“In the CPG retail sector, the term “manufacturer” can refer to both large food processing plants and small producers of fresh local organic produce.”
But whatever their size, CPG manufacturers supply mass retail brands with products that fill the household pantry.
This position between farm and table requires flexibility but is crucial in the delivery of consumer packaged goods to consumers.
Trace One, the world’s largest collaborative retail business platform for consumer-packaged goods (CPG), offers a suite of integrated cloud solutions for the creation and management of CPG products.
Challenges in adapting to the needs of consumers
Consumer habits and expectations are undergoing increasingly frequent changes, and the problem emerges on how the food sector may anticipate those changes and when to react.
For manufacturers, timing is everything. Brands need to fill store shelves with innovative products as quickly as possible if they are to meet consumer expectations.
This race against time begins when brand owners make a call for tenders, which must be met within a very short timeframe, despite increasingly demanding specifications and increasingly complex recipes and formulas.
Once a bid is accepted, the ensuing production and logistics operations must still adhere to the same rigorous standards of quality control regardless of timeframe, and ensure that products are delivered with typically minimal lead time.
These demands on the part of retailers are the norm for the sector and are driven not only by questions of profitability and cost reduction but also and above all by the ever-shifting demands of the end consumer.
As Christophe Vanackère, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER of Trace One explains, the evolution of consumer culture has brought about profound changes in the mass retail industries that serve it.
“This revolution is essentially the result of a great social movement stemming from consumers themselves.
For the past decade, consumers in France and most of the Western countries have been making a serious return to more sustainable, ethical, and healthier modes of consumption, ” said Mr. Vanackère, referring to these culture shifts.
Thoughtful consumption is driven by the desire to purchase locally, protect the environment and promote eco-packaging.
These requirements nudge manufacturers toward a mode of continuous improvement.
Production processes need to be flexible and ready to change in order to meet such expectations as: the demand for less sugar and salt in recipes, fewer additives and processing steps, transparency on the origin of products, or limiting the use of non-recyclable plastics for packaging.
This is the reason why many manufacturers are turning to powerful software tools developed by Trace One for just such a purpose.
For example, Trace One Product Lifecycle Management solution (PLM) makes it possible to accelerate and optimize the development of CPGs in a collaborative way.
Other popular tools include Trace One Insight, which provides a 360-degree analysis of product data, and Trace One Compliance, used for monitoring certifications and audits.
Becoming known in a global market
Globalization appears as both a massive opportunity and a precarious labyrinth that may seem unnavigable for many manufacturers, who may typically respond to calls for tenders in America or Asia, but who also have to consider competition from all over the world. Vanackère tells how Trace One is confronting this challenge head-on.
The company works with both CPG manufacturers and retailers, supplying a single platform for users to collaborate on the management of product innovation, specification, safety, and quality, a marketplace to promote and discover new products, an E-sourcing solution to manage RFPs in one place.
“Our tools have enabled many small producers to develop their business both in France and abroad.
It is our job to support manufacturers in their growth, whatever their size,” says Mr. Vanackère, whose group supports more than 5,000 manufacturers and some of the largest grocery brands in the world.
“Whereas manufacturers used to work with one or two retailers, we see that today with Trace One’s collaboration platform, they may be working with six or seven.
Collaborating with many retailers on the same tool allows them to pool effort and investments, as well as to respond quickly and efficiently to multiple calls for tenders and specifications,” he concludes.