As the consumer products industry becomes more digital, it is clear that standing still no longer an option for executives. Abhijit Prabhu, a partner with Bain's Consumer Products practice, uses two examples to highlight the importance of redesigning supply chains with a future-back approach, which allows companies to set clear goals and implement streamlined near-term solutions.
Read the Bain Brief: Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Alexa? Artificial Intelligence? Autonomous Vehicles?
Read the transcript below.
ABHIJIT PRABHU: It's a turbulent time to be a consumer products executive. You're likely getting asked questions about what you're doing about voice ordering or artificial intelligence or autonomous vehicles. And the way to actually solve these issues is to pull back and relook at your entire supply chain end to end, in an unconstrained way, and think about redesigning it. And as a result, you won't be hemmed in with the current structures or the current capabilities or the current assets you have today.
Once you have a sense of the vision and the destination of where you're trying to go, you can then start to work backwards from there and think about the pilots and efforts and initiatives you might want to launch near-term. So, for example, as Amazon becomes an increasingly large portion of most consumer products companies' sales, you can think about redesigning your product packaging so that your product is better able to ship by e-commerce and can actually earn the Amazon's Choice recommended label, which is becoming more and more important.
Or you may be facing material transportation and distribution challenges as logistics networks become more complex. There, thinking about plugging in some of the newer freight providers might be an opportunity to look at and something you can do sooner as well. As a result, you'll both have a sense of the destination you're trying to reach but also the near-term efforts you should think about pursuing. Standing still is not an option.