Reasons to change your business systems in the Consumer Goods Industry

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Demands on Consumer Goodsmanufacturers and distributors are getting ever higher. Customer expectations are going through the roof – with faster turnaround times, more accurate information, ever shorter product cycles and constant innovation becoming almost a pre-requisite for survival. In dealing with both the major retailers and the independents, your operations need to be slick and efficient.

In this series of blogs and videos, I am going to look at some of the challenges facing this industry and how an integrated Microsoft Dynamics business software solution, designed specifically for the Consumer Goods sector, can help enhance your business processes to improve:

  • productivity – and enable growth in turnover without a corresponding increase in headcount
  • reliability – to improve consistency and stop costly mistakes
  • understanding and decision making – by getting access to reliable information in time to make a difference
  • risk management – by reducing vulnerability to specific people or events
  • customer service – by improving your customer service levels without adding significant cost
  • future proofing – by making sure your systems are fit for purpose today and into the future
  • staff engagement – to help you attract and retain scarce skills and experience

Today I am looking at how too many companies in the Consumer Goods sector are relying on Excel spreadsheets to manage their business processes. Most businesses have already driven up productivity on the shop floor, now it’s time to focus on continuous improvement in the order processing, sales, marketing customer service and finance teams.

Drive up productivity with information for all

With a single, integrated solution you should only have to enter information once – and then it’s instantly available to all who need it, to action correctly, for the right customer, at the right time.

Workarounds in Excel spreadsheets hold information on specific customer demands for order fulfilment, record special pricing or promotions, to track both consumer and retailer complaints or queries – which relies heavily on your staff to know what to do with that information to action it accordingly.

When working in Excel your staff need the experience of dealing with your customers and your specific ways of operating to action and process any information – making it difficult for new staff to get up and running and more importantly, to be productive. Modern integrated solutions proactively drive your business processes and prompt your staff through each step in the process. Newer/more junior staff can then deal with the everyday tasks freeing up your more seasoned and accomplished individuals to focus on the more unusual or strategically important retailer demands.

And with all your information in one place, you free up all your staff from having to double check with their colleagues that they have the most up-to-date spreadsheet and information.

Having a defined process for resolution for everything from a price query to a quality issue also means disputes get resolved quicker, the customer ends up more impressed because you handled it so well and you get paid quicker – that's a win-win all round.

Effective business processes to compete in the global Consumer Goods industry 

I know re-engineering your business processes and IT systems is not easy.  Every day, I help our customers implement new ways of working and I am well aware of the pain and effort it requires. But what is the alternative?

Can you really continue to grow and efficiently scale your operations by working in the same way that you work right now? If you don’t have efficient business processes how can you hope to compete in an increasingly global market?

Don’t you need to start now on that strategic process of getting your internal processes fit for purpose before it’s too late?

Watch now for more information

Wasting time on complex, manual processes for EDI & eCommerce?

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Meeting demands for EDI and online ordering…

One of the challenges facing the Consumer Goods industry is time consuming, complex, manual processes for EDI and eCommerce. You need to provide a quick turnaround, whilst also making it easy for your retailers to place an order through every touchpoint.  

Your retailer base is under pressure from increasing customer demands, so when the retailers place their orders with you, they expect to get supply by tomorrow, if not sooner. And as more and more retailers sell through multiple channels, manufacturers are needing to be equipped to process online orders and EDI messages to remain a preferred supplier.    

Due to the competitive nature of the Consumer Goods sector, the public now expect to be able to place orders at a time that’s convenient for them. And that convenience is starting to ripple all the way through to manufacturers, as retailers in turn want to place orders in the evenings and late at night, not just during business opening hours when they are likely to be busy themselves.

This can make keeping on top of your customer service trickier. If a retailer calls you, you need to have their information and their status at your fingertips. You need to be aware of their outstanding orders and which products they typically purchase from you, as well as being able to suggest changes that are beneficial to both you and them.

All these factors point to one thing; needing accurate information at your fingertips.

Having good systems in place means you don’t have to waste time hunting around, looking for the information you need.

Get the right answers, at the right time, all from one system. You need to be able to find the relevant information for a customer, and subsequently, update that information when you agree anything with that customer and that information then needs to be immediately reflected so everybody in your organisation knows about it.

That’s where Dynamics Consumer Goods comes in. It improves customer responsiveness with its integrated Customer Service Desk, so you can take orders over the phone or resolve queries easily. It can help you drive down the cost of EDI with major retailers, wholesalers and suppliers by reducing your transaction costs and improving order accuracy. It can help to drive up sales and remove the need for re-keying data and improving order accuracy. It also enables you to extend your trading hours and be seen as more responsive to your customers’ demands as it allows customers to place orders outside normal working hours.

For more information on getting your internal processes fit for purpose, watch our video.