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Find out how automation can transform CPG enterprises to be future-ready

Enterprises are increasingly recognizing the need for automation in transforming their business functions to bring in efficiencies and make them more resilient. The pandemic has been a catalyst for remote work in the short term. Enterprises are now looking at new business models for sustainable operations in the post-COVID-19 world.

In June 2021, TCS CPG unit hosted a virtual round table on automation – a theme that is often placed as one of the top three priorities for CXOs. Adeel Fudda, Intelligent Automation Director, Mars and John Borowski, Vice President, Vendor Management and Strategic Sourcing, Hasbro along with Negin Golrezaei, KDD Career Development Professor in Communications and Technology and Assistant Professor of Operations Management , MIT Sloan School of Management joined the forum in a discussion hosted by Sudhakar Gudala, VP And Global Head, CPG and Distribution, TCS to discuss on how automation is transforming the CPG industry.

The panel focused on how intelligent process automation with robotic process automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being used to bring in efficiencies, improving resilience and transforming the CPG industry.

Opportunities in CPG

Automation is possible across the CPG value chain – procure to pay, forecast to stock, order to cash, sell to consumer as well as corporate and IT functions. It includes capabilities like forecasting, pricing, invoice processing, intercompany chargebacks, order creation/fulfillment, purchase contract updates, inventory management and master data management. All are critical business functions which have routine tasks and are manually intensive making them ideal for digitalization.

For Mars, intelligent automation presents a real opportunity to take on many of the routine tasks that currently consume business users, allowing them instead to focus on more value-added and strategic work. Likewise, for Hasbro, with its digital workforce, the company was able to automatically scale up and scale back down its operations eliminating the need for hiring temporary workforce during the peak season.

Demand management is key to successfully run the automation program. At Mars, an intelligent automation hub comprising of business leads from varied functions identify the automation opportunities across business units. This cross-functional team studies the end-to-end process to identify the best opportunities for automation. At Hasbro, this has been achieved through a central team focusing on one business unit at a time and transforming the end-to-end business processes and benefitting from a shortened cycle time.

The two companies created awareness of the digital workforce program through newsletters, botathons (hackathon focused on bots), digital worker demos to get bigger pipeline opportunities focusing on those areas that have a direct business impact.

Scaling digital workers and governance

A part of successfully transforming to the digital workforce is the ability to scale fast. This requires creating an exponential pipeline of templatized modules. Also, given that the digital workforce performs critical business functions, there is a need for strong governance around automation to track performance, return on investments and cycle time efficiencies. Also, equally important is the need for incremental training on machine learning algorithms to adapt to the fast-changing environment.

We have demonstrated deep domain and technology expertise that has helped Mars successfully manage its intelligent automation program by creating a digital workforce to perform critical business operations and setting up of a digital worker cockpit for better operational visibility and faster response of support operations through real-time monitoring of all digital workers.

Given our strong contextual knowledge of the CPG industry and technology expertise, TCS CPG unit has invested in creating a library of use cases across the value chain to fast track automation programs and transform business functions. Our strong strategic partnership enables enterprises to transform their business to become more efficient and resilient.