News Briefs


Conagra’s New Automated Vegetable Processing Plant to Bolster Efforts, Strengthen Sustainability

Automation across the supply chain

Conagra Brands, Inc. is looking to increase efficiency across its supply chain, opening a new facility that will maximize automation and enhance food safety for vegetable processing. 

The new 245,000-square-foot processing plant is located in Waseca, Minnesota, and will process fresh vegetables to support its frozen meals business and Birds Eye brand. 

Conagra is using tech in this space to monitor plants’ nutrients, syncing real-time data with the facility’s production schedule to pick and process vegetables at peak ripeness. 

[Read more: ‘There Is No Hierarchy’: Inside Conagra Brands’ IT Integration Playbook]

This new processing plant replaces Waseca’s 92-year-old facility, expanding capacity by an estimated 20%. Annually, the company expects to process and produce more than 120 million points of cut and cob corn, 45 million pounds of peas, and more than 20 million pounds of rice. 

Additionally, the company is looking toward sustainable practices, sourcing its peas and corn — which will be processed in this facility — from a network of local growers who are helping in the climate change fight by implementing water saving strategies, supporting biodiversity, and improving soil health. 

Conagra anticipates the new facility will use approximately 25% less water per pound of product produced than the company's previous facility.

"The significant investment in our new facility in Waseca is indicative of the strong opportunity we see in our frozen foods business," said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, Conagra Brands. "Conagra is committed to investing in innovation across the company, including our supply chain. We are also pleased to make the investment in Waseca where Birds Eye has a long history."

Ale Eboli, executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at Conagra Brands, said the company looked at every aspect of the facility to identify automation opportunities that could improve productivity and modernize food safety practices throughout its operations.

"The state-of-the-art design and uniquely designed equipment featured in the facility process fresh vegetables in the most efficient and responsible way possible," he added.



PVH Leans Into Low Code to Streamline Planning


PVH Europe is leveraging low code to improve to ability to manage and track a range of enterprise applications, including marketing budgets, project calendars, customer service, and workforce management.

The company, which includes the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, has tapped Siemens-owned Mendix and Mendix partner MxBlue to make budgets more transparent and provide clear spending insights to optimize planning in a more visually appealing way. The Global Unified Budget Information (GUBI) app is also designed to provide more timely and accurate information.

The organization leverages the platform to create a suite of applications to more efficiently manage and track marketing budgets, chargeback, on- and off-board temporary and external employees, manage project calendars and streamline customer service.

[See also: For PVH, Driving Innovation Means Ditching the Playbook]

The Recertification Third Party Accounts (RTPA)) app, meanwhile, is designed to help HR work more closely with freelancers and contractors, while providing a streamlined on- and off-boarding process directly within the app to create more engagement with external workers. It also enables accounts and certificates to be renewed using the app.

Finally, the Chargeback app, which was built in just four months, manages chargebacks to wholesale partners and streamlines end-of-season returns and markdowns automatically, improving customer satisfaction. PVH Europe integrated the new solutions with SAP system of record, such as the Sample Sale app, an internal app to streamline invitations, registration, and crowd control for sample sales which integrates SAP with the Mendix platform.

Leveraging the experience with the Mendix platform, the PVH Europe development team was able to build and launch two additional apps, according to Mendix, and within six weeks they launched Prop Shop, an internal webshop for stores to order in-store promotional materials.


Reckitt Developing Central Hub for Consumer Insights

reckitt vanish

Reckitt is investing in its consumer research and insights management capabilities so it can more quickly access and act upon them.   

The No. 28 consumer goods company has tapped enterprise insights platform provider Stravito with the goal of creating a central hub for its market and consumer insights. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to simplify internal research discovery, increase engagement, and boost productivity.

The technology leverages artificial intelligence within personalized search to help Reckitt marketing users identify the exact pieces of research they need by highlighting relevant sentences and paragraphs. Doing so is expected to help the company uncover and use critical information for such things as customer behaviors and preferences across multiple verticals and markets.

[See also: Reckitt Establishes Improved Data Infrastructure, Optimizes Cloud and Analytics]

Machine learning auto-categorizes files with Reckitt's own taxonomy on upload to prevent the need for manual storage, while users are pushed personalized content on the home page via notifications and in search results. The platform also enables data visualization tools and third-party research firms to be directly integrated so users can search for content across multiple sources in a single view.

