Microsoft Dynamics® AX consumer packaged goods solutions
With a robust track record of success working with manufacturers and distributors of consumer packaged goods (CPG) and their close counterparts in the food and beverage industry, RSM’s technical consultants are members of one of the largest and most comprehensive Dynamics AX practices in the United States. Add to their qualifications, an ability to leverage the company’s high-level partnerships and certifications with Microsoft, and the conclusion is clear: RSM consultants are ideally prepared and positioned to deliver high-value Dynamics AX ERP solutions that streamline operations for CPG clients—improving efficiencies while growing margin and profit.
Built for the speed and scale of today’s CPG businesses, Dynamics AX ushers in a new age of connection and dynamic operations—one in which a single, unified, enterprise-wide solution fuels innovation, boosts productivity, captures real-time opportunities and allows CPG industry leaders to flexibly run their businesses on their own terms.
Trends demand transformation, technology solutions
CPG companies face varied and complex competitive challenges—including high marketplace saturation, generally low consumer switching costs, disproportionate influence brand affinity, and reliance on details as mundane as shelf placement for sales.
- Competitive differentiation: To differentiate themselves and stay competitive, CPG leaders must engage in a carefully orchestrated balancing act, for which only powerful technology solutions can deliver the desired results. They must have fully connected, efficiently run, lean manufacturing operations that also allow them to meet stringent and complex compliance and consumer requirements—leveraging the advances in automation and integration that deliver critical, system-wide visibility and access, while also ensuring the customers and data remain safe and secure.
- Customer engagement. Customer-facing technology requirements for leaders in the CPG space do not end with internal operations—they must also engage the right solutions to appeal to customers across a seemingly endless array of geographies, demographics, platforms, channels and devices—leveraging digital solutions to drive customer-focused outreach and campaign efforts—and turning to digital transformation initiatives to help them more effectively deliver customer-focused communications designed to drive engagement.
- Opportunities for market growth: The efforts of CPG leaders using technology solutions as a competitive differentiator come not a moment too soon. On top of a North American CPG market valued at more than $1 trillion—e-commerce is predicted to account for approximately 50 percent of retail industry growth in the coming years—with nearly $30 billion in new opportunities expected to be generated for CPG companies who are effectively navigating the digital divide and engaged in proactive, technology-driven outreach.
Striking the perfect balance—Dynamics AX as a competitive differentiator
As today’s CPG leaders work to find and maintain an optimal balance between competitive edge and compliance—or efficiency and authentic personalization—strategically investing in the right technology solution is no longer “nice to have” or optional. In an industry that has always faced some degree of downward margin pressure, the CPG marketplace is increasingly characterized by rapid, radical and unrelenting changes—with connection to everything, and everyone, all the time, from everywhere—where competitive advantage and even simple survival for CPG leaders will depend increasingly on industry-focused solutions like Microsoft Dynamics AX that enable:
- Tighter, leaner, more efficient operations, while also ensuring regulatory compliance
- Comprehensive integration that drives visibility and access, yet keeps data and customers secure
- Connection to everyone and everything, both leveling the playing field and fueling innovation and growth
- Big data and business intelligence that drive actionable insights and smarter decision-making
- Advances in automation as critical components of business transformation initiatives
- Keeping pace with emerging markets, fast-growing channels and changes in consumer culture
Equally, if not more important than technology-driven operational improvements undertaken by CPG leaders, will be the crafting and execution of strategies that keep the customer at the forefront of every business decision. From targeted content delivery to increasingly customized loyalty rewards, success in the CPG space will hinge on technologies capable of communicating the right message, based on the right data, at the right time, through the right channels, using the right tools—giving today’s increasingly demanding consumers exactly what they crave, in exactly the way they want to digest it.
Dynamics AX remains a must-have solution in today’s CPG marketplace
Competing and succeeding in today’s changing and challenging CPG marketplace is a complex and high-pressure undertaking characterized by the requirement to sell into the fiercely-competitive and continually morphing retail industry. Intense retail price and margin pressures carry over for CPG companies—a phenomenon only exacerbated by traditionally abbreviated CPG product life cycles that have always threatened profitability. Within the CPG industry itself, continued challenges to traditional distribution methods also continue to be in play, with alternatives—such as mail order, catalog, direct online sales—bypassing traditional distribution channels altogether.
