A New Digital Strategy for the Mill Products Industry
(3 minute read)
The impact of the current pandemic has varied significantly across the mill products industry. While some companies are facing skyrocketing demand for paper-based products, others are seeing a steep drop in demand (building materials, fabricated metals). In this article, we’ll focus on the challenges and opportunities for the paper and packaging segment of the industry.
According to McKinsey & Company, when the world emerges from the pandemic, paper and packaging businesses will need to raise their performance in multiple ways: balance sustainability goals with stringent hygiene requirements, step up their e-commerce games, and compete in a novel customer landscape while facing strong cost pressures. To navigate these choppy waters and stay ahead of the competition, packaging converters and other packaging companies must rethink how to move to their next normal.*
We believe the key to success will be a service-based approach to digital transformation that provides a quicker, smarter way to respond to changes in technology, in the industry and in the business.
Challenges and Opportunities in the ‘New Normal’
In this new environment, the mill products industry is being forced to deal with several challenges:
- Demand Planning: For the paper and packaging industry, a massive shift in demand for essential paper and corrugated products has proven challenging. In addition, concerns about hygiene and food safety have resulted in a move away from reusable packaging. Manufacturers will need to make better use of data to understand what to stop, start and continue in order to maintain strong relationships with customers and ensure business continuity as expectations and demands fluctuate.
- Supply Chain Planning: In the current environment, mill products companies are re-examining their supply chains and considering alternate suppliers. By taking proactive steps now, these companies can put the business into a more secure position to stay strong and recover faster, both financially and operationally.
- Personalized Products: Although paper and packaging is a commodity business, customers still have individual needs regarding the characteristics of their products. It’s critical that mill products companies be able to manage the specifics of each order in every aspect in a consistent way, at nearly the cost of a standard product. To do this, all product and process documentation must be accessible from a single source, and all business processes – from order entry through after-sales service – must be effectively executed and closely monitored.
- Intelligent Manufacturing: Faster time to market is key for staying competitive as business models change from selling products to delivering solutions. To address these challenges, manufacturing and operations must become more connected and modular. At the same time, they must execute seamlessly for quick order completion and have the ability to respond directly to demand signals and changing customer orders.
The Path to a New Digital Strategy
It’s not surprising that companies that were further along the path toward digital transformation are adapting to the crisis better than their peers. The changes made to their business models and working processes allowed them to pivot more rapidly or accelerate changes already underway.
But taking on large-scale transformation projects no longer makes sense in the current climate of uncertainty, where no one can see far enough ahead to make long-term plans. The mill products industry needs a new approach that will make its transformation efforts fast, flexible and forgiving.
This new approach is Digital Transformation as a Service (DTaaS). No matter what your business challenges and opportunities may be, NTT DATA Business Solutions has an approach that allows you to capitalize on new opportunities without a massive capital investment, and with the ability to pivot and refocus as business conditions evolve.
- A dynamic technology roadmap to plot your course
- A flexible delivery model so you can pivot, as needed
- Subscription pricing – simple, easy, affordable
This new approach can help you break down barriers so your business can continue to grow – even in these uncertain times.
For more information about how your business can rethink its digital strategies, I encourage you to download our e-book, Rethinking Digital Transformation for the Mill Products Industry.
*Source: McKinsey & Company, Shaping the next normal of packaging beyond COVID-19, David Feber, Daniel Nordigarden, Oskar Lingqvist, May 26, 2020.