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Celonis Retail and CPG industry forum: 6 lessons learned

Celonis retail and consumer product goods (CPG) customers said at an industry forum that they are using Process Mining and Execution Management to solve multiple B2B and B2C pain points and meld back office and front office processes.

Coinciding with the 2023 National Retail Federation conference in New York, Celonis held its 5th Retail and CPG Industry Forum with 35 online attendees and more than a dozen customers live. Celonis holds multiple industry gatherings to share best practices and information with plans to scale forums.

While these industry forums are operated under the Chatham House Rule, which encourages frank and open discussions that are off record, we were able to sit in and glean takeaways.

Retailers and CPG companies are looking to meld front office and back-office processes to create one seamless end-to-end experience. Retailers outlined plans to create process digital twins of their enterprises to provide end-to-end context of commerce processes. The goal is to solve pain points such as high return rates and delayed collections.

When back office insights are utilized to fuel the front office interactions, retailers and CPG firms can:

  • Automatically position overstocked products in a marketing campaign.

  • Offer real-time inventory and data and intelligent product substitution at checkout.

  • Leverage customer score insights for customer service.

  • Dynamically adjust payment methods and terms.

Emporix Commerce Execution Platform (CXP) and Celonis are looking to integrate back office insights with front-office interactions. Also see: The Co-innovation Backstory: Emporix Commerce Execution Platform (CXP)

Pain points abound due to disjointed processes. Forum participants in an interactive survey outlined their top commerce pain points. Here are the top 5 pain points, according to customers at the forum.

  • High return ratios and their impact on handling costs.

  • Late payments, collections.

  • Unreliable suppliers and delayed goods.

  • Overstock and slow-moving stock.

  • Customer cancellations after placing orders.

Use cases in retail and CPG are wide ranging. Celonis customers at the forum were in various stages of implementations and pilots for multiple use cases. According to customers at the forum, Accounts Payable, Order-to-Cash, Accounts Receivable, Supply Chain, Procurement and Customer Care were the top use cases.

Retailers and CPG customers were looking to increase resilience across their value chains. Enabling full visibility of shared processes with business partners along the value chain, allows customers to unlock value for all players involved. Many of the pain points above could be addressed with better transparency between partners and industry value chains on the Celonis platform as well as Celonis Process Sphere, which uses object-centric process mining (OCPM), and Business Miner. The challenge is scale since most Celonis customers at the forum said they had too many manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and other partners in their value chain to count. The takeaway: There is a need to establish a platform for cross-company execution management at scale

Innovation has to be focused on driving value faster today and tomorrow. Retail and CPG customers need to innovate to solve problems today to address immediate business needs as well as plan ahead for tomorrow. For instance, solving for high return rates helps cash flow today, but also creates a better customer experience that will pay off in the future. One customer said his company was able to innovate and enable the business by removing dashboard inertia and leveraging existing systems with Celonis as a data layer.

Value, value, value. One CIO said value has to be communicated to different audiences, but to the board of directors and CFO cash flow and cost avoidance matters. In other words, show the financial benefits and continually frame, monitor and deliver value. To get more shots at creating value, it's important to start small and notch some wins. "No one trusts you unless you have a track record," said the CIO. "Choose something small and nail it."

More customer best practices and lessons learned:

Larry Dignan mugshot 2022
Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief (former)

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of Celonis Media. Before joining Celonis, he was Editor in Chief of ZDNet and has covered the technology industry and transformation trends for more than two decades, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine.

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