Stravito also works with such consumer goods brands as Danone, Electrolux, Danone and Carlsberg.


Reckitt Establishes Improved Data Infrastructure, Optimizes Cloud and Analytics

cloud storage implementing AI

Reckitt is transforming its marketing and supply chain by launching a global cloud optimization initiative that will reportedly lead to enterprise-wide best practices regarding data residing in the cloud. 

By leveraging a new tech platform, the company will be able to access high quality data, enhance cloud performance, and improve visibility and predictability of monthly expenses. 

The company has tapped AI firm Sigmoid, using their solution and custom dashboards to improve visibility into planned projects and discover any anomalies or fluctuations in billing patterns to ensure cost efficiency. 

[More from Sigmoid: Win More Loyal Customers with Consumer Insights and CPG Analytics]

Reckitt was looking to improve its access to data, particularly as data volumes increased and multiple teams were relying on the insights garnered. The company already reports improvement in query performance by 97% and cost saving by 54%.

Thomson Iruthayaraj, global lead data strategy and operations of IT at Reckitt, said the new technology will allow the company to “have a clear view on cloud usage and continuity of key analytics initiatives.” 

Leveraging best practices in monitoring, guard railing, and optimization, the company has been able to optimize data infrastructure on multiple cloud platforms, which has decreased cloud costs by more than 50% BAU projects in GCP, said Iruthayaraj.

"We are happy to work with Reckitt in their cloud enablement and optimization. Our association with leading cloud service providers combined with our experience in data management enabled us to develop a highly cost efficient solution with real-time monitoring and notification system that drives business critical use cases for Reckitt," said Mayur Rustagi, Sigmoid's CTO and co-founder.


Fable Home Is Elevating Its Company Performance With AI

artificial intelligence concept

Tableware brand Fable Home is leveraging AI to dig deeper into performance, drive marketing scalability, and cut customer acquisition costs. 

With the help of data analytics company Conjura, Fable Home will be able to improve visibility into performance across the organization, helping the company understand how to better manage resources and unlock opportunities and minimize risk. 

The technology will provide Fable Home with a comprehensive view into operations, providing real-time analysis across fulfillment, supply chain sources, transactions, and customer behavior. 

Ian Cruickshank, head of financial planning and analysis at Fable, stated that the online furniture and homeware market is growing at a rapid pace, and best-in-class technology allows the company to meet consumers’ evolving expectations. 

“As the complexity of our operation increases, and we look to expand our business beyond North America, Conjura’s unique business insights and approach will enable us to identify our customers’ changing needs and adapt accordingly in order to deliver the same quality experience at scale,” he said

“Fable’s commitment to responsible design, ethical sourcing and accessible pricing adds an important layer to their analytic needs, and we are thrilled to bring our technology to such a popular brand,” said Fran Quilty, CEO of Conjura. “A key component of our work with Fable will be to provide them with greater visibility and insights into their current operations across the board on a single cloud-based platform. We will also be identifying areas of opportunity for growth, enabling the company to optimize their approach and ultimately enhance customer experiences."


Tracey Massey Joins NielsenIQ As COO

Tracey Massey

Tracey Massey has been named chief operating officer at NielsenIQ, a new role for the company.

Massey will oversee all of NielsenIQ’s commercial and product aspects, as well as its revenue, product development plans, business units’ strategies, and all market-facing aspects.

Most recently global president and CEO of Mars Pet Nutrition, Massey led the company’s pet food business and revamped its product portfolios for growth. Prior to that role, she was regional president of Mars Confectionary Americas, where she led her team through the integration of Mars Chocolate Americas with the Wrigley Co. Americas.

“Tracey will play an integral role in the continued transformation of NielsenIQ, placing even more emphasis on sustainable growth through the execution of our strategic initiatives,” said Jim Peck, executive chairman and CEO of NielsenIQ. “She brings more than 30 years of industry experience and a successful track record in growing and expanding global business, but most importantly her passion for serving customers and nurturing highly engaged teams will be key in our evolution.”

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