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How 5app keeps the FMCG industry moving
The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is constantly changing. Consumer tastes evolve, industry regulations shift all the time and technology advances rapidly, leaving FMCG employees struggling to keep up.
Whether it’s the move towards sustainable, eco-friendly products, improving safety standards or more efficient production processes, things rarely stay the same in the FMCG industry. This presents FMCG learning teams with a huge opportunity to develop fast, flexible learning that keeps employees reskilling and upskilling to meet the changing demands of consumers and regulators.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the key challenges facing the FMCG sector and how we can solve them with the right learning and comms. Let’s get into it!
Challenges in the FMCG sector
In a fast-changing sector such as FMCG, it’s crucial that everyone in the business stays on top of emerging industry trends and predictions. Agility and adaptability are vital skills for anyone working in this industry - and judging by some of the main challenges, it’s easy to see why!
Rapid changes in consumer preferences
Consumer tastes are constantly changing. This is a blessing and a curse for FMCG businesses - on the one hand, they can constantly innovate and try new things to capture the zeitgeist. On the other, companies can easily manufacture huge product runs which then sit in a warehouse gathering dust if they miss their moment.
Some of the recent trends impacting the industry include:
- Growing interest in plant-based products
- Reduced office-based working leading to a decrease in ‘grab and go’ food and drink purchases
- Increased interest in healthy, low-sugar, low-salt, less processed snacks
- More consideration of dietary restrictions and transparent labelling
- Significant growth in the non-alcoholic beverage market
These changing tastes fuel constant innovation, along with the need to pivot at speed, putting pressure on learning teams in the FMCG sector to keep everyone up to date with the latest tastes, skills and production methods (not to mention constant new product training).
Despite high entry barriers (such as the need for expensive manufacturing sites and machinery), competition in the FMCG sector is rife. New brands emerge every single day, which need to compete with established global brands to survive by carving out their own niche.
Mergers and acquisitions are also very common in this sector. For instance, in recent years, PepsiCo has acquired SodaStream, Unilever acquired GlaxoSmithKline's Health Food Drinks portfolio and Kraft Heinz acquired Primal Nutrition. With these industry changes come immense learning opportunities to help employees (and competitors!) keep up with what’s going on - in other words, training and comms.
Need for quick decision making
Unsurprisingly, in an industry where things move quickly, rules and regulations also evolve rapidly.
While regulations differ from region to region, recent changes include the ban on certain single-use plastics in the European Union, the FDA’s focus on nutritional labelling in the US and advertising restrictions limiting the promotion of ultra-processed food and drinks across much of the world.
This means that FMCG business leaders need the skills and confidence to act quickly and decisively to avoid lagging behind the competition or falling foul of evolving industry standards.
Need support with leadership training in the FMCG sector? Find out why 5app’s Content Hub could be just what you need.
How to solve the FMCG learning problem
The number one priority for any FMCG learning team must be flexibility. When things are changing frequently, you need to be confident that your learning platforms support your business goals.
A flexible learning and comms platform is ideal for any FMCG business looking to keep up with industry and customer changes. When things are changing fast, the last thing you need is a cumbersome LMS, so opt for a platform that makes it easy for everyone to get the information they need, when they need it.
While there are many important learning needs in FMCG, mastering three of the main learning areas will help you build the foundations for a successful continuous learning culture.
FMCG companies of all sizes welcome new employees through their doors all the time - especially when manufacturing ramps up ahead of seasonal events and holidays. This could be everything from full-time, permanent employees based at head office to casual delivery workers and distributors. Having a way to quickly and easily onboard new workers will significantly help your people hit the ground running once they’ve started their new role.
Compliance is a huge concern for the FMCG industry, from food safety standards to safe manufacturing practices and general workplace health and safety. Different functions and roles in your organisation will need to adhere to different compliance requirements, so building tailored playlists will ensure every department has the compliance training they need to carry out their jobs safely.
FMCG brands are constantly focused on product innovation, whether that’s releasing new flavours of existing favourites or creating entirely new products. With so many new launches to keep up with, FMCG companies need a way to quickly share product information across the business. This is where combining learning and comms really comes into its own - business leaders can share product information and any promotional materials from a single point of truth, ensuring consistency and high standards for everyone.
Why comms must be a priority for FMCG companies
It’s about more than just learning, though! For sectors like FMCG in particular, comms are what keep things moving on a day-to-day basis. And there’s a lot that needs to be communicated!
Opening up communication channels ensures that everyone receives real-time updates and stays in the loop with important information. This could be anything from the marketing plan for a new international product launch to supply chain issues impacting the entire manufacturing function.
Having a single place to access these comms helps to break down silos and boost access to information, supporting cross-departmental knowledge sharing and collaboration. Business leaders can simply upload a message, document or quick video update and share it with all relevant audiences in one go. You can even add push notifications to cut through the noise for the most business-critical comms.
How 5app helped a soft drinks brand
One 5app and Hemsley Fraser customer, the European arm of a global soft drinks manufacturer, recognised the value of strong comms during the COVID-19 pandemic. 50% of staff were placed on furlough in just one week, giving the centralised L&D team a critical challenge: to ensure that the entire workforce remained connected and supported with useful resources. To do this, they expanded the remit of their 5app platform beyond learning to encompass comms with a tailored COVID-19 information hub. Using the platform to its fullest potential resulted in 10x employee engagement - a great result for driving future learning while keeping everyone informed about developments across the business.
In FMCG? Keep moving with 5app
Get your demo today to find out how we support global FMCG companies with their learning and comms initiatives.