Consumer Goods Companies: Combining agile practices with new-age tech to accelerate growth


A perspective by Niranjan Deshpande, Partner, IBM Consulting, India/South Asia.


Traditionally, consumer goods value chains have followed a perfected mass-market brand building model. While it helped pre-2010, the growth tapered-off for most of them after 2010 because of local competition, rise of smaller brands, millennial effect etc.
COVID-19 further led to an unprecedented 40 to 50 percent decline in discretionary spend. This left companies with more hurdles to navigate -- potential consumer shifts, price sensitivity, supply chain disruption and pressure of profit from investors amongst others. Organisations did turn to technology for support but what prevented a long-term gain was a knee-jerk response.

As markets and borders are opening up now, the need of the hour is to adopt a structured approach on scenario planning to formulate and evaluate multiple versions of the future.


Adopting agile practices will make the journey easier. Organisations like Parle Products have been able to excel through pandemic with the help of this approach. They leveraged IBM Cloud and IBM Watson to manage their mission critical workload and measure & monitor the health of their business processes with intelligent AI-based supply chain.


Scaled up digital and analytics projects to evaluate multiple versions of mass-supply and niche-supply systems help organizations to choose the best combination. Here, agile teams work simultaneously to create two fronts - a dynamic front end and a stable back office. This helps prioritize work against a moving goal post of changing consumer preferences, distribution channel priorities, increasing logistics costs, rising commodity prices etc.


The stable backbone ensures data / scenarios are processed and best possible outcome is predicted through AI and Intelligent Workflows designed on a secure cloud infrastructure. A combinatorial process further ensures optimum balance between a perfect and a human-like decision. It also ensures that KPIs are truly considered "cross-functional" with tight linkages across teams so that the backbone remains sturdy and right culture is inculcated. 


Institutionalizing agile teams to design intelligent workflows is not just a best practice anymore…it is a critical business imperative.


Click here to learn more how Parle has been leveraging new-age technologies coupled with agile practices to power its digital transformation.


For further information please reach out to Vinay Krishnan at