help speed the adoption of these solutions within the manufacturing space. In fact, 10 years from now we will realize that 2018 was just the beginning.
Originally posted on SE Blog by Peter Herweck
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To meet their challenges, food and beverage producers need to consider every means of increasing business efficiency and reducing costs. Digital transformation is central to this evolution.
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Microgrids are local, interconnected energy systems and may become the keystone of the new energy transition. Their implementation requires new technologies to enable cooperation among distributed energy resources with a shared objective, analyze strategies to optimally operate and manage the interconnected system, or relieve design constraints regarding bidirectional power systems.
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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is not about ripping out current automation systems in order to replace them with new ones. The potential lies in the ability to link automation systems with enterprise planning, scheduling and product lifecycle systems. This paper analyses how the linkage can be implemented across the complete enterprise value chain in order to enable greater business control. Experts also offer perspectives regarding key aspects of IIoT deployment.
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May 2017, the world faced one of the most serious cyber-attacks. The Ransomware Wannacry put at risk 200,000 companies spread over 150 countries.
Immediately after, every company, including those in Food & Beverage, started to assess their vulnerabilities and stance regarding their cybersecurity policy.
June 2017, another ransomware, Petya, infected more than 2,000 companies. For the first time, two major Food & Beverage companies announced publicly they have been attacked.
“Because cyber-attacks on Food and Agriculture sector offer little financial gain and likely pose only minimal economic disruption, the sector does not perceive itself as a target of such an attack”, as stated in the publication Food and Agriculture Sector – Specific Plan (2015).
So, what is at stake for the Food & Beverage industry and why should cybersecurity matter for F&B companies?
Cost of Cyber-attacks
In June 27, an international F&B company published that it was impacted by the attack. A few days later, a Press Release announced the consequences of the attack: a disruption in their ability to ship and invoice during the last days of their second quarter, and a first estimate on revenue impact.
Furthermore, as stated in Kaspersky Labs Security Bulletin 2016, the longer it takes to detect a security breach, the higher the mitigation costs and the greater the potential damage. From US400,000 for an instant detection to more than US1.0 Billion for a detection taking over a week.
It is clear that cyber-attacks may dramatically impact your business.
Food Defence Plan
With the implementation of a Food Defence Plan as part of a Food Safety Management standard, a Threat (or Vulnerability) Assessment Critical Control Point (TACCP) is recommended (Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule for Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration).
Furthermore, in Europe, the PAS96:2014 Guide to Protecting & Defending Food & Drink from Deliberate Attack states that “No Process can guarantee that Food & Food Supply are not the target of Criminal Activity”. “Cybercrime” is clearly listed as a potential threat to be addressed.
Industrial Control Systems
Cybersecurity is also a critical topic for automation architectures such as HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) and SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems. It becomes even more important with increased connectivity, data exchange and the use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). How do you make sure your process data is protected against cyber-attacks? Do your personnel have a general awareness of cybersecurity topics related to the use of such equipment? These are key challenges to answer.
Security Implementation Is a Solution, Not a Product
Security implementation is a combination of many items. It is about understanding the system, the threats and the risks. It involves people, policies, architectures and products.
Of course, it is under vendor’s responsibilities to design products and solutions with security features, to ensure they enable customers to comply with security standards and to provide recommendations and methodologies to guide implementation. But the end-users need to define security procedures, to mandate responsible people and to ensure compliance with security standards.
Finally, as Industrial security is more than just IT security, a “Defense-in-Depth” approach is recommended. This approach underlines that no single item will provide security for your entire system.
In conclusion, the Food & Beverage industry is also vulnerable to cyber-attacks and cyber-threats which increase in complexity. Therefore, cybersecurity policies should be assessed regularly using the evolving regulations and standards as part of your Food Defence Plan.
To know more:
Download our White Paper on “SCADA security: Challenges & Solutions”
Check Schneider Electric Post “The Cybersecurity Business case: An Arduous Challenge – Part 1”
Originally published on SE Blog
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In our previous post, we highlighted the importance of efficient product content management in the current competitive environment where consumers demand more trusted, transparent access to increasing relevant, reliable information on their product choices. Now in this post, let’s see how we can provide an answer to this challenge.
