Container-ship-in-the-port-of-Rotterdam-Holland-000065033621_FullThe competitive challenges continue to mount in the consumer product arena, from international trade to slimmer margins and overcapacity. With EPM, consumer products companies gain improved visibility into their supply chains and distribution channels for greater profitability.

CPG clients have demanded state of the art analytics that afford decision makers valuable new views of typically high volume data. From analyzing demand trends via slicing high volume POS sales data to diving into detailed product cost components to producing sophisticated management reporting in near real time, investments in business analytics solutions with a robust EPM model at their core can deliver significant value for CPG firms.

Our vision for a properly evolved EPM capability for CPG firms starts with integrating strategic, operational and financial planning. In the CPG industry, we recommend clients start with strategic plans that identify category market size, brand market share, and projected increase/decrease. Add commodity cost drivers based on supply chain components, production capacity, and develop an operational plan. Layer in Trade Promotion Management, and the performance influence of key drivers based on historical data analysis: seasonality, consumer preferences by region, channel, packaging and more. Finally, we can add financial plans to reflect expenses below the gross margin level.

Such a comprehensive capability requires three things:

  • A vision and priority to achieve the value such a sophisticated integrated business planning capability could yield,
  • The technology to create this seamless functionality, and
  • The right partner to guide you along the way.

This kind of solution is not something you can purchase off the shelf, or implement in one project. This is a series of step changes to your current technology and processes. Take control of your performance, and move toward this advanced state starting with the next investment in Business Analytics.

Column5's starter kits are designed to deliver rapid time to value, broader functionality and proven usability based on many real world customer's best practice approaches. For the CPG industry, relevant starter kits include:

S&OP:  Integrate demand forecasts coming from manager input, historical data analysis, or purchased data. Create consensus demand plans across brand, channel, region. Factor in planned fluctuations due to seasonality and trade promotion management. Align production schedules, raw material hedging strategies and capacity planning to optimize costs to produce products. 

Capex:  Changing customer demands, regulatory requirements and more efficient use of raw materials require new processing and production techniques. Instead of making investments in a "last year +/- x%" mode, align capital investments to strategic business initiatives for more rapid achievement of goals.

HCM:  Managing the cost of human capital is critical for all businesses, and CPG is no exception, detailed visibility is key. Manage these costs on an integrated platform so you know when and where you will need employees to achieve objectives.

Integrated Detail:  EPM solutions alone do not provide enough detail reporting capabilities to meet every level of analysis. Instead, use BI integrated with your EPM solution to provide seamless analysis with clicks instead of "swivel chair integration" - turning from one system to another with the user providing similar filtering to compare data from your EPM system to your DW, or ERP system. 

SharePoint Integration:  When coordinating the efforts of many people - into the hundreds or thousands - the greater the guided experience, the easier the system is to use. Incorporate supporting documents, calendars, blogs, and other collaborative components not found when using EPM solutions on their own.

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