In ‘CP Companies – opportunity is coming, are you ready?’ parts one and two, we talked about our new data-driven environment, outlined five technology trends driving opportunities for CP companies and dove deeper into hyper-connectivity – one of the most compelling tech trends.
These trends are all inter-related, and hyper-connectivity is enabling another trend; the idea that technology-driven intelligence and automation are creating a “smarter world.” As people, businesses and things become increasingly connected, all the time and in real-time, both the volume of data generated and the pace of business resulting from these connections are increasing exponentially.
Advances in technology are enabling companies to sense, analyze, optimize and act on both the volume of data and pace of business in real-time. And, corresponding advances in business automation, machine learning, the application of sensor technology, and the Internet of Things are creating opportunities to automate routine decision-making and elevate human intervention from process monitoring and control, to exception management freeing time for far more value-add activities such as process simulation, prediction and optimization.
These advances are enabling companies to capitalize on entirely new opportunities in the digital economy, including:
- Accelerating time to market with innovative new products
- Improving time to scale in new markets
- Automating and even transforming manufacturing processes
- Streamlining inventory management, warehouse operations and fulfillment
- Improving consumer reach and engagement
By combining data from people, businesses and things, and by leveraging new and advanced capabilities to sense, analyze, optimize and act in real-time, CP companies can tap into the type of information they need to keep pace with consumer demands and market shifts, analyze processes, recommend and implement improvements in real-time, and accelerate decision-making while ensuring optimized outcomes.
Technology developments fueling the evolution of the trend include:
- Robotics. Delegating routine or repetitive processes to machines has re-defined manufacturing, logistics and fulfillment. With built-in intelligence, smart machines can now help improve and optimize capacity, ensure consistency and quality, eliminate downtime and decrease costs. CP companies should be looking at how they can delegate or automate simple processes in order to apply human intelligence to complex processes and exception management.
- Additive manufacturing. Automating prototyping and production through the use of 3D printing and similar technologies is enabling tighter value chain integration from idea to the shelf. And, it empowers consumers in ways we never imagined. Already some CP brands allow consumers to print cosmetics, apparel, eyewear, and even food. This changes go-to-market strategies, inventory and delivery, just to name a few. It opens up the possibilities that never existed before, allowing CP companies to re-imagine the product delivery model and how they deliver an experience beyond products.
- Artificial intelligence. There’s been an explosion in the growth of structured and unstructured data that can be analyzed via artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. With machine-based algorithms, computers can now analyze massive data volumes in order to make decisions faster and often more comprehensively than humans. AI and machine learning can exponentially improve and expand the power of existing data, analytics and insights strategies, empowering brands to flex in real-time with the changing market based on data-driven decisions made in milliseconds.
- Smart products. As more products increasingly apply embedded sensors, those products will soon be interconnected, giving consumers access to more information and control than ever before. For example, items like smart appliances will alert consumers to needs or risks. For example, smart refrigerators can text a homeowner that they are low on milk or automatically add a product to a grocery shopping app. CP companies can use this automation and interconnectivity to build deeper connections with consumers, predict buyer behavior, suggest alternatives and prevent obsolescence.
In our final installment of this series we’ll cover how CP companies can proactively leverage the power of supercomputing to make better, faster business decisions. Or if you missed the first two, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Stay tuned; you won’t want miss out on these opportunities. Learn more about Digital Transformation for Consumer Products at Consumer Products. Reimagined for the new economy..