What is a PIM solution?
PIM stands for Product Information Management. It serves as a system of reference that centralizes all end-product data and makes it available to stakeholders internally and externally. The solution ensures data accuracy and consistency across different internal sources of information and retail channels. The data handled by PIM systems are constantly updated and should comply with GS1 standard (the common language used to identify, capture and share data between the actors of the CPG supply chain).
A PIM solution assures that product data can be standardized, centralized, and distributed with complete security along the downstream supply chain. Therefore, it gives CPG companies a single version of truth for their product data delivering significant operational efficiencies and improved business performance.
A PIM solution is a real productivity tool improving the marketing & the selling of CPG products through complex distribution channels, helping teams work faster and smarter throughout the product information lifecycle and making cooperation easier.
A PIM solution should be flexible both on how the data comes into the system and how it is incrementally improved over time. And as today brands need to validate their content against requirements of retailers and the market needs (e.g. e-commerce, marketplace), PIM solutions need also to embed DAM (Digital Asset Management) functionalities and to be available in a single cloud-based platform accessible by different internal stakeholders.
Therefore, a PIM solution allows CPG companies to acquire, manage and publish product data seamlessly across all channels and synchronize product information regardless of format, language, currency or physical location.
The Benefits of a PIM solution
A PIM solution may provide different types of well-known measurable benefits: strategic, tactical and operational.
Possibility to expand and manage efficiently the different SKUs
Shorten time to market for product introduction: faster distribution of the information to all channels
Uniform customer experience across all channels: 39% manufacturers confirm better level of customer loyalty with a PIM vs only 9% without a PIM
Increased consumer experience: organizations that invested in PIM systems reported 8 to 12% greater improvement in customer retention, satisfaction and time to resolve issues over the past year vs 3 % or even declines in performance for companies not implementing this tool.
Management of complexity: growing number of SKUs and attributes, channels, languages, countries, suppliers, specific assortment and prices, level of hierarchy, …
Better controlled content distribution: retailers are asking more and faster product information as a criterion to list the different products. With a PIM solution, you can provide the retailers with more and better product information earlier.
Legal and regulatory compliance: companies with a PIM state to have 50% more better control over their data than companies without a PIM.
A PIM solution that is GS1 compliant enables to automatically exchange information with the retailers and supply chain actors using the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).
High Quality Product Data: organizations with a PIM system reported a 17% increase in the accuracy of their product master data over the past year, more than 3 times the improvement shown by companies without a PIM.
Increased turnover: online conversion ratios can increase from 17 to 56% through better product information. Better and more accurate product information enables a more efficient keyword selection search, navigation, filter and comparison for the consumers
Reduction of cost per product: Studies show that with a PIM solution search time to access information reduced by more than 25%. Also, a PIM solution enables faster product data editing: on average, with the introduction of PIM, time to update one product was reduced by 30%, also time to remove a product information error from the webshop was reduced by 75%. Furthermore, a PIM solution simplifies product hierarchy management offering the ability to link products to multiple hierarchies/level without duplicating data. Overall, with a PIM solution, employees need to spend less time cleaning data.
Interfacing with other systems: avoiding the information to be updated manually. In average, 25 min per SKU is spent on manual item data cleaning each year, which would take only 4 min with an automatic synchronization. AT Kearney estimates that 30% of all article data from wholesale and producers has at least one mistake in it. It estimates the cost of correction to be between 60 and 80€ per product. With a PIM solution, you will have less rework on your product information generating concrete and measurable savings per product.
Overall operational benefits of PIM system can be significant: Aberdeen sees a 67% drop in labour cost and feedback from PIM users and shows an increase in employee productivity of 20%. Finally, in average, the payback of a PIM solution is around 6 months to less than one year.
When to consider a PIM solution
If your company has:
To manage lots of products and product changes
Multiple different users of product data within your company or external users
Faces complexity generating many attributes per product and/or if your products offered differ widely
To manage data quality and/or data compliance
Lots of sources of product data information to synchronize across your complete supply chain
To manage different channels (print, web, mobile, …) needing different output formats and interfaces to be supported
To deal with different countries and languages with the need of local adaption of product content managed in an automatic mode
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you need a PIM solution to remain competitive in your field, increase your product content management efficiency and start the digital transformation of your product data.
