Digital Transformation Of Business Process In Packaging Industry

by Jagdip Kumar, CIO, Cosmo Films

Digitisation is shaping businesses and reducing conventional ways of structuring and conducting them. In a nutshell, digital transformations are happening in leaps and bounds and as far as the packaging industry is concerned, it has run on set business models until recently. With digitisation has come efficiency in conducting businesses.

Catching up with the digital way, most companies have set the wheels rolling by digitising internal as well as external processes to initiate ease of business. This helps in fighting sales pressures, strict margins and intensity of capital. The direct implication of adopting new technology is evident in increased profitability and reduction in work capital.

One of the most important areas where digitisation can help the Print & Packaging industry is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Organisations have successfully managed to reduce non value adding conversations between the customer and the company by introducing the CRM tool. The tool aids in sending out all relevant information to the customer through auto email alerts or make it available online for the customer to retrieve. This improves the ease of doing business considerably and allows stakeholders to focus on value adding activities like business development and sales. By adopting the CRM tool, organisations may also witness measurable results like increase in revenue, SEO integration and reduction in customer complaints to name a few.

Customers also get the option of placing orders online and view progress of their order right from issuing Receipt to Dispatch. Further, auto email alerts created at every stage of order processing gives complete visibility to history of transactions with the option of downloading Invoices, receivables, statement of account and claim status.

It also ends a single window for managing all transactions with the customer (order entry, complaints, receivables etc) and offers a 360 degree view of the customer in one window- email repository relevant to each customer in one place, online price, discount management and online complaints management for all reports related to sales, receivables, claims etc. The tool is also integrated with SAP, Google apps, Website, SEO, Ad Words and courier companies.

Another area where digitisation could help in ease of managing internal affairs is using Business Intelligence Tools like IBM Cognos Analytics, IntelliFront BI, Dundas BI, SAP Business Intelligence etc. Traditionally, most key decision making reports/MIS have been prepared by the Finance teams using Microsoft Excel. A lot of effort went into collecting information from various departments and keeping a close tab on any changes or modifications. Through the BI tool, information can be available online for all departments like production, purchase, finance and sales to view any time of the day. Auto generated mails can also be sent at specific timings during the day. Reports generated through the BI tool can be viewed by all departments for things like finding the production conversion ratio, inventory trends along with ageing of inventory with non-moving bucket, production line efficiency, along with down time analysis, purchase trends along with vendor ratings and delivery time trends v/s defined norms.

Inventory management is a critical business issue in the packaging industry. Delays in truck loading and missing rolls are a regular phenomenon in the industry. To overcome this problem, automating the entire process with the help of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and Bar Codes could go a long way in streamlining the entire process.

For inter-plant transfers, RFID can be enabled on the rolls, whereas for customers, Bar Codes can be enabled. Packaging personnel at the shop floors armed with scanners and TABS with customised hangers to control the TAB and scanner will ensure a hands free movement of the personnel.

Through such initiatives, organisations can reduce container loading times from around 3 hours to just 30 minutes, which is a huge saving. With limited number of loading points, it will help in loading more containers in lesser time with more accuracy. Moreover, validation for rolls like right customer mapping, quantity mapping and right packaging type used or not can be done in no time using the digital process.

For all these efforts to integrate successfully, the most important factor to be kept in mind is having skilled staff to manage digitized processes. This can be done by either training existing staff or hiring talent externally with relevant skill sets. Given the relevance of incorporating digital process in the organisation, it is also important to select managers carefully who can be trained and committed for considerable durations.

It is no secret that traditional IT programs have delivered returns, but mostly after considerable amount of time, whereas, digital processes such as discussed above can wield results in just three to six months.

At Cosmo Films Ltd. we have witnessed the positive outcomes of digitization by incorporating processes like CRM tool, Business Intelligence and RFID etc. These have acted as a shot in the arm for the company increasing out not just internal processes but also creating better customer relations.