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Author's profile photo Mark Osborn

Running simple in Consumer Products

Today there are more than 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, and 900 million of those Internet users have only come online since 2008.  Internet adoption rates globally continue to grow rapidly, most especially in emerging markets.  At the same time there now are more than 1.5 billion smartphone users worldwide, each of whom reaches for their phone an average of 150 times per day and many of whom use their phone as their primary means of Internet access.  And, there are now more than 1.1 billion Facebook users worldwide, each with an average of more than 200 connections in their network.

Do you know what each and every one of these ‘users’ are?  Consumers.  And, given some of these statistics, it’s clear that consumers have never been – and will only continue to be – more online, mobile and social, connected with the Internet and to one another 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Today, one disgruntled consumer has the power to share a positive or a negative product or service experience with the entire world, in seconds.

With all of this access and connectivity comes both choice and power.  Consumers today are more empowered and have more choices available to them than ever before. But, for Consumer Products companies striving to reach consumers effectively, consumer choice creates complexity.  To compete in today’s consumer marketplace, it’s critical that consumer products companies develop the capacity to reach, engage, and serve consumers consistently with simple, compelling experiences across physical and virtual channels and along the entire path to purchase and beyond. Yet consumer products are contending with significant challenges such as:

  • Inadequate ability to identify evolving consumer trends, leading to an insufficient innovation pipeline and excessive product development lead times
  • Limited demand visibility, sub-par forecasting, and poor supplier collaboration, leading to insufficient availability of finished goods produced in time to meet demand
  • Inconsistent and poorly timed campaigns and promotions with variable execution across channels, limiting sales and diminishing consumer perception

Going forward, consumer products companies must identify consumers as individuals and deliver tailored, compelling and consistent information and offers across all channels, quickly spot evolving consumer needs and preferences, and align planning and execution seamlessly to deliver timely, relevant, compelling, and – most importantly – personalized experiences to consumers.

Running simple in this environment means developing business process competencies across business functions to:

  • Accelerate time to market – Increase innovation process transparency while encouraging continuous innovation
  • Extend global business networks – Streamline sourcing operations, fostering collaboration with suppliers and enforcing compliance
  • Streamline manufacturing – Optimize manufacturing capacity by rapidly translating demand signals into shop-floor orders
  • Enable a real-time supply chain – Increase visibility of inventory and demand to synchronize and collaborate across a global supply network
  • Optimize sales and marketing – Tailor valuable information and offers to increasingly refined segments to engage and reward consumers
  • Simplify on a real-time platform – Enable a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective enterprise platform to be consumer driven

By running simple, Consumer Products companies are able to:

  • Be first to market with products consumers want by linking consumer-led innovations with aligned execution, from idea to launch
  • Optimize customer service and profitability across the entire business network by organizing supply to meet dynamic demand at optimum costs
  • Reach, engage, and serve consumers consistently across physical and virtual channels with timely, tailored, and relevant information and offers

Leading consumer products companies are running simple to reach and engage customers and consumers.  Consider Nespresso.  The company has long been an innovator, giving anyone the ability to make the perfect cup of coffee.  But Nespresso wanted to move one step further. It leveraged SAP Cloud for Sales to engage with consumers directly through a powerful multichannel commerce buying process improving the company’s ability to target and acquire new customers while delivering the perfectcoffee purchase experience.

Nespresso is just one example of many consumer products companies innovating to reach, engage and serve today’s empowered consumers.  What about your company?  We’d be very interested to hear best practices and success stories about how consumer products companies are running simple to build relationships with consumers and deliver personalized brand experiences.

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