How Midsize Consumer Goods Companies Can Turn Holiday Cheer Into Sustainable Growth

Don Gordon

As the 2018 holiday season officially kicks off, shoppers are beginning to see visions of sugarplums and gingerbread houses. But they want them to be high-quality products that come at a reasonable price and through brands that complement their values and way of life.

For every segment of the consumer good industry, this level of consumer demand gives midsize players little room for error during the holiday season. Instead of competing solely on product features, price, and shelf space, they must outmaneuver competitors and anticipate market shifts in real time with greater speed, agility, and defense.

How can midsize players keep pace with the rest of their competition? They need to secure the digital capabilities needed to pivot resources quickly to detect and seize new sales opportunities, respond to shifts in supply and demand, and address product issues.

The holiday season requires a continuous focus on digital maturity

The opportunities for midsize businesses in the consumer goods industry are tremendous as barriers to entry melt away and digital technology becomes more affordable, faster, and easier. But to take advantage of these opportunities, they need to consider whether their operations have the right digital foundation to maintain an excellent customer experience and product quality.

Recent Oxford Economics’ research, sponsored by SAP, reveals that over half of growing companies in this industry are investing in building-block technology such as cloud, mobile technologies, Big Data analytics, and the Internet of Things. However, their digital maturity is still lagging behind their larger competitors, which are extending fundamental digital capabilities with intelligent technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics.

Of course, technology alone does not guarantee business growth. But it does power a virtuous cycle of data-driven foresight, strategic thinking, and effective planning.

Take, for example, Zentis. The manufacturer of fruit preparations such as top-quality jams and marzipan specialties is ensuring market alignment and fostering a high level of creativity to maintain a competitive presence. With scanners and sensor technology, the brand is fully automating capture and coordination of its various process steps through which transport containers pass.

Zentis’s implementation of intelligent Internet of Things technology enables its workforce to manage and track containers based on their serial numbers, from production right through to delivery. More importantly, this vertical integration of its business model allows the brand to make its processes more reliable and control recipes throughout the process control system.

Such disruption of the much larger conglomerates doesn’t happen by luck and chance. It’s all done through looking at the relationship between the industry and its consumers differently – with digital technology serving as inspiration.

Advanced digitalization extends trailblazing market cheer throughout the year

Companies that interconnect the relationship among customers, product inventory, supply chain operations, and promotional engagement are well-positioned to embrace deep-learning capabilities. Such intelligent ways of doing business include process automation, AI-triggered events, machine-learning decision-making, and robotic augmentation of work.

For example, growing brands can optimize operations; collaborate with retail customers and partners; and exchange information on pricing, risk, and opportunities. Plus, they can react immediately to ensure user experiences are optimal, consumer needs are met, and their values resonate across the brand. 

And the best part of running such an intelligent operation? Midsize consumer products companies can seize new revenue streams and mitigate risks in real time before their larger competitors do.

Push your growing consumer products company back on the growth path long after the holiday season. Read our point of view “The Crossover Effect: Positioning Consumer Products Companies on the Growth Path.”

About Don Gordon

Don Gordon leads global Consumer Products industry marketing for SAP. Previously he led global Retail industry marketing for IBM. He lives in Philadelphia, considered by many to be the finest city on earth.