Josephine Coombe, Managing Director of Nulogy (Europe), highlights how digitalisation in an often-overlooked area of the external supply chain is improving the service FMCG brands deliver to retail customers and consumers
In today’s fast-paced world, with demand volatility the new default market conditions, FMCG brands are seeking ways to shorten innovation cycles and respond to an unpredictable market with greater speed and agility. To achieve this, many are expanding their use of contract manufacturers and co-packers, leading to the evolution of the supply chain into multi-enterprise networks. But is the technology keeping pace with this evolution? For many brands, collaboration with this external supply chain remains a blind spot in their digitalisation journey.
Contract manufacturing and co-packing partners are integral to ensuring brands can bring products to market quickly and cost-effectively. However, this agility can be seriously hampered by manual processes and outdated systems of record. Emails, PDFs, spreadsheets, voicemails… the communication between brands and their suppliers often are non-standardised, slow and cumbersome, leaving FMCG brands in the dark on much of their external supplier’s production and inventory, key order milestones, delivery dates and more. And this lack of visibility on operational performance has in many cases become simply accepted as the way things are.
Digitalisation means that accepting this status-quo is no longer necessary.
Collaborative platforms which allow for interaction and alignment between brands and their external suppliers are enabling real change and benefits to be driven from this previously overlooked part of the supply chain. Digitalisation through a cloud-based platform like Nulogy allows for network-wide visibility into materials and inventory status, real-time monitoring of production milestones, faster traceability and quality control, and a new level of visibility and trust that sets the stage for clear communication and closer collaboration.
With this new multi-enterprise supply chain collaboration, real time data is seamlessly shared, workflows streamlined, milestones and KPIs easily tracked with shared accountability between the FMCG and their supplier – all of which allows this ecosystem to bring products to market with increased speed, flexibility, and reliability.
Indeed, those who have invested in digitalisation in the past are now reaping the rewards in the present. Church & Dwight for example leveraged Nulogy to enhance collaboration across its global contract manufacturing network, enhancing supply chain performance and creating an environment of collaboration and visibility.
Through a digitally transformed network, Church and Dwight and its external partners can now share a singular, real-time view of orders, material movements and capacity, helping to collaborate on future products. Here Nulogy has been instrumental in enabling internal teams and contract manufacturers to work better and smarter together.
A multi-enterprise oriented collaboration platform can deliver a raft of operational and financial benefits to FMCGs, bridging the gap between FMCG brands and external manufacturing and co-pack suppliers. This blind spot in an FMCG supply chain can not only be illuminated, but with digitalisation can be transformed to enable all parties to work together in getting the products quickly and cost-effectively to today’s consumers.