To meet these and related challenges, CPG industry leaders are deploying flexible technology infrastructures that drive competitive advantage by meeting retailers' demands more efficiently and effectively, lowering the cost of sales through operational improvements—such as streamlined inventory and integrated shipping functionality—which also contribute to customer satisfaction, engagement and loyalty, which in turn boost current and future margin and revenues by increasing one-time purchase amounts, repeat purchases, referral purchases and ultimately, customer lifetime value and overall revenue. Industry-specific technology solutions—such as Microsoft’s Dynamics AX solution suite for CPG manufacturers, deliver:
- Flexibility: Dynamics AX provides CPG leaders with enterprise-wide visibility into critical data, enabling them to responsively adapt to quickly changing consumer and market demands.
- Scalability: Dynamics AX enables CPG leaders to scale to meet the replenishment demands of sellers and to accommodate the demands of new customers and sales channels absorbed through the acquisition of new brands and products during this time of high industry consolidation.
- Visibility: Dynamics AX provides the enterprise-wide integration necessary to deliver real-time visibility into critical areas of business operations for CPG leaders—such as data on which products contribute most to the bottom line—leveraging business intelligence capabilities to drive actionable insights that lead to better, faster and smarter decision-making.
- Profitability: Dynamics AX enables CPG industry leaders to increase profitability through operational efficiencies—such as those associated with improvements in yield management, production processes, trade promotions planning and execution (particularly profitable in brand-sensitive market segments)—enabling them to be more profitable and achieve steeper growth using the same or fewer resources.
Increasingly driven by technology solutions tailored to meet industry-specific challenges, CPG leaders are turning to familiar and flexible—yet proven and powerful—technology platforms such as Microsoft’s industry-focused Dynamics AX solution suite for CPG manufacturers—and the newly launched, cloud-first Dynamics AX7 [link to separate Dynamics AX7 page]—to enable competitive responses to precisely these kinds of challenges. Dynamics AX helps CPG industry leaders maximize every opportunity for efficiency, integration, automation and growth.
RSM and Dynamics AX—integration and automation for improved CPG business processes
Traditional, paper-based processes characteristic of legacy CPG operations are no longer enough to ensure industry leaders will be able to both keep pace with the increasing speed of innovation and effectively engage with the modern omnichannel shopper. To address these types of challenges, CPG industry leaders are relying on solutions like Dynamics AX that offer automation of critical business processes that will add value for both the customers and retailers they serve—as well as strengthen compliance efforts around traceability and supply chain-wide visibility. Enabling faster, more efficient communication across every touch point, such solutions also consolidate operations onto a single platform—improving supplier relations and helping CPG leaders cut costs typically associated with setting up and maintaining these business-critical partnerships.
RSM and Dynamics AX—increased responsiveness to exceed CPG customer expectations
Customer expectations around timeliness, quality and performance play a critical role in their CPG purchasing behavior. Superior customer service and support start with an operating model built on seamless data transfer across key customer-facing departments, requiring a solution that will integrate systems such as financials and inventory with automated data collection that improves employee oversight and responsiveness. As POS interactions continue to change and evolve toward a more digitally driven retail environment, CPG leaders will have to equip associates with sales order and logistics tools designed to provide real-time updates to business-critical data categories such as inventory levels—speeding delivery, shortening lead times and reducing excess inventory. These same technologies are being leveraged to gain valuable insight into customer buying patterns, helping CPG distributors more accurately gauge demand and plan orders—boosting customer loyalty through increased responsiveness and timely support.
RSM and Dynamics AX—robust cost controls that minimize internal CPG expenditures
Without the luxury of long-term commitment typically associated with other retail models, quick-turn CPG distributors must carefully assess each investment—especially those for new products—to ensure profitability and control internal costs. Aggregating and summarizing both real-time and historical data for planning processes, ideal technology solutions will allow executives to quickly identify which warehouses, departments and processes are actively contributing to the bottom line—and which are depleting it—to improve accountability at both the employee and departmental level.
Microsoft Dynamics AX for the CPG industry is designed to meet essential operational challenges with intuitive, user-friendly functionality that allows users to capitalize on every opportunity to make internal processes and operations smarter and more efficient while strengthening customer relationships, engagement and loyalty—driving the connections, efficiencies and visibility required for sustainable profit and growth.
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Food and beverage customers expect variety, in part to the growing network of digital and social tools that make the shopping process more dynamic.
It is mission critical for companies to keep up with the breakneck pace of new product innovation.