The Indian alcohol beverages industry is among the biggest alcohol industries in the globe only behind China and Russia. Once considered a recession-proof industry, the alcohol beverage industry has suffered a massive blow due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Given today’s scenario, every good business knows that one of the most important tools for making money is information. We need to look at the key drivers and trends shaping the industry as we move forward into a new era. In addition, we also need to look at how brands can leverage technology, especially analytics, to effectively capitalize on growth opportunities, and find solutions to its problems while enhancing the market appeal to consumers.
Adapting an Analytics-Driven Strategy for Success
Technology is driving change in operations and strategy - right from crop analysis to smartphones scanning product labels. Big data and analytics have also been major drivers for the alco-bev industry when it comes to improving insights across the supply chain. Having in place solutions to provide real-time insights can help identify the largest problems at hand and find ways to optimize production, maintain quality.
Some of the ways in which analytics can be used to address changes and emerging trends are-
Demand Forecasting Using Market Trends: By collecting statistical and behavioral consumer competition data points and powerful analytics and AI-driven engines on top of it, businesses can gain valuable insights to inform business strategy, remain proactive and expand production of beverages over time. This helps businesses to target more specifically the root cause and improve productivity.
Innovations in Product Design and Strategy: By using survey analytics, businesses can determine varieties of products that are more appealing to each demographic, resulting in better recommendations and increasing average deal size. Businesses can achieve a first-mover advantage by coming up with innovative offerings and providing offers to increase market share.
Optimized Supply Chain Operations: Supply chains are currently complex and intricate therefore, manufacturers/ retailers can use analytics to get a transparent, real-time overview of various variables to proactively prevent bottlenecks. Adopting such a proactive outlook, using data will help you keep your feet on the pedal; and handle the levers in the right way to keep an edge over the competition.
Identifying Best Performing Channels: With analytics, it is now possible to measure revenue versus costs to identify best-performing routes, track sales at restaurants or hotel chains, identify which venues are using smart-menus, etc., and gain better visibility. Instead of focusing just on volume, businesses can now focus on value, which is the goal!
Sales Performance Tracking: It is possible to devise appropriate incentives and rewards for sales representatives by analyzing performance data by region or category. Additionally, analytics can enable trend forecasting for new products/ brands that hit the market in time. Also, experimentation and results are becoming more visible with improving analytics. Businesses can now quickly look at the performance and make decisions.
Sales and Operations Planning Area: When the demand is more than supply, issues crop up around the procurement of raw materials, how much to import, when to import, locations to target, etc.; here analytics can help provide maximum insights.
Better Connected: Brands aggressively use social media to engage with consumers, and, having social media data can provide an edge by helping understand how consumers interact with the brand, plan product launches, etc. This encourages loyalty to the brand, which also has the potential to increase sales. It’s all about building relationships.
Brand Advocacy: Collect the right data on where the average customer is, their spending and purchasing habits, etc., and enable brands to roll out effective promotion/ marketing plans, measure results, and identify the best performing channels.
Agile and Smart Pricing Strategy: Companies can compare price points and determine how raising the price would impact sales. Additionally, pricing analytics can help optimize a business’s pricing strategy for maximum revenue. This helped many businesses to get to an optimum price point to deliver maximum value.
The Right Blend for the Alco-Bev Industry
When it comes to focusing on growth, companies are beginning to understand the importance of building capabilities around analytics, digitization, automation, etc. Analytics can enable companies to put in place a BI architecture, and in turn, reduce manual efforts, generate insights through analytics to make better business decisions, and improve internal business processes. Alco-bev companies can use marketing analytics and primary and secondary sales analytics to gauge the ROI and impact of marketing initiatives as well as surrogate marketing.
Additionally, when we look at operations and quality assessment, and analytics strategy can go a long way in helping run plants, raw material test analysis, blend inspection analysis, quality control, compliance, end of line quality analysis, hygiene assessment, and managing customer complaints. There are multiple visual and physical checks required across various stages, and because it is a restricted environment wherein companies are bound by various regulations, analytics can be extremely beneficial. Advanced analytics also helps businesses to centralize planning and strategies. With the silos of verticals in an organization, it is important to plan strategies centrally and make collective decisions.
In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.
Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”
He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”
Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”
Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”
Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."
Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.
He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”
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