EuroPack Summit 2015, Monaco, France

China beer market is declining but individualization and online purchases have risen

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Carlsberg
Picture: Carlsberg

Related tags: Supply chain

The beer market in China has declined recently but individualisation and people buying their beer online has risen in the country, according to Thomas Delory, global procurement team leader, Packaging S&T, Carlsberg.

He said it was a challenge for Carlsberg because it is a big change in consumer behaviour and it needs to be organized to ‘hit these new distribution channels’ in these categories. 

EuroPack 2015, Monaco, France

Delory made the comments during a Supply Chain Collaboration Forum at EuroPack 2015, in Monaco, France, alongside speakers Prof Dr Ingo Buren, director, science and technology, IPI; Anke Hampel, global purchase leader, P&G Prestige, and Pete Matthews, head of packaging design & POS, Kellogg’s. 

The discussion, chaired by Dr Martin Zethoff, director, global packaging technology laundry & home care, Henkel and co-chair, EuroPack, focused on how to establish a robust supply chain to improve service levels and job satisfaction. 

Matthews who looks after cereal brands and snacks at Kellogg’s, including Pringles, said the company had just moved from a localized to centralized supply chain model, which was critical for interacting with all the different parts of the business. 

We should have regular consultation and interaction between stakeholders to deliver fit for purpose packaging on time. Traditional consultations are happening too late in the process, involving time, money and more risks,​” he said. 

Buren said it is not enough nowadays to change the colours on a pouch. It needs technical innovations too. He said, on the technical side there are not that many new packaging systems on the market and interfaces in supply chain are reasons to do things better and cut costs. 

Many industries are trying to be more efficient and streamlined but to some extent we have sacrificed the interface. One of the key elements of success is being a connector and bringing these dots together, that’s what makes the difference,​’ said Delory. 

'Everyone must work towards the same objectives'

Hampel added to drive a better service and create job satisfaction with what the customer needs and what the supply chain needs to deliver, everyone has to work towards the same objectives. 

Based on the reality of our lifestyle, the only way to make the flow of goods more efficient is to master communication but the truth is, the information flow is going the other way round. Most of our industries focus so much on flow of goods we are missing a better grip of information and mega data​,” said Delory. 

Buren added the lack of information was due to the fact traditionally, people didn’t speak to each other because the information they had was proprietary and they were not allowed to speak about it and Hampel agreed that putting a transparent supply chain process into practice was hard work. 

We’ve been working hard in supply chain efficiency in our existing portfolio, but it’s also conflicting with individualization. Before, consumers belonged to the same group and had a similar product as everyone else, but now the trend is to stand out from the crowd and that adds complexity in to the supply chain​,” added Delory. 

For us, it’s about finding the right balance. You work hard on defining the numbers but who can say that in a year from now, it’s likely to change. The Asian market is much better prepared than Western industries the way I see it​.” 

Hampel added, everybody likes to manage change but doesn’t like to be changed. In the end, it’s all about understanding what the customer needs. 

It takes some investment but you need to have a goal in mind of what you’re trying to do. We are trialing individualization in Japan, it’s helping sales but it’s not coming in at the right cost starter,​” she said. 

Dehlory said the industry was missing out on a lot of great innovations but it had to decide whether to ‘take all the risks in the world or play it safe and live another day’. 

The dilemma is if you take a short term element your growth will not skyrocket but looking 20 years ahead the equation might look different. We need to look at short-term projects for a long-term benefit. It’s easier to take risks as a team rather than on your own​,” he added. 

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