CMA|SIMA 2021 Sponsor Interview with Todd McCourtie

Tell us about what your company does, who you serve and what value you bring to your clients as a solution provider.

Plantensive is an end-to-end supply chain services provider. One of our specialty areas is category management. We service both the retail and manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods side of the business, so we’re pretty diversified across manufacturing fast-moving goods, retail, and distribution.

What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

The solutions we’re most excited about right now are focused on speed to market for category management solutions. Today, consumer goods companies are constantly under pressure from their retailers to be faster – and not necessarily just to deliver the products on the shelves faster, but also to execute on the data and insight that a good category advisor provides faster. The acceptable pace it takes for a new product to hit the market used to be around 22 weeks – now, it’s more like 6 to 10 weeks, ideally. To keep up with that, category advisors have to move fast.

That’s why we’re so interested in both accelerators and what we call hybrid agile deployments. Hybrid agile deployments are accelerators we’ve pre-configured with custom builds based on previous experience. When a customer gets our software and needs to implement – for example, a new category SKU – very quickly, we can use hybrid agile development to set them up much faster, substantially accelerating that SKU’s time to market. Then, the client can go on to use that data to accelerate their overall pace to market going forward.

Our accelerators and hybrid agile developments give our clients an opportunity to utilize the load of data they need, implement the insights they need, and, ultimately, dramatically improve their processes’ speed to value. 

Where do you feel you’ve been helping clients make the most impact during the pandemic? How have you adjusted to meet their needs?

We’re used to working on-site with a customer all day and in-person. We’ve had to adjust our procedures quite a bit to translate them to tools like Teams and Zoom and the time limitations of virtual meetings. Completing the work with these new limitations has been our biggest challenge, but we’ve learned a lot from it.

We’ve been able to provide our clients with a lot of insight into what’s happening in marketing during the pandemic. We help determine where things are shifting, how the competition is viewing their digital strategy changes, what’s happening with shifts in online buying, curb pickup, and micro-fulfillment, and how they can better track and trace within the supply chain overall.

We’ve been able to focus on not just software integrators but also being a provider of thought leadership, insight, and strategy to help our clients think about the new normal and where they need to shift their priorities. That can take a lot of forms – from new technology that supports their stores and offices to new capabilities that take data information and very quickly assimilates it to action.

Finally, we’ve also developed some value-added solutions, such as planogram services and assortment management services. On the supply chain side, we manage a lot of demand and fulfillment forecasting for our clients, since so much of that was done on-site. We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we can help our clients get through this with our services so they can focus on what they need to do.

How have you been helping clients adjust to new & growing omnichannel dynamics?

First, we do a lot of process assessment work where we review their current set up. Everyone already had a play into digital, but after the pandemic a lot of companies figured out they probably weren’t as far along as they thought. We identify where they are and where the gaps are from both a process and technology perspective. Then, we offer a road map and direction to get them where they want to be faster by providing information on who’s best in market or what they could do with what they already have to grow.

It’s really been about focusing on the people, processes, and technology, and answering the questions “What do I have?” “Where do I need to go?” and “What can I work with today to get me to tomorrow?”

Why did your company feel it was important to have a sponsorship presence at the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference?

It’s important to us to learn from what others have gone through. I’ve attended the conference for several years and always got to meet people who are all struggling with the same things. The conference brings to light learnings, education, and ideas to help them with those challenges, and I think our providers in attendance also understand their challenges and how we can help each other.

And that’s the other part of it: we want to be able to provide thought leadership to providers, customers and peers that demonstrates we understand what they’re going through and want to be there to help them. Our presence at the conference can show them that we have a lot of category management expertise and we’re ready to help meet their needs.

Tell us about the solutions and content you’ll be showcasing at the Conference this year.

We’ll be showcasing a few things at the conference this year. First, we’ll walk through our retail and manufacturing maturity survey process. We have clients take this survey when we start working together, and the results tell us where their strengths lie in terms of their people, processes, and technology, and where they fit amongst their peers. All of this information is crucial for driving a road map and plan for the evaluated client.

Secondly, we’ll demonstrate a few of our accelerators that we’ve built and have available right now for tasks such as loading data and automating planograms.

Lastly, Plantensive will demonstrate how we provide an end-to-end approach. We’re interested in how every aspect of the business and supply chain come together as one business to drive the best available products, pricing, and everything else to meet consumer needs.

Ultimately, we want to demonstrate how Plantensive has the tools and solutions to help with the full-end and supply chain. We want to walk customers and attendees through the true impact of category management in the new normal and, in the process, show that category management and inventory planning are not their own silos, but they’re really, truly collaborative processes.

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