By embracing digital best practices and harnessing the potential of technology, the UAE aims to forge new opportunities and design innovative models that lay the foundation for a sustainable economy.
Digital technology is shaping businesses and reducing conventional ways of structuring and conducting them. In a nutshell, digital transformation is 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.
The manufacturing industry has been way ahead in adopting technology to increase business productivity.
Digital transformation trends in manufacturing industry
For manufacturing companies, it has become important to redesign and redefine the manufacturing process with the use of available technologies to sustain & grow the market. The companies are taking advantage of technological advancements and are adopting artificial intelligence (AI) for forecasting, robotics for process automation and machine learning for maintenance in their manufacturing facilities to increase productivity. One of the leading packaging company is using PLC, sensory measurement, HMI, SCADA etc for automation of manufacturing process.
The company has enhanced machine productivity with in-house machine upgradations. We have incorporated automation in BOPP manufacturing process, non-contact type thickness measurement & control in close loop. We ensure complete synchronization of manufacturing from raw material feeding to final mill roll production. Implementation of AI, robotics & machine learning are in process.
Digital transformation for inventory management
Inventory management is also one of the critical issues for manufacturing industry. In packaging sector, delays in truck loading & missing rolls are regular phenomenon. To overcome this problem, the companies are automating the whole process with the help of RFID and barcodes to reduce the loading and unloading time of materials and provide complete traceability.
For inter-plant transfers we enabled the RFID on rolls and for customer sales we have started using the bar codes. Packaging personnel at the shop floor were given scanners and TABS with a customized screen in SAP with very less inputs. A customized hanger which could control the TAB & scanner was developed to ensure the hands free movement of the personnel on the floor. By these initiatives, companies are able to reduce the container loading time from 3 hours to 30 minutes which was a huge saving for us. With limited number of loading points, it helped to load more containers in less time with more accuracy. Also, all the validation for rolls like right customer mapping, quantity mapping and right packaging type used or not could be done in no time.
Customer Relationship Management tools
One of the most important areas where digitisation can help the manufacturing 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.
Nowadays, the packaging companies have implemented an end-to-end CRM tool/solution at their office. Within a span of couple of months/introduction of the tool, they have been able to significantly reduce non value adding conversations between the customer and the company as all the required information is sent out to the customer by auto email alerts, or is available for him to retrieve it online.
This has considerably improved the ease of doing business and also allowed the sales team to focus on value adding activities like business development and sales. There have also been some measurable results like increase in revenue of approx. one percent by proper follow up and SEO integration and 20 % reduction in customer complaints etc.
Benefits for both the customer and the salesperson
For the customer:
– Option to enter orders online
– Visibility to stage wise progress of order from Order Receipt to Order Dispatch
– Auto email alerts at every stage of order processing
– Complete visibility to historical transactions with Cosmo with download options for the Invoices, CNs etc.
– Complete visibility to receivables & statement of account
– Complete visibility to claims status
For the salesperson
– A single window for managing all transactions with the customer (order entry, complaints, receivables et al)
– A 360 degrees view of the customer in one window
– Email repository relevant to each customer in one place
– Online Price & Discount management
– Online Complaints management
– A single window for all reports related to sales, receivables, claims etc.
The solution has various interfaces integrated with SAP, Google Apps, Website, SEO & Ad Words etc.
Digitisation of internal processes
Another area where digitisation could help in ease of managing internal affairs is using Business Intelligence (BI) Tools like IBM Cognos Analytics, IntelliFront BI, Dundas BI, SAP BI etc. Traditionally, most key decision making reports/MIS were prepared by the finance teams using Microsoft Excel. In the past, a lot of effort went into collecting information from various departments and keeping a close tab on any changes or modifications at Cosmo.
Through the SAP BI/BO tool, information is now available online for all departments like production, purchase, finance and sales to view any time of the day. Auto generated mails are also sent at specific timings during the day basis the role of the person. 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.
(Jagdip Kumar is CIO, Cosmo Films)