After completing a BS in Business Administration (California State University, Fresno) and a MPhil in Development Studies (University of Cape Town), I began my career by founding a boutique socioecono...
John Cristando, Consultant
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Home > Sectors > Consumer Packaged Goods Consulting
In the Consumer Products (or Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector, as companies look to drive growth and profitability while reducing their environmental impact – which brings great challenges but also great opportunities.
With massive growth in product assortment, there is money to be made in this complexity – but only by actively understanding and optimising the right products, pricing, pack formats, mix, promotions and trade spend, all at a more granular level of geographies and channels than ever before. As an example, if you look at soft drink cans, 5+ years ago some 80% of the business was the ‘one size fits all’ standard 12 oz / 330 ml can. Today it’s a fraction of that, as product assortment and variety has exploded to find the right products, packs and prices to fill every niche.
Partnering with retail customers is getting ever closer, to become much more flexible and dynamic to change, drive greater synergies across the end-to-end product lifecycle, and take integrated business planning (Sales & Operations Planning, S&OP) to a whole new level through better analytics and insight.
Traditionally B2B companies in this sector are being increasingly drawn to B2C, as they open new Direct-to-Consumer sales channels (both on-line and physical), and increasingly interact directly with Shoppers and Consumers through digital channels like social media. Companies are starting to tackle the daunting task of bringing together all their consumer touch points – across owned brand web sites, product carelines, social media, and on-line advertising – to get a 360 degree view and drive much deeper consumer insight than ever before. Digital is also changing routes to market, as the capability of field salespeople, merchandisers and distributors is increasingly transformed through technology.
The growth powerhouse continues to be developing and emerging markets - but winning in these markets requires a different approach in a range of key areas, for example in terms of routes to market (with these markets being largely distributor led, and dominated by General Trade, or only localised Modern Trade), and in terms of the competitive landscape (with more local brand domination requiring a different ‘local vs. global’ mindset and organisation structure).
Consumer, shopper and customer insight is being revolutionised by modern analytics and big data approaches. Increasingly, traditional structured data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) manufacturing, sales and finance platforms is being augmented by external data (from retail customers, external provides like Nielsen, or open sources) - and by data from consumer digital channels (as above) - to drive fundamentally more insight and improve business performance. This is being applied to almost every area of the business from marketing, category management and brand building; to customer collaboration; to supply chain and logistics; and to sales, retail execution and eCommerce.
The model was recognised as having huge potential in terms of incremental turnover, consumer insights and equity value from the new business. We were brought it to help understand how to take the model to new markets outside of India and how best to deliver a strategic solution at scale. We helped the client to quickly established global control of the programme, define and select the right strategic solution, and mobilise full delivery.
This involved both implementing a new suite of SAP systems for financial consolidation and all group management and financial reporting, and streamlining their financial reporting.
We helped a leading global manufacturer of alcoholic beverages define their end-to-end strategy for data and analytics. They wanted to transform their Data & Information team from being focussed primarily on master data, data quality reporting and data standards, to being responsible for all information and unlocking the strategic opportunity to gain greater insight and business value from information and analytics. This was essential to support many key business priorities, such as Net Revenue Management. In a matter of weeks, we helped them define their future vision and goals, target operating model, team capability requirements, and transformation roadmap.
A core part of our contribution was to work with them to shape the strategy and business case, then select suppliers and mobilise the programme to roll out 17 key analytics capabilities. These included, for example, combining their own data with retailer loyalty and point of sale data to drive sales growth.
One key part of this strategy was to move all of their IT infrastructure (their Global Data Centre) to the Cloud, and we supported them through the end-to-end delivery of this programme - on time and on budget. Finally, when the company was subsequently acquired by their largest competitor, we were retained to help with post-merger integration of the combined IT functions, and support definition of the IT strategy for the newly merged company.
We can help in a number of areas that are directly relevant to the industry challenges discussed above, such as:
Digital & Cloud Transformation – from launching new eCommerce and Direct-to-Consumer channels; to transforming consumer insight and relationship management; to optimising digital asset and product information management; to delivering the latest and best on-line consumer experience; to transforming the role of salespeople, merchandisers and distributors; to moving infrastructure to the Cloud – wherever there’s an opportunity for Digital to drive your business, we can help you achieve it.
Insight, Analytics and Big Data – with deep experience in customer and consumer insight, analytics, Big Data, and data warehouse initiatives, we can help you drive the change needed to really understand your customers and consumers, and optimise your business around them.
Finance, HR and IT Transformation and Shared Services – we can help you set the right strategy and deliver the necessary transformation to your key ‘back office’ functions in order to best align and support the new business reality. We can help you to drive efficiency, but also get the ‘local vs. global’ balance right, and partner the business optimally to support all the business changes described above.
It’s about doing it fast and doing it right, which suits us down to the ground. With our ‘low volume, high value’ model, we won’t overwhelm with large teams or take months to produce results.
Typically only using one or two highly experienced and high calibre people, we can assess and turn around major programmes in weeks, or help you cut through to a core strategy in a matter of days. Above all, this is about sound judgement – doing enough analysis and drawing on our experience to help our clients make a confident call on what’s right for them.
We work as close knit part of your team, doing the work ‘with you, not to you’, and getting to results that have real ownership and buy-in. The full suite of ways in which we can help can be found on our website.
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I feel lucky to have spent the last 10 years working with many of the world’s leading CPG companies; it’s a fascinating business that touches literally everyone’s lives. The pace of change and the stakes are high - with the scale of both opportunity and challenge being formidable. We’ll bring our strong sector experience to bear, but we’ll never assume we know your business better than you do. Working as an embedded part of your team, we’ll help you quickly define and deliver the change you need to succeed around the world, online, with your customers and consumers. And we work closely with them to get on and do it.
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