Increasingly demanding customers and competitive markets have promoted the FMCG industry to apply Intelligent Automation (IA) in the operation. With the ability to integrate AI and RPA, IA can optimize almost every aspect of the FMCG, helping businesses solve problems of customer needs, industry trends, and competitiveness in the market.
What is Intelligent Automation?
Intelligent Automation (IA) is a combination of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), and Process Mining to automate more complex tasks and processes that require analytics, learning, and decision-making without human intervention.
IA plays an extremely important role in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry because it has the ability to expand the scope of RPA automation, combined with AI’s human thinking simulation to automate critical processes such as supply chain, order management, invoice processing, warehouse management, logistics. This is also a step toward Hyperautomation to create a comprehensive, optimized automation process, helping businesses maximize resources and improve competitive advantage.
IA is the key to unlocking the potential of the FMCG industry. Source: provenconsult.com
Why do FMCG companies need Intelligent Automation?
The market gets increasingly competitive
The strong growth of consumers and the rise of players in the market are the factors that drive FMCG to become a highly diverse and competitive industry. Any new brand that appears on the market faces fierce competition from the “big players” in the industry.
In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the economy in general and the FMCG industry in particular. Prolonged social distancing in many countries leads to disruption of circulation, stagnation of business and production, and a decrease in income and consumption. Social distancing also changes consumers’ shopping habits. Accordingly, consumers are gradually turning to online shopping instead of traditional as before to limit exposure. According to a report from Nielsen Vietnam, up to 63% of consumers will promote online shopping after the pandemic.
Customers prefer online shopping after the pandemic. Source: api.time.com
This proves that this is a golden time for FMCG businesses to move towards digital transformation, taking advantage of technology to influence and change business models and operating methods to adapt to the needs of customers and improve their competitive position in the market. With the application of AI, businesses can predict industry trends, analyze consumer behavior and habits, and propose appropriate strategies to approach potential customers. RPA integration also allows businesses to automate all manual tasks, optimize operational processes and improve productivity. These are all vital factors for enterprises to sustain their competitive position in the fierce market of the FMCG industry.
If no timely measures are taken to adapt to global technology trends, businesses are likely to face the risk of falling behind in the fierce digitalization race in the FMCG market.
Customer preference has changed
Consumers care more about the environment
Consumers’ awareness of negative environmental impacts in consumption activities is increasingly evident. According to statistics, over 55% of consumers globally are more concerned about the environment after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 35% move towards sustainable consumption.
Since consumers are increasingly expressing concern about environmental protection, businesses can actively change their awareness and actions towards sustainable development, create connections with customers and increase competitive advantage. To achieve this, applying IA is the key to helping businesses open the “door” to the green trend, bringing benefits to the community. Taking advantage of algorithms of AI combined with ML and sensor systems and satellite images, businesses can identify the number of resources needed for the production process, thereby assessing the impact on the environment and taking measures to save resources and protect the environment.
For example, P&G, an American multinational consumer goods corporation, has successfully applied AI, Machine Learning, and data storage platforms to identify machines that can cut energy, thereby reducing energy costs, and minimizing waste and harmful impacts on the environment.
Businesses can apply technology to assess environmental impacts and implement green operating processes. Source: cloudfront.net
Consumers want a better shopping experience
Convenient, personalized shopping experiences are increasingly being focused on by customers, especially with high-end customer segments.
FMCG companies often face a huge volume of data, from industry data, market trends, and customers,… These data are considered invaluable assets, helping businesses understand the market, and customers, thereby making improvements to products to satisfy customer needs. However, processing these data requires a large workforce, consuming a lot of time and effort. In addition, errors in handling are inevitable, causing many FMCG businesses to fail to analyze customer insights and meet their expectations about personalization.
Customer experience is the key element of every FMCG business. Source: omacomp.com
The good news for FMCG businesses is that this challenge can be solved with a digital transformation approach that leverages the power of AI, ML, Big data, and analytics tools. Through the use of these tools, businesses can dig deep into customer data, collect useful information and propose solutions to personalize products, allowing customers to have a convenient and diverse shopping experience.
Various operation challenges can be addressed
To build such a great customer experience, FMCG businesses must ensure that every step in the supply chain is accurate and timely.
But, the difficulty for the FMCG comes from the industry’s characteristics which consist of manual, repetitive, time-consuming, and prone to errors tasks in the operations, especially in the order fulfillment process. Accordingly, the report of Visual Capitalist indicates that up to 49% of the order fulfillment process is still conducted manually.
The FMCG industry faces many difficulties in order processing
Usually, FMCG companies have to deal with a large number of orders. Order processing includes collecting customer information, checking item status, extracting and transferring orders from SAP system to Excel format, and manually browsing each order. These are all manual, time-consuming, and error-prone tasks.
To solve this problem, the application of RPA technology will help businesses fully automate the order processing process, minimizing manual workload and operating costs. RPA can handle tasks including:
- Extract data from SAP every 5 minutes and prepare it for processing
- Get a batch of Excel files containing all necessary order data
- Automated order checking (stock status)
- Update order on SAP
- Send an email to the merchant to inform them about the status of the order
The application of RPA in the order processing process can bring remarkable benefits to businesses:
- 3840 hours saved per year
- 30% of errors in the processing are minimized
- 100% improved in service delivery
- 1 month to achieve the goal of ROI
In addition, RPA can also be effectively applied in many FMCG industry processes to solve manual tasks such as:
- Data collection: RPA helps businesses effectively manage receipts and payments, invoices, statements, and reconciliations, allowing businesses to minimize tasks that require human intervention and improve efficiency.
- Invoice processing: Apply RPA to scan, read and check invoices according to orders, automatically send invoices to relevant departments, transfer invoices into the system, and mark invoices after order completion …
- Inventory management: RPA combined with AI can assist with inventory management, shipment tracking, and order fulfillment thanks to the seamless integration between supplier and warehouse systems. An effective RPA implementation can make inventory management easy without human supervision.
IA plays a pivotal role in shaping a smarter market when it comes to the future of FMCG. Obviously, approaching IA and moving towards Hyperautomation is the key to bringing businesses closer to the digital transformation journey, optimizing operational processes, meeting customer needs, and increasing customer experience at every touchpoint.
To learn more about the application and the benefits that Intelligent Automation and Hyperautomation bring, please visit our website here.
akaBot (FPT Software) is the operation optimization solution for enterprises based on RPA (Robotic Process Automation) platform combined with Process Mining, OCR, Intelligent Document Processing, Machine Learning, Conversational AI, etc. Serving clients in 20+ countries, across 08 domains such as Banking & Finances, Retails, IT Services, Manufacturing, Logistics…, akaBot is featured by Gartner Peer Insights, G2, and ranked as Top 6 Global RPA Platform by Software Reviews. akaBot also won the prestigious Stevie Award, The Asian Banker Award 2021, etc.
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