The PIM solution from Schneider Electric in partnership with Agena3000 offers a 360° vision of data in line with the GS1 standard for reliable, efficient Product Information Management.
Regain control of your product data…
Originally posted on SE Blog
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With growing consumer demand for more access to trusted, reliable information around their choices, mass retailers and “e-tailers” are using innovative technologies, such as digitization, connected objects and mobile apps, to meet their customers’ needs.
According to an IDC report published in 2017, the production of data will increase tenfold by 2025. Gathering data from multiple sources and sending relevant information to the right people is becoming a headache for manufacturers. They need to send this data in increasingly short deadlines, with near real-time becoming the norm in e-commerce. Added to that, the World Economic Forum, states that online sales will grow from around 10% today to 40% in 2027!
In order to share consistent information across the enterprise, product data needs to be dynamic, merged, centralized and up to date. If not done properly the sharing of information is very inefficient, unreliable, and prone to errors and mis-interpretation.
Why is Product content management such a critical initiative for Consumer Goods Companies today?
This can be illustrated with cases that happened with a major global company in November 2017 in the UK.
Newly introduced brands suffered from bad eCommerce launches due to inaccurate new product listings, with information missing such as ingredients and shortened names. Consequently, it was difficult for digital shoppers to find these products online resulting in loss of sales and money wasted by the manufacturers.
Research conducted with major British retailers found that 63% of products had errors in their listings and that 71% of these new products fell outside of the top 100 search results on key product search terms, or worse, did not feature in the search results at all.
It is important to consider the paradigm shift over the last few years which shows that shoppers are taking their time to read ingredient labels. They want to know exactly what’s in the products they buy, how it was processed and even from where it was sourced to make better purchasing decisions. This is extremely important as it is a way to drive greater shopper loyalty. Research shows that 96% consumers will simply abandon their purchase if they can’t find the information they need for evaluation.
In the last 2 years, many startups have developed apps for consumers enabling them to scan the products and provide and check ratings. Some of those apps are collaborative such as Open Food Facts which relies on consumers to enrich the database. If shoppers do not regularly update the information on products or if a company does not proactively connect to this platform to send the updated product information, then, there is a great probability that product information will be outdated and mis-leading. Importantly it may not show new products in a good light, or miss value add information like recipes or worse, the notification of allergens.
Therefore, to regain consumers trust, CPG companies should urgently take back ownership of their product data that they need to disclose to their end-consumers!
What are the challenges faced by a CPG company regarding its product information management?
Today, more consumers are digital shoppers and retailers use an omnichannel strategy to better serve them. However, it is becoming more and more complex for a CPG company to distribute product content in a consistent manner to all the channels at the same time.
Retailers are requesting more rapid access to information. Often new product content is required in a maximum of 48 hours. And they require more content as well: digital content, such as different views and videos of the products are now the basic information requested to enrich the product information delivered to the digital shopper. CPG companies need to address this challenge if they want to remain visible and competitive in their market.
Moreover, the number of attributes for a single product has grown in the last 5 years from 50 to more than 500 leading to hundreds of relationships and millions of records to manage.
Internally, companies also need to manage multiple sources of product data used by several services and stakeholders (production, quality, marketing, sales, …) that need to be synchronized from time to time dedicating numerous teams to take care of these operations. In parallel, companies need to send this product information to multiple users from retailers, market places, ecommerce platforms, startups, …. making it critical for them to be able to manage these operations in a fast and consistent manner.
In conclusion, handling critical information by spreadsheet and through multiple sources of systems within the CPG companies is problematic and even ERP systems are not optimized to support product information lifecycles. But as consumers rely on product data as a source of truth, to be successful, companies need to ensure accuracy of information to succeed in today’s omnichannel reality.
The positive news is that there are new disruptive solutions to better manage the information related to products, such as PIM (Product Information Management) and DAM (Digital Asset Management) enabling CPG companies to better answer the challenges of today’s environment.
Critical technologies and capabilities for grocery manufacturing
(Source : Accenture and GMA – Seize the opportunity to drive digital transformation in CPG, 2017)
Originally published on SE Blog
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