Data, private label products, and facility automation are FMCG trends leading the way in 2019, according to Adrian Dale, Managing Director of Polymer Logistics. Leveraging its insights as a leading provider of ‘One-Touch/Retail Ready Packaging (RRP)’ solutions for retail supply chains, the company offered its unique take on this year’s three leading trends.
Leading the way, according to Dale, is increased demand for data and digitisation. “We are finding our customers are looking for better inventory accuracy and control,” he said. Brands are looking to better achieve visibility in distribution, as they typically lose product visibility until it gets to point-of-sale. “We have a strong presence in end-use merchandising units. Combined with IoT technology, we are well placed to offer that service to FMCG customers.”
The Polymer Logistics IoT solution provides information about inventory held at the distribution centre as well as at the store. “It enables them to be smarter about the amount of stock they need to put into supply chain,” Dale said, eliminating the practice of suppliers pushing a lot of stock to retailers “because they really aren’t sure. This technology allows them to have that visibility, so we are improving productivity for our customers as well as overall efficiency.”
At the store, geolocation sensors offer considerable benefits to supply chain participants. They help retailers locate stock and promote FIFO, especially important for perishable products. As sensors generate a massive amount of data, it needs to be structured to reveal valuable insights. Dale stressed the importance of dealing with a technology provider such as Polymer Logistics that can customise dashboards to best meet customer needs. “We are getting a lot of uptake and it is extremely exciting for us,” Dale continued.
The second leading trend that is being seen by Polymer Logistics and others is the continued growth of private label products.
“We are seeing less selection and more concentration involving fewer SKUs,” Dale said. Retailers are ordering more pallet level displays, which increases material handling efficiency. Pallets of product that are placed directly into the retail fixture help reduce labour cost and improve inventory management.
The third trend noted by Polymer Logistics is that of automation. “A lot of companies are turning to automation,” Dale stated, citing labour shortage challenges and the increasing national living wage in the UK. He noted that when companies invest in automation, they are finding that they can’t rely on the consistency of wood pallets to prevent downtime. Some companies are relying on pallet inverters to remove damaged pallets, but such remedial actions are still costly. Plastic pallets, which are extremely durable and of consistent high quality, provide a reliable alternative.
With FMCG trends continuing to shift, Polymer Logistics is looking forward to helping brands and retailers alike address their data, private label and automation challenges.
For more information, go to their website: www.polymerlogistics.com