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What Food & Beverage Packaging Study Teaches CIOs About Digitization
By Arun Saksena, CIO and Digital Transformation Officer, Danaher Corporation’s Product Identification Platform
Observe them doing their work and make a list of what might be digitized to help them get their work done faster at higher quality levels. These departments look to their digital leaders to help provide them with the support and approvals to implement new technologies. Establish a current view of all the systems and software that support your packaging value chain: Have you created an ecosystem diagram or a MarTech landscape for your company? If not, then, create an ideal future state diagram, from design to production to meet shoppers’ expectations and the timing expectations of your head of marketing. Once you have defined your current state and your ideal future state, you will have a strategic roadmap for identifying key pain points and areas for process improvement. It’s important to do this especially for the packaging function because, as McKinsey recently found, consumer packaged goods industry is the one in which digital tools have penetrated the least. Eliminate sources of error whenever possible by mapping out your sources of truth: For instance, instead of re-keying information from the packaging to complete item listings on e-commerce websites, consider connecting or linking to the original sources of the approved, high-quality information that ends up on the package. The sources, for example, could include systems like Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), the Digital Asset Management (DAM), and Marketing Asset Management (MAM). Digitize everything: This is why: if you digitize a task, you can probably start to automate at least part of it, and then also connect the output of the task to other departments and systems that need that output. The output could be design files, product content, images romance copy or other content that is on the package. If everything is digitized, it allows for a seamless, error-free workflow throughout the entire value chain. Invest in digital skills and technologies: None of the above is possible unless your organization is willing to invest in building digital capabilities and in taking a calculated amount of risk. The outcomes from applying digital technologies are not certain; many digital technologies, especially AI and IoT, are still evolving. Gartner places them at the peak of the hype cycle. But they are also maturing fast and will become mainstream in the next few years. If you haven’t already embarked on the digital journey, your company risks losing out to the competition and being rendered irrelevant by your customers. Start small and focus on quick easy wins— but also keep on the lookout for business transformation opportunities—that’s the real promise of digitization and a source of lasting competitive advantage. The way people are shopping is changing, and our processes for creating and bringing products to market should evolve accordingly. Insights from the food and beverage study allow senior leaders to identify the many opportunities that already exist to optimize, evolve and connect packaging; driving increased sales, increased relevance and the transformation of the technology platforms that support the entire packaging value chain. And as the CIO, you can help steer the innovation of process and tools used to make products, which can often be the competitive advantage for your firm.