Industrial Automation

3 CPG Trends Forcing Manufacturers to Move Away from Manual Processes

Aravind Kumar and Freddie Sherrill

Today, consumers want products quickly, they expect high levels of quality and they demand customized experiences. Find out how most CPG companies are relying on digitization and automation to respond to these trends.



Growth in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market isn’t as simple as it used to be. Consumers are no longer looking to simply buy a product and move on. They want to know more about what they’re buying and who they’re buying it from—and they want an experience that is personalized and seamless.


For example, consider these three rising CPG trends that are set to drastically impact the way CPG companies function.

  • Consumers want to receive products quickly. Two- or three-day shipping is now considered “standard” for 90% of consumers.

  • Consumers expect high quality. In the last year, 74% of surveyed consumers have experienced a product or service problem.

  • Consumers are looking for experiences that help them connect with where and how the products they consume are made in an effort to improve sustainability. For example, 72% of consumers say sustainability is an important purchase consideration. And 85% of people worldwide have shifted their purchase behavior toward making consciously sustainable choices.


If something goes awry—an order shows up late or the product isn’t what they expected, for example—many consumers don’t keep this information to themselves. They make their opinions known on social media or through conversations with friends and family. Either way, word gets around and can damage your reputation. For instance, 50% of consumers are more likely to share negative experiences instead of positive ones, and 86% of consumers say they’re hesitant to purchase from a business that has negative reviews.


Using digitization to tackle CPG trends

There’s only one way for manufacturers to respond to these CPG trends: with digitization.


According to McKinsey, digitally enabled innovation allows CPG companies to bring new products to market 50% faster, at a cost that’s 33% lower and offers double the return on investment. Digitization allows you to optimize operations and take steps to improve order accuracy—which are big competitive advantages.


If you rely only on manual processes and historical data, then all you can do is react to change after it happens. But true digitization helps you integrate and share data and deploy autonomous operations so you can anticipate what consumers want and exceed their expectations.


Digitization also helps CPG companies optimize workforces by reducing the amount of time operators spend on non-value-added tasks. This may not only lessen the need for additional workers, but also widen the potential labor pool, allowing you to bring in less-experienced employees. Because knowledge and processes are digitized, onboarding and training these workers can be done faster so they begin contributing value sooner.


Here’s how digitization is poised to address the three CPG trends that are impacting manufacturers right now.


1. Get products to consumers faster

Through digitization and automation, CPG processes and workflows can be completed faster—with fewer errors and rework—which means that consumers get their products sooner.


By helping you gather and analyze data on your network, digitization tools can help you proactively monitor things like estimated times of arrival, in-yard inventory and machine and network downtime to make sure everything stays on track and products ship on time.


2. Verify quality before products are shipped

Certain steps in the manufacturing process, such as quality control testing and product inspection, can be digitized and automated to reduce the amount of time and number of personnel resources required to improve accuracy and consistency.


Integrating digital technologies into your processes can also help your CPG company predict, identify and address quality problems before products are sent out to customers, improving your reputation and image.


3. Provide data to support unique consumer experiences

Data can help CPG companies not only boost business processes but also keep consumers informed about their orders and provide customization capabilities to enhance experiences.


For example, capturing and sharing data about where materials are sourced, where products are made and even stats about energy and water use in the manufacturing process can give consumers the information they need to make sustainably responsible purchasing decisions.


Will you be a CPG frontrunner—or be left behind?

Consumers are forcing manufacturers to change their focus and rethink buying expectations. As the gap widens between CPG frontrunners and everyone else, which side will you be on?


Belden can help you design the secure and reliable infrastructure you need to bring digitization and automation to life within your operations so you can handle changing CPG trends.


From quickly manufacturing products and receiving orders to processing them and getting them out to the right customers on time, we can help you use digital transformation to continuously improve the way your CPG company operates—and the buying experience you provide to consumers.


Learn more about CPG trends and starting your digital transformation journey.


Related resources:

Why You Need to Know to Reduce Your CPG Plant’s True Downtime Costs

7 Ways Connected Manufacturing Reduces CPG Costs

Why the Data Ingestion Phase Is Critical to the CPG Sector