Note: This is a guest post written by Audrey Stephenson
The ongoing international health crisis has brought many changes to the world, among them a radical transformation among mass-distribution manufacturers, away from traditional SOP toward strategic digitalization.
From small producers to vast corporations, manufacturers opting to digitize their operations reap the benefits of enhanced visibility to prospective retailers, as well as the power–through data and analytics–to continually optimize their product offerings.
Trace One, a world leader in connecting retailers and manufacturers, weighs in on some of the key benefits of this digital revolution.
A global showcase for quality products
Managing director for Trace One, Christophe Vanackère, whose group has launched a marketplace platform dedicated to manufacturers, notes that many retailers have already taken the crucial leap toward digitalization, and thus many partner manufacturers who have not done so already will need to follow their lead. He explains though that for some smaller producers, a foray into digitalization can prove to be an invaluable strategic move–setting them apart from competitors and giving them the potential to conquer new markets.
Vanackère’s team has developed a digital tool that allows producers of all sizes to present their products and production capacities, but also makes it possible for them to connect with retailers ahead of calls for tenders. “This has enabled many small producers to develop their operations in France and abroad,” he adds.
Under Vanackère’s helm, Trace One’s collaboration network extends to include nearly all retailers in France, and with more than 5,000 manufacturers supplying them. According to Vanackère, thanks to digitalization, many manufacturers who previously may have worked with one or two exclusive retailers are now in business with upwards of six or seven retail partners in France and abroad. “The ability for collaboration partners to access a single online tool allows them to pool their effort and investments, and be able to respond quickly and efficiently to calls for tenders and the demand for multiple specifications.”
Product data: guaranteeing transparency in production
Product data management is another area where manufacturers are seeing the profound impact of digitization.
Faced with increasing demand from consumers as well as stricter standards and regulations, manufacturers need to use digital tools to collect, analyze and distribute reliable and timely information on their products.
For instance, food product information is no longer limited to just ingredients and recipes, but now often includes information regarding product packaging. Antoine Daviet, Product Marketing Director of Trace One, states that “our customers want to manage data related to packaging. They are now as interested in packaging data as they are in product data.”
Daviet describes Trace One’s mission as “to anticipate changes in order to adapt to them, and to collect data on new strategic themes for its customers. In recent years we’ve redoubled our focus on the packaging dimension of product data to allow our customers to, first of all, be in full knowledge of the state of the industry, and then be able to drive change toward plastic packaging reduction.”
Daviet goes on to note that the role of Trace One “is to support the customer so that they initiate new approaches as far upstream as possible.” This is particularly relevant to the role of data digitization and the communication of product information to the consumer. “Our work also consists in ensuring that all the data collected corresponds to universal language standards, such as GS1.”