What are the key areas for growth that your business is focusing on for the next 2 years?
Ecommerce is a huge area of opportunity. We have to be ready for it before it comes to us. Another area of growth is driving premiumisation and continually developing innovative new products that are superior and offer more benefits for the consumer. We can differentiate ourselves and raise our prices and that is how we grow. We need to respond to trends in automation and robotics, utilise data and drive transformation through a digital supply chain.
What are the recurring challenges you are facing as a supply chain leader and what are the new challenges?
The main challenge is keeping up with the pace of technology and how to harness big data. We need to make sure we have the right tools and processes to help us operate as efficiently as possible.
In my role of Customer Service & Logistics, I’m facing the customer so the new challenge would be the rise and growth of ecommerce and how to develop a supply chain strategy that takes us along with our customers into the future of a digital world. In other words, how to use our own data internally but how to marry up to the world with external flow of data.
A key initiative we are exploring is the role of robotics in our supply chain. This is a big area of opportunity for both production and in the service sector of supply chain
What recent innovations have helped to add the most value for your company?
A key initiative we are exploring is the role of robotics in our supply chain. This is a big area of opportunity for both production and in the service sector of supply chain, where equipment can do multiple things and customise our products in an affordable way. Another area is tools and systems that we’re putting in place around big data which helps us manage our information more effectively. We need architecture for data libraries and we need to use that information to improve performance. It’s all about new tools and systems and the processes associated with those.
What consumer trends are influencing supply chains? How are you enhancing customer centricity?
How people shop and purchase goods is game-changing in supply chain. There is increasing consumer demand for premiumisation and customisation. We need to create a more agile supply chain to offer customisation which is affordable. Being able to offer products with enhanced benefits will make us more money.
What does a digital supply chain mean to you and what is the effect on your business?
It means harnessing big data to drive a more efficient supply chain. What we’re trying to develop is a full end-to-end supply chain from supplier to point of sale, using information and having it flow through the factory. There are not discrete sectors of the supply chain but one supply chain using all data to optimises production schedules, equipment and robotics.
It’s about how we organise ourselves. It’s an evolution not a revolution.
Another thing is driving centres of excellence. You don’t have to have all the expertise at the plant. You can see what’s going on through technology. It’s about how we organise ourselves. It’s an evolution not a revolution. FMCG is about continuous improvement and taking advantage of advances in technology, tools and systems. We are working with SAP on a new suite of supply chain tools. We have visibility of demand, requirements, changes and inventory etc. Transparency of data helps with speed of decision making, prioritisation and responsivity.
What’s next in supply chain for Colgate?
Continuous improvement is key. Our initiatives are centred around hardware and software. We look at harnessing automation and robotics and take initiatives into our factories, and integrate SAP software as an end-to-end tool. Technology is transforming supply chain management. In future, supply chain will be more automated and transparent with visible data. We will have to be much more agile and utilise a combination of low cost, high volume production plants within a network that lend itself to agility. It’s all driven by the big data that flows end-to-end. At Colgate we’re putting this new end-to-end tool in place. We have to figure out the role we play in a changing environment. We can’t operate in isolation from the world around us. How do we get ready for ecommerce? It is impacting some products more than others.