What Good is all that Automation, Digital Transformation & Data if Consumers Don’t See it?

Digital Transformation

The more people I’ve heard from within various consumer product companies, the more impressed I am with just how far we’ve come with digital transformation, automation and the ability to generate data and use it to drive smarter businesses and processes.

In just the last few months, I’ve come across companies that have collated detailed data on just about every ingredient that goes into their products, data tracking every individual farm / farmer that supplies their collection centers daily, location data of a product and where it is at, temperature data of products as they move through the supply chain and more. Every time I hear of these initiatives, I’m impressed with the effort and work that goes into implementing this kind of transformation and technology especially when it’s scaled to the extent that some companies have been able to scale these technologies.

That had me thinking “Do the end consumers that buy these products see what I get to see? Do they see the efforts, have that same visibility into the process, have access to the data & insights that the manufacturer / brand has?

The short answer – not often. There is a disparity between how much data and information a manufacturer/brand has access to with regards to their products and how much of that is exposed and made accessible to a consumer. As an insider, you have access to insights from ERP systems, PIM systems, supply chain systems and other sources the customer has no visibility into. At times, it maybe intentional but very often its simply considered internal information or the data is gathered and sits within different systems and locations within the company and the idea of making it accessible to consumers hasn’t been considered. This is shame as it could be a lost opportunity to build trust with the consumer by sharing more of that information and allowing them greater insight into the manufacture and journey of the products.

Many consumers today are not content in simply having their product in pretty packaging and being shielded from the details of how their products are made, where they come from, what is in them, how safe they are, what is the impact of their purchase on people, the environment and more. They seek out answers to these questions and actively look into these concerns. As a brand or manufacturer, if that data is now available and maintained within some system or software within the organization, why not collate it and make it accessible to consumers via a trigger on the packaging, a digital link or web based format?

If there is any data being gathered within the organization as a result of digital transformation and internal processes that could build trust with the consumer and address concerns they have, making it accessible to consumers could be invaluable. After all, what good is digital transformation and generating insights if the final stakeholder ‘the consumer’ cannot benefit from it?