As companies aim to stay ahead of the curve with new trends and innovations, the tides are turning, and consumer influence is compelling them to not only revamp their products but also their business practices and underlying technology to align with their ideologies. Consumer brand choices are being heavily influenced by several factors, ranging from geopolitical tensions to sustainability imperatives to evolving consumer preferences. These factors are driving change to happen at a much faster rate than companies and their networks can keep up with. The companies that maintain a steady growth pace are those who are better at anticipating and specifically responding to consumer preferences.
While consumers may be more heavily involved in shaping a brand’s narrative, companies must still prioritize delivering a superior product and exceptional customer experiences while understanding their customers’ behaviours. Leading organizations have all the data and technology they need to understand their business, predict their customers’ desires, and build resiliency to an evolving marketplace. A notable difference, referenced in Deloitte’s 2023 Consumer Industry Trends report (2023 Consumer Products Industry Outlook | Deloitte Global), between the companies that are growing quickly and those that are just succeeding is their investment into their digital ERP platform.
The future is digital
Leveraging predictive analytics will improve the lifetime value performance of any business and identify ways for companies to get closer to consumers. Data and information with increasingly sophisticated and AI-based analytic strategies is making a difference. Generative AI is influencing every aspect of your ERP process from digital supply chain to employee management and ESG considerations. It is allowing companies to have their finger on the pulse of what their customers truly want and need.
However, understanding customer behaviour patterns is only the first step. Companies need to ensure they can deliver. They need to modernize applications to create end-to-end digital customer experiences and then leverage that data to further fine-tune customer experiences.
As frequent crises and disruptions continue to occur, it is imperative for companies to have full control of their supply chain and build resilience across the entire organization, including people, operations, and their ecosystem. Nine out of 10 organizations are investing in supply chain improvement and operational excellence. Yet Gartner states that 95 per cent of companies will fail end-to-end resiliency in their supply chain by 2026. Stats like this make a compelling case that companies need to be making the right investments that give them readily accessible data, that can be shared with customers and partners. Deloitte has seen that investment in SAP’s Integrated Business Planning application (IBP), along with improvement in Supply Chain processes, leads to an increase in an organization’s ability to better predict and respond to ongoing supply chain challenges. Your ability to expand into global markets without tools such as this will be hampered as access to insightful and actionable data will likely be limited.
The right tools for the job
Companies have the option to work with well integrated logistics collaboration networks such as SAP’s Business Network for Logistics. This will give them access to a broader range of vendors, allowing their company to pivot faster, in real-time in response to customer and geo-political influences.
Many consumer-focused organizations have business processes that work on a monthly or weekly cadence, which can result in delayed responses to perceived risks or opportunities that are increasingly being sensed in near real-time. Integrated Business Planning can take on this challenge by combining predictive analytics and other AI tools to enable better long-term planning, while technology such as SAP Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling focus on integration of the weekly plan into detailed daily schedules.
Digital supply chain and ecosystem partners also need to integrate environment, social and governance (ESG) considerations. As consumers look for brands to have sound sustainable practices when it comes to their products, services, and packaging, but they also require companies to have sustainable ecosystem partners – from suppliers to shipping partners. Consumers increasingly want brands to be responsible to people and the environment across the globe.
This in turn is giving ESG increased importance in a company’s overall value and stakeholders are holding businesses accountable. A fully integrated ERP system and AI analytics addresses these concerns and more by providing real-time ESG data to manage their business.
Deloitte has seen that the companies who are growing their profits are investing in their digital futures. This means generative AI solutions, on a single AI ready platform such as SAP, that is leveraging real-time data to support predicative analytics from every aspect of a business including digital supply chain and ESG reporting. This will allow companies to respond to changing consumer and geopolitical influences in real-time.
Gaining detailed and actionable insights from your data is crucial to better understand your customer in today’s ever-changing marketplace. As climate change and social consciousness become increasingly important to customers, organizations must align themselves with these values. By leading with these core values, companies can create a competitive advantage and deliver products and services to customers at pace and profit. Staying up-to-date with the latest technology is essential for organizations to remain competitive, proactive and successful in today’s business landscape. With the right tools and practices in place, companies can effectively meet the needs and expectations of their customers while also aligning with their core values and driving an impact that matters to customers.
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